Can tags be made more keyboard friendly?

I’ve got 2,034 articles that I’m sitting down to tag in DEVONthink Pro Office, and I’m discovering many problems in the tagging interface. I hope I’m just doing something wrong.

First of all, I want to do this with the keyboard, one by one. I’m creating lots of tags as well as using existing tags. So, I select the first article in the list and hit Ctrl-RET to add some tags.

The first thing I notice is that there is no way, using the keyboard, to get focus back up to the list of articles. This means I have to use my mouse to click the next article in the list in order to hit Ctrl-RET again. This is unusable 2000 times. I’m giving up on tagging now.

What I want is this: the ability to switch the Group & Classify to suggest tags, instead of folders. After hitting Ctrl-RET, if I press RET to “enter” the tag, I’d like focus to move away from the tag bar unless I hit Shift-RET, in which case it should enter the tag and stay there. Then I can just hit: Ctrl-RET foo RET C-n Ctrl-RET, etc.

Once I’ve built up enough tags, then the Group & Classify window would work well for me.

As it is, I think I’ll just have to use regular folders for this, except moving an article to multiple folders (for multiple tagging) is very inconvenient to do via the keyboard as well.

Other document organizing apps with tagging interfaces have solved this problem for keyboard users. Tags still feels like an afterthought in DT…


Have you tried Ctl-RET then cmd-Page Down (fn-cmd-down arrow on a laptop)? This will select each document in your list in turn, but keep the focus in the tag bar [1] Cmd-Page Up goes the other way (of course…).

Another tip that might help is that opt-cmd-backspace will delete the selected document from the tag bar. I use these shortcuts all the time, because I also hate having to use the mouse when the keyboard is far more efficient at such tasks.

[1] Or wherever else you are at the time, for that matter – this can be useful, for example, if you want to page down through groups and files. Highlight the first group, cmd-Page Down to go through that list, down arrow to move on to the next group etc etc).

In general, while I think DTP has some good use of shortcuts, it also has some glaring omissions if you’re trying to process a lot of files. A prime example: filing documents using Classifying is frustrating – even when the software guesses right, you can’t just press a key to accept its suggestion. (Well, not unless you use Keyboard Maestro to design your own hotkey, which is what I’ve done, or you use the very clever script for filing that you can find on the scripting forum). I’ve asked a couple of times on the wish list for improvements to this process, but they’ve not been acknowledged, so I don’t know whether they’re on the cards or not.

Thanks! Cmd-PgDown is something I never knew about. At least now I can script what I want with QuicKeys.