Am I dumb? I just want a new note 😒

New new user (like 3 days)… Using Devonthink 3

I use a big monitor. So I’m creating a note, and I move it to one half of the screen. I close the main Devonthink window because I want my webbrowser for example on that half.

Now I want a new note. I’m coming from Evernote and Mac Notes and (every other note system) where theres a button called New Note, and it gives you a a New Note.

ok… theres no button (or option for one that I see) on the menu of the note I’m working on…
I right click DT in the dock. No “new note” there. Only “Take note” which opens the little helper app in the menu bar…
but I want a new full sized note like I already have.

I go to the menu bar, under “Data”… > New… > Rich Text…
But the new note does not appear!

Do it again.

Ok I need to get back to that main window I guess?
Click DT in dock.


Right click it. Databases?
Click those.
Alert sound. Nothing happens

Do all the above five more times

NEW NOTE. nothing
NEW NOTE again… nothing


Alright. Go to the Menu, File, (scroll down below “new database”. Are people making new databases often?) find New “Window”.

Ahh the homescreen! And the 5 untitled new notes I made! Great

So… is there a faster way to display a new note? Or is the process:
Go menu File > New Window. Then menu data > new> New rtf, Then to the main window to TITLE IT, then open it?

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Try this script in Script

-- Create and open new RTF 

tell application id "DNtp"
		set newNote to create record with {name:"New RTF", type:rtf, rich text:""} in current group
		set newWindow to open window for record newNote
		set bounds of newWindow to {1280, 23, 2560, 1414}
	on error error_message number error_number
		if the error_number is not -128 then display alert "DEVONthink" message error_message as warning
	end try
end tell
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First I tend to hide rather than close DEVONthink 3 windows. I am not sure exactly what your workflow is, but try variations on the following. I don’t know how much you can adjust the note that you get from the sorter. I never need to.

Go to Preferences > Sorter. There are options for hot keys to take Notes and clippings. I use cntrl + q I think that was the default, I can’t remember. That just brings up a window from the menu bar, you can write straight in and cmnd + s will save it to the last place you chose, I am not sure if you can do a default. To work DEVONthink 3 has to be running. I use Markdown for the title usually. That is a # and then I make a new paragraph with return for the body of the note.
If you enter text in the note and don’t save it, it will reappear as you left it when you hit the shortcut again.

You might want to take a look at page 29 of the DT3 manual

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Thank you for that - I had missed that setting, and it wasn’t obvious to me that ⌘s would close the sorter, saving whatever (I always clicked on Add to save a web clipping, and couldn’t find a way to do it w/o the mouse… you’ve saved me another few seconds a day :slight_smile: )

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There is so much on this app. I don’t use more than a quarter of its full capacity, if that. It is my main app too. It can be a bit tricky at first the notes. I use escape to ‘keep’ a note intact and the standard mac ‘save’ command to push it into the database. The way I work that is useful, I keep running notes really during the day. I do a lot of experimenting with stuff I use a lot. I think that was how I came to commnd + save. The ‘Add’ button does misdirect one I feel.

I may not understand your needs, sorry. You seem to want a new window for each of your notes? You can make a new text note with commnd option cntrl+ n for plain text and with cntrl + cmmnd + n for rich text then open them with cmmnd = o straight away and the cursor is already set to type.

Thanks for your suggestions. Those commands do make a new note and open it IF the main window is open. If not, Command-o just keeps me at current note.

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You don’t create new notes from document windows, i.e., windows opened for a single document. If you try, it will end up in the root of the database.

@pete31’s suggestion would be a valid approach.

By the way, regarding the title of your topic: usually you’re not dumb, but the design of the software is such that you have difficulty finding the right way to do what you want the software to do.

There’s a terrific book called ‘The Design of Everyday Things’ that more or less describes that concept in detail. The best example is the ‘Norman-door’ called after the writer of the book. These are the doors that confuse you whether to push or pull, and can make you look silly in public when doing the opposite of what is required.

The difficulty for designers of complex products like DT is to find the way it’s functions are intuitively understood and used. In essence, you shouldn’t need a manual to operate anything. When you do, the design is not good enough (yet).

To be clear: this applies to the output of most people’s work when it’s somehow servicing someone. Everytime people use your product or service ‘wrong’ then you first have to think about the way it was designed, then how you have explained it and perhaps at the very end whether it was the user that is the problem, Not the other way around.


Norman discussed door handles at length.

I’ll perhaps read his book in my next life :see_no_evil: On a more serious note, thanks for your post - food for thought there.

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Thanks for the validation. I spent years testing other apps and researching new ones, so I know DT is extremely powerful and expect a learning curve. But when little things that challenge a new user pop up, in my experience it has been safe to assume the entire product will present similar challenges.

Looking at the example of closing the main window to focus on just a popped-out note, and how to get it back:
In evernote for example, a single left click on the dock will bring it back (sometimes frustrating when I just want to return from a different app to the note I was working on).

In Apple notes, a right-click on the dock icon gives a menu to get back to the main window. That seems ideal.

In DT theres NO help from the dock icon whatsoever. To get back to the main window I would navigate to Menu File > New Window. Notice it’s not called “Main Window” or “Home” or anything. Just “New” window. And it’s the 5th item down.

Call it a failure of imagination, but I can’t imagine that being the ideal place to put such an important feature. I don’t know of any other built-for-mac-app that hides it’s “home” screen to that degree, the home screen that I need in order to make and display a new doc (without a script).

The tutorial says “The best way to learn DT is just to dive in!” So far, I strongly disagree. One commenter suggested I read page 29(!) of the manual, to solve the problem of having a fresh note popped-out, but it didn’t contain the solution.

The best solution is an applescript. Which is fine, and tells me I’m probably just approaching the whole problem wrong. DONT close the main window, got it. :grimacing:

Clicking on the Dock icon should be sufficient to open a new window.

Over the past 8 years with DEVONtech, the common thread I find with confused users is them coming into DEVONthink with preconceived notions and expecting it to be a certain way. Then when it doesn’t, people will sometimes get frustrated and confused.

If one expected DEVONthink to act just like other applications (and no, there is no “universal - make a note”, etc. behavior in all apps), why wouldn’t the person just continue using the other apps? (No offense intended. A legit imate inquiry.)

There are familiar things, like visual cognates between DEVONthink and the Finder or Apple Mail, but it’s best to approach it with a fresh mindset.

Just something to consider.


That was what I found was the best way. I just wasn’t getting it until I sort of half realized that. I would not have articulated it like you did, but that describes my learning curve well. As for notes I find the way DEVONthink 3 works is ideal for me. I don’t really need notes floating all over the desktop.

Admittedly, that is precisely how I work. I also admit I had never seen DT as a note-taking tool - but as a tool for collating everything, regardless of where it has come from.

So, we work differently. I have found DT to be very responsive to user-suggestions. My suggestion to you would be to formulate a clear, concise and specific wish to DT (from what I have read on this thread to date I’m personally not sure what you need for your workflow). DT is the most useful piece of software I own - I hope it turns out to be right for you.

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Oh, and that may be a self-fulfilling prophecy :wink:

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Like a door with handles that call out ‘pull’ but in fact require you to push? :slight_smile:

I wonder who that might have been… :thinking:

Like a door with handles that call out ‘pull’ but in fact require you to push? :slight_smile:

Yes, but if pulling doesn’t work, it shouldn’t take much effort to pull :wink:

Would be nice. I dont know if you meant “should” be, like in the future, or “already is”. It doesn’t currently work that way for me at least.