DT3 beta global inboxes and global tags

I’ve been using DT3 pretty heavily over the past 2 days, and to my mind, the biggest workflow change is the collection of all inboxes and tags in a single location in the sidebar rather than in the item list of each database. I want to keep playing with this layout more, but so far, I find it very disruptive and inefficient.

All of my documents are segmented into different databases precisely because I want to keep them separate. It is extremely rare for me to even move a document between databases. For all intents and purposes, they are independent datastores with no overlap.

In DT2, it was very easy to “see” an entire database. All I had to do was select one in the sidebar and the whole thing was shown in the item list. In DT3, that has now become a three step process. To “see” my entire database, I now have to select the database AND drill down two sets of tree menus to see my corresponding inbox and tags. That’s… frustrating.

Which brings me to the real reason I started this thread. I realize that my use case may not be the same as everyone else’s. But I am having a difficult time seeing how global inboxes and tags are useful. I am interested to hear what others think and how this fits with their workflows. I’d like to know what I’m missing! How does it help you?

Which leads me to a final question for the DT team. Would it be possible to give us the best of both worlds? That is, collect the inboxes and tags in the sidebar like it is now, but ALSO show them in the item list of each database like in DT2? Or the option to control where they are shown in the preferences?

As before, I’m still loving the update and l look forward to unlocking some of the other new features that I haven’t yet explored.

An alternative to local inboxes might be the root of databases or dedicated groups. In addition, the Tags group should be rarely necessary (e.g. for maintenance like renaming or merging tags). What exactly do you do in the Tags group? Maybe the Tags filter is an alternative.

I will play around more with the Tags filter, but I don’t think it’s a good alternative. I will periodically jump into specific tags to see all of the documents with that tag, and usually like to drill down a tag hierarchy. The Tags filter can do that, somewhat, but it’s not a good substitute when you have many tags or tag hierarchies.

The disjointed inboxes is perhaps more applicable to my workflow than the tags. I use my local inboxes as a holding area for unorganized documents. I throw a bunch of files into the local inbox, and then tag them and move them using a combination of manual sorting and DT’s automated tools (see also & classify). And I do this separately with each database, so I almost always need to see the local inbox with the rest of the database.

But I am still puzzled and so would love to hear your take on this. What is the philosophy behind merging all the local inboxes and tags in the global section of the sidebar rather than under the databases themselves? Even if the Tags group should be rarely needed, why display them away from the database to which they are tied? What does blowing up databases into three parts (main database, inbox, and tags) and displaying them separately accomplish?

Consistency. In addition, the local inboxes and tags caused a lot of distraction for many users in version 2.

You are using the Inbox as it’s intended, but why do you need to see it relative to the other groups when there are many options for moving files around?

  1. Groups in Favorites
  2. Groups and Favorites in the Sorter
  3. Right-click > Move to and Data > Move to
  4. The See Also & Classify Inspector may be useful.

Hi, I had another question about global tags on DT3 - I hope it’s alright that I pose it here.

Is there a way to make a tag work across all of my databases? For example, “Human Cognition,” which is a tag that I use across several databases. Now that we have the option of seeing the tags for every open database in one location, repeating the same tag seems a bit inefficient. I’m looking at my global tag list now, and I have 3 “Chronology” tags in a row, for example. I hope that this makes sense!

Sorry but no this is not possible as each database is still an isolated entity. The Globals section just allows you to see all the Tags in one place.

The only place all Tags can be used in auto-completion suggestions is in when tagging in the top level Inboxes or the Global Inbox.

For some months now I’m switching between DT3 and DT2 and I keep experiencing the same issue @daniel1113 describes here. I migrated from Evernote a few years back and use tags to find my documents. Al documents are in 1 group in 1 database.

I hoped with new beta versions there would be more discussion or improvement on this step of placing the tags outside of the database. The way it is organized now forces me so much more mouse/keyboard switching. Sidebar opening/closing. Where in DT2 I can keep the sidebar closed and easily use my keyboard to navigate in ‘colums’ view.

The only thing confusing for me was deleting documents within a tag and realising it only removed the tag and I had to go the document itself to really delete it. But this confusing behaviour still exists with the tags located away from the database.

Can you make the old location of database tags showing within the database available? (I tried to drag them to the database to relocate them, but that’s not possible) And in fact, I would also like my inbox back within my database, as I specifically save new documents to inboxes in a particular database and also have to pick them up now with extra steps via the sidebar. From my point of view these new locations are less consistent then the old way of a database as a complete collection of all relevant information.

Oh, about the tag filter. For me this offers no alternative and too is quite cumbersome with clicking and resetting this filter each time. Compared to going up-and-down the tag structure with a keyboard in colums view.

The only thing confusing for me was deleting documents within a tag and realising it only removed the tag and I had to go the document itself to really delete it. But this confusing behaviour still exists with the tags located away from the database.

Deleting documents from within a tag would be unusual. The tag groups don’t contain the files (and never have, even in DEVONthink 2.x).

I don’t say it ever was in DT. I was confused with DT compared to other apps behaviour where it is quite common that whenever you delete a selected document the document is deleted. Whereas in DT only a tag is removed.

Since I see no feedback anymore on the subject whether ‘tags’ and ‘inboxes’ are considered globals or part of a database, I like to come back on this from the viewpoint of usability of the DT3 application. I put a lot of information into my database and in DT2 I can freely move around groups, smartgroups, saved searches AND tags using the arrow keys. Tags I use the most. Within DT3 I can not move around in the database anymore without using the sidebar and mouse. This is really a drawback in user experience just for some kind of principle point of view about tags being considered global or not.

