Feature request: typewriter scrolling

I think this has been brought up before, specifically in 2008 and again in 2012, but it would still make DevonThink more pleasant to work with as a tool for academic research if you were able to offer ‘typewriter’ scrolling, as in Scrivener or IAWriter, to keep the currently edited line in the vertical centre of the screen; it’s a brilliant way to avoid breaking the user’s concentration while taking notes, without constantly losing their place.

Practically speaking, since DevonThink appears to use OS X’s NSTextView to edit .rtf documents, this is pretty much supported by the Cocoa APIs to the extent that the code required is a two-liner in the containing NSScrollView.


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I found only requests from 2006 & 2009:

Sorry, I was looking at the last posts in those threads. The reason I mentioned them was to excuse my having brought up the topic again by showing how old those threads are by now, not to make any sort of point about the feature not being implemented yet.

(it’s still a two-liner and it’s still a feature I’d really like to see :mrgreen: )

The developers are constantly working on enhancements to DEVONthink, either suggestions proposed by users for version 2.x.

Resources are always used to the utmost, so priorities must be set.

The more users discuss and endorse a proposed feature, the more likely it might be selected for inclusion in an update of DEVONthink.

The fact that the cited links are old indicates that the user community hasn’t put much priority on the issue. There are many other topics pushing for consideration. :slight_smile:


Typewriter scrolling is a very useful idea and I’d be very pleased to see it.

BTW – some other software forums discourage +1 posts on feature requests (Scrivener, for example), so I don’t normally do this. If other people also refrain, then perhaps the level of support for some requests is under-reported?

Or perhaps it’s just me? :wink:

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There’s no ban on +1 posts (or +47, +839920, etc.) :mrgreen:

I’d definitely like to see this.

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As there have been several instances of what I call the “curmudgeon” symbol—and i’m sometimes the resident curmudgeon—I hate typewriter scrolling. :mrgreen:

Until I was into my 40s I had to use typewriters and produced many, many thousands of pages. For years I had dreamed of using a computer instead. Once that became possible, I want to be reminded of typewriters as little as possible.

One of the downsides of typewriters was that, because the sheet of paper currently used flopped downwards as it progressed though the roller, I could see only a few lines of my text at a time. Whenever I needed to scan the last few paragraphs I had to reach out and flip the page upwards or, worse, grab for the previously typed page.

IMHO typewriter scrolling on a computer introduces a similar problem, as no more than half of the available screen space is available for quickly scanning previously entered text. I would find that irritating and concentration-breaking.

As to the issue of concentration, my dogs could testify that when I’m working they have to go to extreme measures to get my attention, as at feeding time. Surely, there must be other ways to achieve focus than seeing only half the screen space for text entry. :slight_smile:

Yes, perhaps typewriter scrolling could be made a Preferences setting. But DEVONthink already has a large number of Preferences settings, and the developers try to keep the range of options from becoming confusing.

May I suggest another approach? Although I haven’t looked for one, there must be free text editors that use typewriter scrolling. Install one, set it in the Finder as the “parent” application for plain or rich text, and then you can open the document to be edited under that application. Your text will then be entered at the vertical middle of the screen.

Example: I use rich text for notes and drafts. But as I sometimes need to send a copy to others who don’t use Macs, I’ve set the “parent” of rich text as Bean. I can then press Shift-Command-O to open a rich text note under Bean, add a header and footer and then print as PDF, so that a Windows user can see my paginated note or draft including text formatting, links, images, tables, numbered pages, etc. I didn’t have to wait for the DEVONthink developers to add pagination, header and page numbers to Apple’s rich text code.

Bill - there is one very neat feature of typewriter scrolling which I use a lot: generally if I’m reading a paper on one side of the screen, and taking notes in a text editor on the other, I’ll keep the paper oriented so that the line I’m reading is about halfway down. When the text editor uses typewriter scrolling, this means I can just glance across horizontally and the actual sentence I’m writing will be right where I expect it. Similarly, I can then glance back to the source without losing my place.

Typewriter scrolling is great writing, but rubbish for editing, which is why Scrivener and IAWriter make it easy to toggle.

(I’m obviously in no position to criticise your style of working, this is just an explanation of why it works for me :stuck_out_tongue: )

Deleted—stupid question & irrelevant :blush:


Typewriter scrolling is not really the sort of the preference that one sets for ever and then forgets. It’s more of a ‘quick key press on and off as the circumstances dictate’ thing: very useful when you’re entering a lot of text , not so much when you’re editing. In Scrivener ctl-cmd-T toggles typewriter scrolling on and off. Simple and effective. It also allows you to set the level at which the scrolling operates (half way down the page, 2/3rds and so on). That’s not essential though.

Moving to another program for RTF isn’t really the answer because it removes the possibility of using DTP’s AI as you write. A bit less of an issue with plain text because of the way in which links are handled of course, but still it seems to go away from one of the main reasons for using DTP in the first place.

I love typewriter scrolling. It would be great to have it added to DEVONthink.

Yep, that’s what I already do. I’d still much rather have the feature in DEVONthink.

Perhaps a changed subject is to consider better integration between Scrivener and DT. For example, .scriv file can be opened as a view only doc in DTPO?