3 Pane view in DT3

I am, so far, having a different experience of 3.5. I really appreciate the changes made to the sidebar, which have restored a huge amount of my ability to work as I was accustomed to in DTPO2 using 3PV – which in turn is allowing me to fully explore DT3’s bells and whistles. I’ve only been using it for a couple of days, and may yet run into other issues, but for the moment am once again enjoying using this software.

A future release will probably support this (in columns view it is actually already supported).

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For what is worth, now that databases and the content are separate, it should be easy to create an extra side bar, so to speak, using Keyboard Maestro or Alfred, if it is needed.

Using Alfred for instance, I can hit ⇧⌘L to activate a filter for open databases and quickly switch. Adding tags or favorites should not be difficult either.

The main sticking point for me is that I have some databases with lots of groups. With these databases, the stuff on the sidebar that I find useful to have always onscreen (Favorites at the top) and (Smart Groups & Rules at the bottom) scrolls away when one of these multi-group db’s is expanded, because the sidebar is pressed into double duty. I can sort of get around this by turning off the View > Show Only Documents option and doing my group navigation in the item list, but with my preferred Preview choice of Standard that leaves me with a pretty short list without scrolling and switching to Widescreen doesn’t leave me with many columns available without eating into the Preview area itself.

It always gets me back to “I wish I had 3PV”.

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Wow, that looks very nice! Would you mind to share how to set this up in Alfred? I looked into this https://github.com/mpco/AlfredWorkflow-DEVONthink-Search, but not quite sure where to start since I have never custimized an Alfrend workflow.

I made a version for you that filters databases, favorites and workspaces.
If you want to remove any of those, all you have to do is open the item called Script Filter in the workflow and look for the line I marked. Then you can remove from the string what you would like to leave out.

You can find the workflow here.


Amazing, thank you!

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I also use Standard, but with Show Documents Only turned on. My databases also have lots of groups, but I use the other elements of the sidebar infrequently, so don’t miss Globals, Favourites, etc. Smart Rules is still a problem for me to access quickly and easily using DT3’s interface. @Bernardo_V’s example of Alfred above looks excellent, but of course adds another app/step to the equation so might not be optimal.

If you still have room in the toolbar, you could place some links there as well.

Do you have a 2nd monitor where you can open up a second window and thus have two versions of the sidebar at once? Or use a second MacOS Space to accomplsh this?

Do you mean with a custom script added to the toolbar, or through the Actions button?

First option, with a script.

Yes to both (2nd monitor depending on where I am, but I always use Spaces. It’s one of the many things that I love about macOS. Windows’ implementation of a similar thing is very clunky in comparison). I know it may sound like I’m stuck in my ways, but using another window still feels much more fiddly than when it was all just there in the one consolidated package.

Understood - I get it that we all get muscle memory to do things in a given way

For what it’s worth if you use multiple windows, I think the recently added feature to right-click on a Group in the sidebar and then quickly open a window with that group is a very nice bonus to any DT3 workflow.


Unfortunately, I believe I have found an instance when even the sidebar in 3.5—infuriatinglydoes reset all of my custom group expanded/collapsed states. When I tried switching the sidebar from Navigate view to Import view (in order to archive mailboxes from Apple Mail), when I returned to Navigate view, the sidebar had hidden my database contents and automatically collapsed all the groups—exactly the same problem that I previously described above wasting huge amounts of my invested time and ruining my user experience with the Item List.

This discovery is frustrating, particularly since otherwise, so far I have been inclined to remain cautiously optimistic about the new sidebar behavior in 3.5, feeling that it has allowed the re-creation of some of the key functionality of 3PV—which I really appreciate having at long last. So far, other than during the switch from Navigate view to Import view, when working with all my different databases and groups in Navigate view, I have not (yet) encountered an instance of the sidebar automatically collapsing all my groups the way the Item List does.

Please, is it possible to adjust the sidebar behavior further so that simply switching the sidebar view does not cause this kind of unnecessary and time-consuming aggravation?

Thanks for that, I appreciate it

A screenshot of the window before/after switching views would be useful plus one of Preferences > General, thanks.


Sidebar, when I have set a custom expanded state for groups:

Same space in the sidebar, after I have switched the sidebar view to “Import” and then back to “Navigate”—DT3 has now automatically hidden the database contents:

Same space in the sidebar, after I have hovered over and clicked “Show” to restore the view of the contents—DT3 has automatically also collapsed all the groups:

Thanks, fixed.


Was just about to chip in here to say that I’m seeing the same behaviour, great to see a fix coming.