Double clicking to "Open With" [feature suggestion]

I have never been a fan of Swiss-knife software that tries to do a bit of everything (actually, neither am I fan of Swiss knives; I prefer to keep the screwdriver and corkscrew separate). Thankfully, DevonThink doesn’t succumb to this temptation. For example, one may always opt to edit a file with a specialized editor for the given format (Cmd-Shift-O or “Open With…”).

Now, tiny wrinkle, you may say, but it bothers me that I cannot redefine the double click to open a file in its default application. I do the bulk of my markdown editing in FoldingText (and the bulk of my DevonThink data is in markdown), and if I want to just view a file I usually just take a peek at the lower pane of the main DevonThink window. If I double click on the file, 99% of times it’s because I know I will, or at least might, edit it.

So, how about a preference to assign the “Open With” command to the double click?

PS: Yes, I know there is an “Open In” button for the tool bar. But working with many documents it involves too much mouse movement to and fro—not a deal-breaker but not quite my vision of UI perfection either. :slight_smile:

You can right-click and select ‘Open With>’, which would address the mouse movement issue.

The DEVONthink behavior for double-clicking on a document to open in DEVONthink vs. opening in the default application comes up often, and I fully understand both sides of this discussion. I expect you will have a better chance of convincing the developers to reconsider this behavior, or perhaps adding a trackpad gesture to ‘Open With’, than to add a preference that changes how double-clicking works. That’s a firmly established convention on all platforms for decades now.

Thanks, Greg. I am aware of the context menu option, of course, but actually despite it. It takes a lot of error-prone aiming with the mouse pointer (I don’t use a touchpad these days), no less than three stages from right-clicking to target application, and is generally anything but spontaneous. You’re right, a preference to change the behavior of double-clicking would be unconventional. In fact, I would actually not be against the removal of all editing features from DevonThink. I see no reason for a built-in RTF editor, for example, and the only added value of the PDF editor is the Copy Link (to page) function (hardly enough of a reason to justify the bloat).

But this may go too far, involving big decisions. For now, I would be happy even with a hidden preference.

Many people want to be able to work as exclusively as possible inside DEVONthink. To that end, it makes more sense to have the Open function open the document within DEVONthink, not in the system default editor.

Many people or most people (a guesstimate)? Regardless, if majority opinions were coincident with what “makes more sense”, we could then gleefully shut down our design depts and replace them with user surveys. And let’s not get started about the results of “common sense” in contemporary politics :open_mouth:

Anyway, I was only suggesting a hidden (or visible) preference, not hardwiring a non-standard behavior.

Thanks. :smiley:

I agree.

Honestly - this is very unlikely to happen (though Development could say otherwise… in the future).

The more requests we get, the more likely (read that word again) we are to implement a feature. More people want internal editing than don’t. Also, we have accommodated opening in the system default editor with Command-Shift-O (and the toolbar button) for those who want to edit outside DEVONthink.

I also agree. I corresponded with someone at DevonThink about this a year or so ago and at this point I am studying Evernote or just folders in Finder as a replacement for DT in my workflow. That’s unfortunate for me, but I annotate PDFs constantly, and the options for getting a PDF to open in my application of choice are kludgy and inconsistent with how things have long worked in Finder. If I want to open a PDF in my application of choice in Finder, I just double click, but if I want to do the same thing in DT, I have to use to the context menu or CMD-Shift-O. This does not make sense to me, and I honestly don’t understand the resistance to having behavior consistent with Finder at least be an option.

The Finder analogy doesn’t fit since the Finder doesn’t have any native viewing / editing capabilities as DEVONthink does.

The majority of Users have requested the current behavior - the ability to open editable documents without having to leave DEVONthink. That is why it’s the default behavior.

And, as often noted, our Preferences are already massive. We don’t consider it a light thing to add yet another option.

I think the Finder analogy does fit, because OSX does have a built-in viewer–Preview. I used that until Apple recently crippled the annotation features, and I was able to move to a better tool because Apple lets me open a document in a different program as a default, if I want to. DT for some reason wants to force users to use its PDF tool, which simply is not as good as other options, or jump through hoops to use something better.

Also, the last time I checked, .docx documents open in Word and .pages documents open in Pages, so it seems that only some editable documents open in the internal viewer. (And I could change the default app for those by changing the behavior in Finder.)

Anyway, I understand there is no interest in changing this daily annoyance, so I am moving on. Thanks.

@BostonAaron +1

Please reread the comment. We have no interest in “forcing users to use our PDF tool”. We have internal PDF viewing and annotation in response to the majority of User requests. We also have editable files open in DEVONthink in response to the majority of Users requests. (There’s a theme here - though not all User requests will (or can) be implemented.)

Jim, we’re reading you, but this is not an appeal to majority. This is rather an appeal to authority. :laughing:

This issue comes up occasionally but it apparently doesn’t phase the majority of our Users as an issue. I know that may not make some people happy, but that’s just the state of things. I don’t make policy. I can only report what I know. (And remember, I’m only the messenger. :mrgreen: )

PS: Personally, I find it odd that people would look to another option over the issue. DEVONthink is far more than double-clicking documents to open them. I guess I don’t get it.

OK, you only used a snippet of my comment, which in its entirely was “DT for some reason wants to force users to use its PDF tool, which simply is not as good as other options, or jump through hoops to use something better.” It’s poor form to criticize me (“Please reread the comment.”) when your criticism is based on a distortion of what I actually wrote.

As for the “PS,” of course DT is more than double-clicking to open, but so is the competition. If I can get the functionality I need from them, without regularly being annoyed by having to close windows inadvertently opened due to what I think is non-standard OSX behavior, them I’m going to do that. Of course, a substantially improved syncing experience and actual remote access will be nice as well.

I do applaud the ease with which data can be extracted from DT: 10,000+ files dragged and dropped out in seconds, retaining the tags to boot. Nice.

One last thing before I go for good. I also strongly applaud DT for supporting a robust user forum, which is critical for such a complicated, powerful product. However, the condescension that comes with so many of the insider posts (in this thread and others) certainly undoes a lot of the goodwill that might otherwise be generated. Seriously.

Condescension is unintended. However, in the spirit of good discussion, rebuttal is certainly fair game.
Your comment clearly states, "DT for some reason wants to force users…” Is this not a “criticism” of us? And one that is unwarranted, as we have no intention of “forcing” things on people. My comment points back to the reasoning behind the behavior - Users want it. That is not a criticism of you.


I agree that the request is reasonable. Have we got a majority yet?

Haha. No.
(The pool isn’t as small as this thread.) :mrgreen:

@BostonAaron +1

As already mentioned: Why is having an option a bad thing? No default behavior needs to be replaced. Using DevonThink since more than 4 yrs, I would like to have this settings as well.

Btw.: The resistance against this option made me register to the forum. Interesting twist for getting more users on the forum :smiley: