3 Pane view in DT3

I agree that v3 has lot of great features and I was really looking forward for the day of release !!!

But just like you say some people don’t need 3 pane view I actually don’t need many of the new features as much as I need a tool that gives me power in organising my data. You are proud of the modern clean interface… yea, it is.

But I don’t care about the design - if I do so I would never have decided for DT.
I decided for DT mainly because of the support and the philosophy of how they implement a sensitive trustable enviroment that I can rely on in future! Now my workflow is broken and I have to spend time in overthinking everythink. Is this really necessary ?

At least I would like to see that DT is starting a poll. If most users don’t want it … okay. Then I know I am not flexible enough, I should overthink my workflow or I should find another solution.

I’ve been waiting for multiple selections and keyboard navigation for the sidebar since the first beta to approximate the 3-pane view. Glad this hasn’t been forgotten about!


Completely agree


In my humble opinion, I don’t think that would tell the developers very much. I’ve no idea what the user base of DT is, but suppose for a moment it is 10,000 people – so far only 39 users have posted here, and not all of them are complaining about the lack of the three-pane view. Is it really likely that DT would get worthwhile data from such a poll? And what would it tell us users? That maybe 25 people agree with us? Personally, I wouldn’t find that particularly helpful, and I wouldn’t want to base my choices on such a poll. I feel it is up to me to conduct my own experiments and find what works for me. After all, others may be doing completely different kinds of work that require quite different workflows. Their opinion is likely to be based on their work and how they do it, not on whether the software is “right” or “wrong”. My personal view, of course. :slight_smile:

Add another one for bringing back the 3-pane view.

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Someone may want to take a look at this Switcher - Fast jump, save horizontal space, perhaps for those who wants 3PV.

I am not saying that the script accomplishes what 3PV can do, but it may help a little. I am assuming that those who need 3PV will know how to enable showing local database inbox and tags in the list view. This script will fast jump to the root of any opened database in the currently active window. And can open most frequently used sidebar, view, preview, inspector bar by one shortcut and three steps. Activate the assigned shortcut to the script, hit a number in the popup, and hit enter. To me, it’s faster and easier than click, click and remembering all those different shortcuts.

No doubt about it - and I respect the need to balance the needs of different users.

I don’t really have an opinion one way or another about the 3 pane view. I wonder though - is it that much effort to make it an option or even a hidden preference since you have already written most of the needed code as part of DT2?

In the spirit of being constructive rather than critical, could folks who have transitioned from the 3 pane view to the new UI of DT3 successfully describe how they navigate now, at a really concrete level? I struggled when I looked at the beta and am definitely feeling lost with the full upgrade.

Thanks for that. I’ll experiment with it.

I, too, miss the 3PV. It took me a long time to find a comfortable UI with DT2. I chose the 3PV because, for me, it had the least friction to get to the data I wanted to see. I agree with DanielWessel in a lot of what he’s put forth. It’s hard to verbally describe why 3PV worked as well as it did, but it did. For me, I think one of these intangible aspects is the ability to better mentally visualize the data structure; somehow the 3PV just made it easier to grok the various connections to data/info located in the various databases and groups.

One issue I’m having in trying to acclimate to a 3PV analog is the area that lists the files cannot be made any smaller than 8 rows. In DT2, I could make this very small to maximize the viewing pane below, which I find very useful on the modern screen (more horizontal and less vertical real estate).


Perhaps the transition to DT3 will be much smoother when/if keyboard navigation in the sidebar can be enabled in the next version update. However, I vaguely remember DT2 users also keep complaining/mentioning that it’s hard to switch from one pane to another since only mouse click is supported, I suspect that the demand on using keyboard to switch from sidebar to the list pane will come next… which I think will be another very convenient feature.

PS. IMHO, perhaps it is easier for DT to work on further refinement by suggesting what changes can be made on the “Navigate” view of the sidebar to make the transition from 3PV to DT3 smoother?


Definitely. There are no plans to bring back 3-pane view, only plans to improve the new sidebar and user interface. And that includes fixing shortcomings.


Version 3.0 introduced preferences to use the old inbox/tags layout (in case of tags it’s a hidden preference).

what is a “hidden preference”? Where is it hidden?

Would it be an option to allow 3-pane view as an option for users who want/need it? Or why is DT so strict in not allowing 3-pane view anymore? Are there technical or UI reasons, just to understand why this concept has been removed in DT3.

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See appendix of help.

The first reason is that it definitely does not fit into the new UI layout/concept, the second is that the code base of version 3 is completely different to the one of version 2 (and a lot better). And finally, instead of looking back we’re trying to improve the new user interface (or fix its shortcomings).

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Theoretically this could be merged into one preference, there were a lot more inbox-related requests than for tags. But I’m not sure whether anyone really wants to enable only one of the options and not both.

It’s sufficient to close the window(s) and to open them again.

You “are trying to improve the new user interface”, but maybe one should also be ready to listen to customers. I belong to the big group of users who relied on the Three Panes View. Why do I’ve to force myself to work as you think I should?

See also http://www.organizingcreativity.com/2019/09/devonthink-3-where-the-heck-is-devonthink-going/comment-page-1/?unapproved=82044&moderation-hash=13fdf3d9f50e54fa7df4cf0279e4569f#comment-82044


Given my some thirteen years of experience with DT and devontech’s development approach in various beta programs, I’m totally sure that all will be fine, users will be heard, features implemented, gaps addressed, bugs fixed.

During the beta phase, it’s been discussed that the sidebar indeed lacked some of the features of the old left-pane-of-that-three-pane-view. But I’m glad DT2’s left-side mess of old-sidebar plus left-pane-of-that-three-pane-view is gone. At times, I miss the ability to focus on certain contexts (i.e., to show only a database or a certain folder and their subfolders) in the sidebar, keyboard navigation, multi-select, etc. I assume - and Christian already said so minutes ago - that at least some of these features will be implemented in subsequent releases of DT 3.

Overall, DT3 is remarkable release, and its UI is, dare I say, beautiful. Which I find more creativity-inspiring than the newly introduced minor chore of an increased frequency of vertical scrolling in the side-bar.


I have DisableUnifiedTags enabled, but Inbox only in the sidebar. The reason: I do not use local inboxes, so it is convenient to “hide” them in the sidebar’s globals. And I use tags extensively to set priorities for documents, so it’s helpful having them visible at the top of the database.


DT listens to customers better than most companies I deal with (for example, this forum). Besides, many of us customers are fine seeing 3-pane go — I tried it once and it felt like I got stuck in some 90s-era interface. :wink: