DEVONthink 3 – The Sorter

So you have replaced the old bulky Sorter by a modern one that comes with tons of great new features. Awesome like the rest of the new DEVONthink.

But as version 3 is still in beta there are some rough edges/questions/suggestions in regard to the Sorter I want to cover some of here:

  • I checked the settings more than once and it seems the Sorter is not a stand-alone app anymore. Which would be a pity.
    As I found the DT 2 Sorter with its tiny white-on-black letters unusuable over the years I have used various third party apps to add notes to DT. For example, NoteAway (best of them all but seemingly not developed anymore) and Curiota. And the new Mac Version of Drafts looks at least promising. All of them plus Hazel to push the notes from the respective note taking app folders into DT’s inbox. But this was just a workaround as all of them for different reasons were not able to save directly into DT, let alone properly sync with it.
    The new Sorter of course can do all of this and much more, but not stand-alone. Any chance of changing that?

  • The different note types use the fonts and font sizes set for them. But unlike DT’S main window the Sorter lacks a way to (permanently) set their respective zoom.

  • A keyboard shortcut, preferably CMD+Return, to add the note to DT would come very handy.

  • As would be the usual shortcuts like CMD+I for italics etc.

  • The auto-titling needs a bit of polishing: At the moment it sets the whole first paragraph no matter how long it is as the note title. It needs a max length setting. At best customizable. Pro version: A customizable cleaner that removes characters from the title. Usage example: No quotation marks at the beginning to get proper sorting by name.

  • By the way: The same auto-titling should work in DT’s main window. Also after clicking on New Note the cursor in the main window should be in the note pane and not in the item list. Or at least there should be a setting so the user can chose which behaviour she prefers.

  • When the Sorter generates a cleaned up (my re-translation of “aufgeräumt” in the German user interface) PDF from a web page in Safari it replaces non-typographical quotation marks by typographical ones. Which is a minor feature but quite an elaborate one and telling a lot about how you guys at DEVONtechnologies pay attention to detail.
    Nevertheless this function has a little flaw as it only generates English typographical quotation marks. If possible the function should look up the language of the web page in its html meta data. If not it should fall back to a default which could be the computer’s UI language. Or, again, if the language was customizable that would be even better.

And now it’s bed time.


You wrote a lot, not sure if you covered the opacity of the Dock Tab when it’s not active. Gets on the way of the screen. Hopefully that will come.

The new Sorter of course can do all of this and much more, but not stand-alone. Any chance of changing that?

@cgrunenberg would have to weigh in on this, but no it’s not a standalone app any longer.

  • A keyboard shortcut, preferably CMD+Return, to add the note to DT would come very handy.

The is - and always has been - Command-S.

it replaces non-typographical quotation marks by typographical ones.

This should be from Preferences > Editing > Smart Quotes.

The Sorter is now an integrated part of DEVONthink 3 and will no longer be a stand-alone app.

Thanks for your list of issues, they have been noted :slight_smile:

The title fits so I post my observation here:

The Sorter is hidden when DEVONthink is hidden (⌘-H). I’d expect the Sorter to stay active when the main window is hidden.

This only affects it when it’s a docked tab. Development will have to examine this. Thanks for your patience and understanding.

This has been fixed and will be in the next beta.

Dock Tab- Will you guys put the opacity back to how it was in DT2? When it isn’t active. The Dock Tab gets on the way of the screen.

When grabbing a picture from the internet to the dock tab.
1- After choosing and putting it in a database, why does the Dock Tab panel remain open?

2- The settings on the Dock Tab is positioned at the left centre but after it’s closed, the dock tab moves to the left upper side.

3- other times, this happens and have to click on the tab to bring it to close.

If you have opened the Sorter and then dragged content into it the Sorter will stay open, if you have opened the Sorter by dragging content over the tab, the Sorter will should close automatically after adding the new record.

I will look into points 2 & 3.

Ok thanks.

Yes, it should close after adding the record but it doesn’t, INSTEAD it leaves the tab hanging, PICTURE - 3 (Tab visible and the panel transparent.)

Is the main DEVONthink application hidden at the time?

Ah I have a safari extension that opens a safari tab when I drag and release a Url.(picture has url too)

Opening a Safari tab and dropping an entry at the same time is causing the problem. But regards it should close even if a Safari tab opens at the same time I drop an entry in sorter.

Ok, a Safari extension is causing the problem but ONLY for dragging and dropping images. Disabling that extension then works fine BUT it’s still behaving the same way when I bookmark a webpage via shortcut key. Shift+Command+C

I assigned this shortcut key with DevonThink2 could this be the problem?

You can see it here.

Thanks for the additional info, I will look into this. What was the Safari extension that caused the problem with images?

It’s called Drago.


Thanks I will try it out. I have fixed the issue with the Sorter not closing and that will be in the next beta.

The Drago extension shouldn’t interfere with the next beta version of the Sorter.

Thanks Ed

Also wondering, Is there away to dim the Tab when it’s not in use? As it did with DevonThink 2? DevonThink2 had that option in preference.

Thanks again.

That option currently isn’t available, however if time permits I will try to add that feature into the Sorter.

why has the standalone sorter be removed? now DT has to be running in the background if the sorter is needed. Are there technical reasons for this? Just to better understand your decision.


My sorter, when set to the left side of the screen, always hops onto my external monitor. I’ve tried turning it off and then back on with only the MBPro screen on, but when I turn on the external it hops back up there. Any way to make this stop?

One other thing that I’ve noticed. If I use the video record mode in the Sorter, it doesn’t appear that the camera turns off when the recordings are finished. Unless I’m missing a switch or something; very likely.