Ability to choose sort order in Groups window

I am one of those people who use DTP for GTD and I’m also using the Groups window but unfortunately the Groups window only dispays the groups in alphabetical order. I would prefer my primary sort to be by label as that is what I am using everywhere else in DTP. There appears to be no way to do this at present so I’m resquesting an enhancement to allow sorting the Groups window by label. Presumably the best way to achieve this is via a context menu item on the Groups window or failing that via a preference.


That’s an interesting suggestion and I’ll relay it to Christian. I think that’s the very first suggestion that the Tools > Groups panel have alternative sorts and I can see the utility.

And enhancements to the History window (e.g. arbitrary columns, absolute date/time stamps) would be be useful, too. Less limitations when working with that “flat group” of the entire database.

That’s spot on. Now that I’m using History to send data from my TiBook to my iMac main computer, I can see the value of those suggestions.

Still another relay to our long-suffering friend, Christian. :slight_smile:

Thanks for the supportive feedback, Bill.

Going along with this thread, is there a way to have the top level of the database be sorted alpha/numer. but any particular group sorted arbitrarily?

Yes, or in general: Is it possible to sort different groups in different ways? And if it’s not possible - it should be 8)

Although sorting is already specific for every group, every view/window uses currently only one sorting (a shortcoming which will be removed quite soon) and therefore it’s still necessary to open groups in separate windows or to open them by double-clicking if the “Always open groups in new windows” preference is disabled and therefore limit the display of the window to the double-clicked group.

Thanks for the quick reply!

As a new user of Dt, I find it literally amazing that Dt could be so sophisticated and yet so basic at the same time: the sophisticated content integration, harvesting and channeling (via scripts) would indicate that the architects and designers of Dt are extremely sensitive to the benefits of personalization: "I get what I want, without added discovery effort, right? Well… A pass through users’ requests suggests that a large percentage of users are (or soon will be) extremely frustrated by the RIGIDITY of the group/item lists and displays. And yet the replies from the development team seem to be “Well, we’ll do it in the future”. javascript:emoticon(’:shock:’)

Humbly, the ability for users to sort things their own way is not an ENHANCEMENT. The limitation is a CRIPPLING DEFECT:

  • It makes the Dt system unusable as an outliner - This means that, of the three classic creative paradygms, one of the most familiar to all users is not supported (the “workaround” of numbering items is so 60’s…): collect, understand, analyze, organize… well, organize it as Dt wants it, not any ot her way… :slight_smile:
  • It means that as a writing tool, it is unusable as well - The distraction of having to constantly face Dt-imposed-dis-order while trying to order one’s thoughts is the death bell for creative thinking
  • Eliminating user-defined order is sacrificing a powerful indicator that the semantic analysis behind Dt could enormously leverage without other artificial clues (hierarchy, precedence, enclosure, and many more)
  • It cripples Dt as a publishing tool: user-selected ordering is an absolutely indispensable expressive tool! Imagine Yahoo without a taxonomy…

I think that many users would gladly sacrifice many of the features selected for DtPro (which, I am sure, is precious to your Company) for the repair of this crippling defect immediately (I am willing to bet, precious to most users). If my vote counts, hold everything else and give me my right to sort things myself (EVERY other application does) :slight_smile:
:open_mouth: :open_mouth:

There’s more user flexibility already in DT/DT Pro sorting than may be at first apparent. :slight_smile:

zorsal, if you wish to define the order in which documents and/or groups are displayed, you can already do that. In the menu bar, select View > Sort > Unsorted. You can then drag items into any order you wish, just like the elements of an outline.

Louise, you can have different sort orders in different groups and subgroups, as the sort order is defined at the group level.

For my convenience, I have my topmost view window sorted alphabetically. One of my groups is for receiving and editing new material. That group is sorted by creation date, so that it’s easy to find the most recently added material. Inside that group are several subgroups for projects in progress. One subgroup is unsorted, as I’m working on the sections of an article and want to control their order myself. Another subgroup is sorted by State – I use it to make notes in progress and reminders to myself about edit jobs I have/have not finished. And so on.

Hope this helps.

Thanks for your answer! I seem to be unable to select user-sorting in three-pane views (i.e., the “Unsorted” option is dimmed out). Documents that are sorted in user-defined manner display as sorted as soon as I go intro three-pane view (and re-set my focus on the same group – by the way, I would expect a change of view to retain the focus):

  1. Is that a consequence of some aspect of the three-pane window which I don’t understand?
  2. Is the dimming a result of some setting that I have made?


You are correct about the unavailability of the Unsorted option in the Three-Panes view. And if you have used the Unsorted option for a group in, e.g., the Vertical Split view, it will be shown in Names order under Three-Panes. But if you shift back to Vertical Split, you will find that your manually set order is still present. If, however, you were to choose another sort order while in Three-Panes view, your manually constructed order would be gone if you switch back to Vertical Split. This behavior is not your fault. :slight_smile:

Detailed documentation of DT Pro will be available in a few weeks. And this is a beta. (I would like to see the Unsorted option become available for Three-Panes view.)

Comment: I spend most of my working time in the Vertical Split view, with multiple windows open. I use Exposé to switch between windows. Those are work habits evolved over more than two years of working in DEVONthink. In this mode, I don’t experience focus changes or changes of Sort views. I do use Three-Panes view for special purposes, and will probably make more use of that view mode in the future. But Vertical Split will probably remain as my customary view. Other users’ preferences may vary. :slight_smile:

I’m almost totally a vertical split view user myself, Bill. I too am experimenting with the three-pane view and occasionally find use for one of the other view options, but 90% of what I do is in vertical split. It’s great to have all these view options though, in case workflow needs change.


Perhaps “unsorted” should be renamed in something like “manual sorted” - as its the option that actually allows you to sort the items, the way you want . “Unsorted” is a bit misleading :laughing:

Maybe. “Unsorted” just means that DEVONthink Pro doesn’t sort the items on its own - this could be the natural order (one item created after another) or sorting by the user :wink:

However, the three-pane view will support the “Unsorted” mode in either the final 1.0 release or in v1.1 of DT Pro.

Is there a revised ETA for “Unsorted” in 3-pane view?

Since Nick recently resurrected this year-old thread I wanted to revisit this request:

I’m still having a rough time managing/reorganizing older, larger, complex databases without that kind of “global overview” functionality to help. With better methods for visualizing every item/attribute in those databases there might be hope of bringing order to the chaos.

I’d hoped some “History view” enhancements like I suggested would be a relatively easy approach to start with. Here we are a year later and I think the only change was adding a keyboard shortcut to open the History window.