I hope I can make it clear with screenprints.
Delightfull browsing the database in DT2

The iron sidebar curtain in DT3.

Can’t you at least make it optional?
I really believe you make the wrong choice in this matter.

I’ve been using DT3 pretty heavily over the past 2 days, and to my mind, the biggest workflow change is the collection of all inboxes and tags in a single location in the sidebar rather than in the item list of each database. I want to keep playing with this layout more, but so far, I find it very disruptive and inefficient.

As a long-term DTPO user, I was reticent to experiment with DT3 betas until DT 3.0beta6 and 6 started messing with my DTPO settings. Rather than continue using DTPO and assured that beta6 has been deemed stable, I have now switched entirely to DT 3.0beta7.

My initial impression is that DT3 is not as intuitive as DTPO. So I started to consider it more logically - challenging for me as I’m not particularly logical in my way of doing things!

Now that I have organised the sidebar, I realise that (at least for my purposes) DT3 is a marked improvement on DTPO. Although I used to be a tag priority user, I have come to realise that tags are not necessarily the best way of organising, let alone finding entries.

Sidebar layout:

In all Inboxes, I have about 17,250 items, per screenshot. As well as the global inbox, the inbox for each of my databases is shown. I have renamed those inboxes the same as my database names. Useful for the target in Sorter. The only Inbox that I have not renamed is the global inbox.

Under each of my database inboxes is a DT automatically sorted list of all Groups and Smart Groups. SGs collect automatically but if I want to move an item from the database inbox to a Group all i have to do is drag it or context menu move.

All of my database inboxes are as I have said renamed the same as the database. So it is simply a matter of clicking on the appropriate database inbox tag to find the tags in each database. As the database tags are in the same order as the databases, I could show or hide all or show specific.

I think, however, that if I had not renamed all my database inboxes but left them each as Inbox then I should get into a muddle. I think too that as Smart Groups with tag searches have a habit of including Groups having the same tag, organising and finding entries would also be a muddle, as i have found with DTPO.

Groups and Smart Groups:
With DTPO, I used a mixture of Groups and Smart Groups but with DT3 I am planning on leaving all items in the database inbox (renamed) and mostly using Smart Groups. I expect i shall be able to design a system to suit my requirements which might minimise the use of tags, instead perhaps flag or rate or colour code. The snag with tags I found with DTPO is that the slightest mistake when typing a new tag could result in a tag having similar names - for example: wanted, Wanted.

For efficiency on my part I prefix each entry with the date or year and the equivalent of a tag for description. For example, an entry today would be: 2019-09-04 - Investment - Brexit impact on the £ good for exports. Using Smart Group(s) to search Filename for 2019 and/or Investment and/or Brexit and/or exports …could be quicker than using tags for the item.

Open Databases. I have all my databases open so for me there is no need to show them.
Tags: Having tags sorted to the database order is very useful, so too the total number of tags. Currently I have a grand otal of >17,000 items of which just over 11,000 are tagged. I can either tag the untagged or use another way to search.

On balance, I anticipate that the more I use DT3 the more efficient I shall find it. During the transition, any disruption to my previous workflow is simply a matter of forgetting how DT was before and remembering how to use DT now and in future.

I’m not completey sure but have an idea of the point you want to make, but reading the description only convinces me more to stay with the simplicity and efficiency of my workflow.

Of course I realise there are many ways to organize and use DT and that’s a big plus for the application. But for me personally this workflow reads too complicated: too many databases, too many inboxes, too many prefixes and I read too much ‘clicking and dragging’ which means mousing. I very carefully selected DT and translated my (simple and efficient) Evernote workflow to DT, and kept it based on the principle of 1 database, 1 inbox and 1 tag hierarchy to find and reach everything I collect by searching and browsing and by keyboard use.

When new design limits the choice in workflow and forces me to more complexity and mouse keyboard switching it will trigger me to - reluctantly - look further. And I really mean reluctantly because I like DT a lot. For years I deal with mouse arm and that’s the reason I’m keen on user interfaces that forces unnecessary clicks and mouse-keyboard switching.

I exemplified my databases. If you only want 1 database in its simplest form then, with respect, you would only need the one database with its one inbox and 1 tag hierarchy.

(DT say it is not advisable to keep everything permanently in the global database. But if you would prefer to use the global database and its inbox for all your organisational needs then I daresay DT would say that would be at your own risk, or words to that effect.)

An inbox should be just that but it’s of course possible to only use the inbox. This doesn’t cause any real troubles or risks.

I’m not using the global database. I just use 1 database. Of course I also read and follow the guidelines and best (safety) practises when configuring an application, especially when I put all knowledge and information I want to save and retrieve into it :smile:

I just installed DT3 official release and I must say I’m deeply impressed by the significant changes - at least so they appear to me - you still succeeded to make to the customisation options of the user interface. I honestly did not expect it, when discovering today the official release so quickly after Beta7.

To use them I had to dive into something new (for me) and mysterious as ‘hidden preferences’, but it was worth it and I will tell no-one :grinning: I’m glad I can continu browsing through the databases as I could in DT2: everything within the reach of my arrow-keys.

Thanks a lot!

Glad you like it. Cheers! :slight_smile:

I also want to express my appreciation for the ability in v3 final to toggle whether inboxes are only shown in the sidebar and the hidden preference to enable/disable the global tags in the sidebar. Out of curiosity I was going to ask why one was in the preferences and the other in the hidden preferences, but the fact that they are there is good enough for me :smiley:

What settings do you have to look like this? 3 vertical panes for the tags