DEVONsphere: Do not get stuck with finding- Search Smart

The very first time as I came across DEVONsphere Express (DSP) I thought: „Well another search program“.

But DSP is much more than „just“ a search program which you can use on your MAC. You will get that doses of speed which your Spotlight needs to Search Smarter! You will never get stuck finding your stuff once it has indexed your MAC!

Spotlight on Speed

Why not a spotlight or is it an add-on?

No, DSP is standalone and everything what you cannot do with Spotlight you can do with DEVONsphere Express (DSP) :

  • Nerve wracking searches are past now! Hello Future!
    Or there can you find the needle in the haystack?

  • Drag and Drop a document into DSP and let you show related documents on you MAC, the Internet, your own cloud or DevonThink (DTPO)

  • Project work is easier and all search results will fit to your current project

  • All your data are kept where they are or just import them into DevonThink

  • DEVONsphere Express makes your MAC much more intelligent and saves you time which you can spend elsewhere.

Search with Boolean Operators

What’s that?

A Boolean Operator makes your search easier as you will use logical expressions in order to get the best results.

Called after Georg Boole, Boolean Operators are used to connect logical expression with each other and search for them.

This function is also implemented in other software like:

  • DevonThink

  • DEVONagent.

It is fun to search and find with logical statements

Logical terms for your search are like:

  • ANDGet two or more terms for which you are looking for linked. For instance would Steffi AND cloud or Steffi & Cloud result in files containing both words.Abbreviate them with: &, && or +.

  • ORTwo terms which can be contained but do not necessarily have to be in the information.Abbreviate it by using: | (Alt + 7) or double the line

  • XORIs to exclude terms which you do not want to see. For instance can you search vor Steffi XOR cloud which will show results with Steffi or cloud but not both together.Abbreviations are: ^, ^^

  • NOTExcludes terms altogether and will not be shown in your results at all.Abbreviations are: !, -

Search more special

The before mentioned operators are the classic once but DevonThink, DEVONagent and DEVONsphere got their special operators. You will find these only in really „high-end“ databases and in these software and apps.

Fine-Tune your results with ease:

  • NEARThe first term can be up-to ten words before or after the second term. Hence, if used in Steffi NEAR Cloud the results will be also Steffis best Cloud, Best Steffi Cloud ever and so on.

  • NEAR /nNEAR will be used ten words in front or after but with NEAR /n you can state how many words should before or after your search term. The „/n“ stands for the number of words you like.

  • BEFORE and BEFORE/nThe first term has to be in front (before) the second term. Using BEFORE alone will add one word only before the term. With BEFORE /n you can adjust this settings to more words before the sprach terms. For instance Steffis BEFORE Cloud will result only in Seffis Cloud.

  • NEXT and Next /nBoth attributes are more or less the same than BEFORE /1 or BEFORE /n but faster to type and to use.

  • AFTER and AFTER /nAs BEFORE will search for terms before any other given term, AFTER will search after this term. For instance Steffis AFTER Cloud will show you Cloud of Steffi, Cloud with Steffi but never Steffis Cloud.

  • OPTFor OPT as in optional, the second term will optional but the first one is mandatory. This will result in a higher ranking of your results. Meaning the first term will be displayed at the beginning

Settings in DSP

After the installation you will see in your top menu list the icon of DSP:


The switch on the left is for displaying the menu.

Click on the magnifying glass below and you can now drag and drop any file which relates to your file. You can choose between search and see also functions:

On the very right you will find the gear symbol, which displays all the settings of DSP:

Settings for your search

It is not that hard to adjust the settings in DEVONsphere as they are mostly self-explanatory:


  • Start when MAC gets started

  • Automate update See Also
    This function is very important to be active especially if you use DTPO too. All your documents in your database of DevonThink will be searched too.

  • Search while entering

  • Display or hide menu

  • Always in foreground.

Display settings:

  • Show symbols
    Which are the symbols for PDF, Word etcetera which will be displayed in your results

  • Further information
    Additional information get displayed in your results which is pretty cool as you can see at the first glance what it is about and if you like the result or not.


  • Direct

  • Via Thumbshopts.comThis option is good for web site but personally I prefer the direct preview.


Your „Hotkey“ to open your search (DSP)


You have the choice how DEVONsphere will index your MAC but like hourly, daily, weekly or automatically.

My preference is automatic as I usually would forget to index DSP. Further new added documents get indexed straight away without an user interaction.


It is the ranking of your results and you can leave it on automatic but also if you wish to rearrange the results you can do so by disabling automatic and using drag and drop to rearrange your categories.

If that you can optimise your search results. For instance if you really want to search only the web this category should be at the first place.

As you can see here, you will be able to sprach for movies, images, musics and much more as well your contacts.


Places to be :-)

Which folders on your MAC can DEVONsphere access and index? If you like you can also link your own cloud drives to this and DSP will index all your files where too.

Of course, you can also exclude certain folders by adding them into the box below.

Which places could you think you will be looking for and get your results?

For instance the Library I do not think you will have in your settings at all but your document, photo, music folders should be included.

Personally, I use the Library for my MAC as I need information about Programms or other related files which are:

  • within a program

  • Files which are only saved there
    For instance my database for my planning of my blog is there located. Also AirMail’ attachments are there hidden.

Just to say it: The first two folders are my own cloud which I linked to DEVONsphere and get indexed. All counting information of Steffi’s Cloud and it is useful to search and find them straight away.


At the end there is the options how updates get received and in which interval.

Ready to go now ! Find your information and do not search for them with DEVONsphere! Download here Trial!

    Comments 16

    • Hi Steffi, thx for the excellent article.
      Do you have a hint how to integrate AirMail mails into DSE?
      This is my favorite mail program. I don't use Apple's Mail at all.

      • Hi Hugo,

        thanks for your comment.

        I reckon you mean Data Switch Exchange with DSE or Synology's Disk Station. Anyhow, you can transfer data using FTP and AirMail. Moreover, you can use DevonThink as a data management system and using WebDav to connect to your home server.

        Hope that helps - if not just leave a comment and I will help you.


      • Hi Steffi.
        My question seems to lead you thinking in the wrong direction.
        My bad.
        <strong>DSE</strong> is <strong>D</strong>evon<strong>S</strong>phere<strong>E</strong>xpress.

        I would like, that DSE is not only indexing my document files but my mails too.
        As far as I understand, DSE will do that with Apple's Mail.
        But I don't use Apple's Mail but <strong>AirMail</strong>.
        But DSE searches don't give any results for content in my AirMail mails.
        Note, that I don't have DTO at all.

        How to setup DSE for searaching my mails too?

      • Hi Hugo,

        thank you for commenting.

        What you could do w/o any scripting is to add AirMail location on your MAC to the search engine by using Settings - Places. AirMail stores the data under: ~/Library/Group Containers/2E337YPCZY.airmail as of version 10.13.


      • Hi Steffi.
        Great idea. I added this.
        After indexing unfortunately <strong>nothing</strong> was found out of my mails.
        Any other settings to be applied?
        Will it work at <strong>your</strong> system?

        I found most of the data, all my mail account data are under
        ~/Library/Group Containers/2E337YPCZY.airmail/Library/Application Support/it.bloop.airmail2/Airmail


      • Hi Hugo,

        yes it works on my system with the Libary/location of AirMail pretty well for testing. Usually all my important emails get indexed and imported to DTPO as eml files, so that I will have a constant location of all my documents.