DT3b4 : Clearing the Search Bar

Hello. I’ve posted about this back in Beta 2 but I still can’t fathom the reasoning behind this maddening interface behavior :

  • I alt-tab back to DT in order to open a document. I don’t have to search for it, I know exactly where it is.
  • In the left pane, I expand and dig 2-3 levels into the group where the document is located, then click on the group.
  • I see nothing in the list pane, and realize that I had done a search earlier for something else entirely. This is the reason I see nothing, because the search is still “active”.
  • I clear the search. Result: the entire hierarchy of the groups I’ve just opened are closed and I’m teleported to whatever group I was in 10 minutes ago and which doesn’t interest me in the least.

This has happened to me dozens of times since the DT3 beta release. It is an absolute time killer. Please provide an option in the Preferences to disable this behavior or at least provide some reasoning behind this (other than “you have to check you haven’t searched anything the last time you were in the app before opening the group that contains the document you need”).

Thank you.

The reason is quite simple - clearing a search restores the sidebar state before searching as selecting an item in the sidebar while searching changes only the search scope. Sometimes it might be useful to retain the currently selected item, sometimes not. We’ll see what the majority prefers.

Please make this a preference then. I can see the logic it might have for some people, and I hope you can see mine. For me this is the most counter-intuitive behavior of an application I’ve seen since System 7.


I have been debating asking about this behavior; Personally I keep running into it and wish it wouldnt happen. It really is frustrating…


I see both perspective. Some times there is a need to keep it, like looking through relevant search until you find what you are looking for and other times there is no need to keep like finding a search one time.

In my case, most of the time my search are (one time) I would like the search cleared ONLY if I click anything on the left panel.

+1 for making this a preference.

(1) Just curious, shouldn’t unchecking “Automatically expand sidebar” in preference prevent the group from collapsing automatically after a search is clear?

(2) It’s not entirely clear what preference (and specific flow of action) you are suggesting, and where is the sensible tab to place the preference “this”. It might be easier for other member to response, and by reasoning to both developer and users/members, if the focus is on what is needed and why is it beneficial to others, rather that what is being liked and don’t like?

Just MHO.

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I posted about this very topic some time ago, if memory serves. I too would welcome this as being a preference to set.

I have had my place “lost” upon clearing the search countless times already - and cannot seem to get in to the habit of checking first, before digging…

Deselecting this option actually makes it worse, because you are teleported to a group without knowing where you are. You have to look at the item list title, which is probably crunched horizontally anyway. When using a deep hierarchy of groups it becomes a nightmare. So I just leave it on, short of a better option.

I understand perfectly well that the current behavior — however counterintuitive and crazy it may seem to me — seems to be the best for some users. At the same time, apparently I’m not the only one who would prefer a different behavior. Which is probably the definition of a “preference”…


Thanks for the explanation. I am guessing it’s the different workflow that determines the salience of the preference. Most of my search activities are conducted within two/three groups within a given time period, so I guess I won’t feel the jump being a problem. But I can imagine that if someone has to search across many different scopes or different databases, they may prefer a different arrangement.

Perhaps a short-term work around is to use the “Reveal” function? Say you land on a search item that is located within a group that you want to “stay”. “Reveal” by cmd-R will bring you right to the group without bothering by the jump?

Thank you for the suggestion, but please read my original step-by-step description again. My problem is not “staying” in the scope of the search result (which “reveal” does quite nicely). Rather, it’s what happens after expanding an unrelated group hierarchy and then clearing the search bar.

The current behavior allows for quick ad-hoc searching.

For example, I often have to jump around quickly when doing support. If I’m working on something and a forum post requires me to search for a bit of info, I can quickly initiate a search, find a pertinent document in the results, answer a question, then return to where I was pre-search by clearing the search field.

IMHO and for my use, what this allows is offset by what it entails, i.e. digging through the same hierarchy twice in a row because you forgot to clear the search.

So here are a couple of suggestions (probably mutually exclusive). Either of them is, in my view, better than the current implementation:

  1. In the search options (where it says “Live while typing”, “Ignore diacritics” etc), add an option called “Preserve scope when cleared”. This way it’s easier to switch behaviors than going through the preferences and it can even suit people who need both. An always-visible toggle button next to the search bar would be even better.

  2. Make it so that clicking on a group in the left pane ignores the search results completely (and even clears the search bar), while Option+Click results in the current behavior. Then add a preference to invert this behavior for those who prefer it the other way round.

I haven’t figured out all the UI ramifications of this but I feel it’s a step in the right direction.

Just my 2c.


This seems a very nice suggestion!


I agree – this seems to be a nice way to handle the UI for this, and I would love to have this option.

Quoting myself here. I finally managed to understand the reasoning behind this behavior, because I just made use of the “quick ad-hoc searching” feature which @BLUEFROG mentioned above. It is indeed very helpful, when you need it.

So I would actually opt for my second proposition above, rather than the first (which seems to have a couple of supporters): option+click in the left pane to clear the search field and simply view the group contents (even if the group is already selected). Implementing it would not change anything for those who are used to the current behavior, and would greatly help the rest of us.

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The next release will revise this, closing the search won’t change the sidebar selection anymore.

That’s three good news in a single day, @cgrunenberg… I’m not a big football fan but I believe this is called a hat trick! :slight_smile:

Thank you again for your great support and feedback.


Terrific – thank you @cgrunenberg for the ongoing responsiveness to input!