Cmd-Shift-N behavior

Please, PLEASE, please make Cmd-Shift-N create a new group as a sibling, rather than as a child of the current item. I cannot even tell you how much of an unbelievable pain it is to create new groups in DEVONthink, and I’ve been suffering this ever since the behavior was changed.

The main problem: When DEVONthink creates a new group as a child of the current item, it doesn’t expand the item to show you the new group. So, you can’t name it. In fact, you have to click and move around with the mouse for up to 30 seconds before you can even give the thing a name. And THEN, because it created it in such a bizarre place, you have to spend as much if not more time dragging-and-dropping it to a new location!!!

Yes, this is my biggest pet peeve with DTP, and yes, I think it’s driven me a bit over the edge today. You try managing a hundred different tag names, and then using Cmd-Shift-N to create a new tag sometime.


John, the current mode for creation of new groups was done in response to user requests.

Try these tips: 1) Switch to a view such as Vertical Split, which can show the hierarchy of groups (there’s a command to expand all groups, View > Expand All); 2) groups can be named quickly using the Info panel, which can be set to float on your screen for a series of group or document selections (just type in the Name and hit Return, then select the next item); 3) Control-click on a group and use the contextual menu option Move To – note that recently designated target groups are “remembered” at the top of the navigation list, and also that multiple items can be selected for the move so that you can move them all to the top level, or to a designated enclosing group.

OR to create a lot of new groups at the same level within an enclosing group, do this: Click on the toolbar icon for Group+ (create a new group). Now double-click on that new group to open it in its own view. Now rapidly click on the Group+ icon to create as many new groups at the same level as you wish – I just created 67 in about a minute. Now name the new groups using the Info panel and place your groups anywhere you wish. Drag & drop into the floating Groups panel (Tools > Show Groups) is convenient if you like drag & drop, or use the contextual menu option Move to for one or more selected groups. This approach should avoid your parent/child frustration.

Can i vote for an switch in the preferences, where the user can set his favorit behavior of that function?

I suffer from the same problems, that the original poster has.

Hi Bill!

I can only conclude from your post that you love your mouse more than I do. :frowning:

I agree with the need for a preferences. Then I could bang out new groups as quickly as I do in just about every other application on my Mac.


Hi, John. I’ll bet I can create a thousand new groups at the same level and using the mouse, faster than you can do it using Shift-Command-N were it to behave as you wish. :smiley:

I complained about this some months back. No one listened or cared.

You know, Objective C is a nice programming language. I’ve only been working in it for a few days, but I feel like I’m really getting the hang of it. Of course, the acid test will be whether my little project can handle my DEVONthink database…

We do care. :slight_smile:

The present action of Shift=Command-N was requested by several users who like to quickly lay out a complex and deeply nested hierarchical structure.

If you create a new group using Shift-Command-N, it remains selected. If you again invoke Shift-Command-N, a child to the selected group is created and the child group is now selected, so that drilling down deeper quickly happens.

But if you open that first new group in its own view and repeatedly invoke Shift-Command-N, siblings are created, as many as you wish, and no group is selected. Want to create a child in one of those groups? Select it and invoke Shift-Command-N. Want to add more siblings to that child? Open its parent group in its own view (without selecting any group inside it) and invoke Shift-Command-N as many times as you wish.

The trick is that if a group is selected, Shift-Command-N drills down in it each time it’s invoked; each downwards new group is automatically selected. But Command-click to remove the focus and Shift-Command-N starts producing siblings of the existing groups, when the parent group is open in its own view.

If you decide to change the hierarchy, remember that if multiple expanded groups are selected (easy to see in the Vertical Split view), you can Control-click and make the selected items Move To a new location – and they will all be at the same level in that new location. But if a collapsed hierarchy is moved, it will retain its internal structure in the new location.

Personally, I’m not a “power organizer”. But a large and complex organizational structure can be laid out very quickly with these approaches.

I’m curious about your programming project. Keep us posted. :slight_smile:

Well, given that I type upwards of 160 WPM, and I have more keyboard macros running on my machine that I can even count, I would be most surprised if the actions of your wrist could outpace those of my fingers. :slight_smile:


A common fallacy, per Apple’s UI studies that had mouse users consistently beating keyboard users in timed tests. Nevertheless, the keyboard users always believed they were faster. :slight_smile:

That’s, of course, true for “pure” keyboard versus mouse users. For a great many operations, people who avoid touching the mouse have to do a lot of frantic keyboarding to accomplish a task that a mouse user might accomplish with a swoop and a click. For other operations, a keyboard shortcut can be faster. Overall, the graphical user interface was a marvelous invention. Remember DOS?

Most people settle into a comfortable mix between keyboard commands and mousing.

Yes, John, when I said I could beat you in creating a thousand new groups at the same level, when you are banging out new groups using Shift-Command-N, I’m sure I could win by using just mouse actions. But I wouldn’t limit those mouse actions just to clicking on the Group+ icon in the toolbar – so you might accuse me of cheating. My wrist wouldn’t get tired at all. :slight_smile:

And I could finish even faster by adding two simple keyboard shortcuts to my operating procedures for creating a thousand new groups at the same level – a mix of mousing and keyboarding.

Although I’m a reasonably fast typist, for some reason it always takes me longer to write an article than might be indicated by my typing speed. What’s the limiting factor? Hmm. I get slowed down by thinking about what I’m going to write. My intellectual skills often can’t keep up with my mechanical skills. Oops.

However, I’m not ready to accept a study as an indication of what the outlier’s are capable of. Saying “people who rely on the mouse are faster than people who rely on the keyboard” may in fact be generally true, but needn’t be absolutely true. That, indeed, would be a fallacy. :slight_smile:

For me, creating a new group would mean Cmd-Shift-N, type the name, then hit Cmd-Shift-N. Given that you too will need to type the names at some point, there is no way that moving your hand between mouse and keyboard will beat out just staying on the keyboard.

If, on the other hand, you were talking about just fabricating unnamed groups – well, of course I would just write an Applescript to do it and be done with it. My goal is reduce as much typing as necessary in everything that I do. Could I finish writing the script before you could finish clicking Group+ 1,000 times? It would be an interesting race!



while still discussion the odds with my bookie I’d like to point out one more missing shortcut that could help in this situation as well:
A key-stroke (and menu item) to move an item in the list one level up or down. That would be helpful to create hierarchical lists on the fly (e.g. while listening to some lecture). I still go back to OmniOutliner for such things.
I know that there is one “issue” here in DTP. Groups and Files are different items. So moving an item one level down is not possible without “changing” the previous item to a group.

One more wish:
When creating a new item while being in an unsorted view I would very much like the new item to appear below the selected one (if any) not at the end of the current group.


I’d like that, too.

So am I.

Tinderbox’s functionality atop Apache/MySQL/PHP versatility and interoperability with DTP’s interface.

Seriously, though: I realized recently that DTP’s never going to develop into my perfect tool, so I figured I might as well try to construct the program I proposed at MyDreamApp a few years ago (which led to me coming here and buying DTP). At worst, I’d waste a lot of time and end up crawling back to DEVONtechnologies. At best, I might create the tool I actually need, and it might be useful to others as well.