Improved Comments viewing/Synopsis

I am a writer moving over to DTP from Scrivener for managing my research databases, and so far DTP has done everything I was having trouble doing in Scrivener — namely freeing documents from being tied to a specific project and better organizing snippets that don’t yet have a place — but I desperately miss Scrivener’s synopsis view. I know this has been discussed a lot, and I’m not the first to have a problem with it.

But I was wondering if there were any future plans to allow easier viewing of the Comment (“Spotlight Comments”) field? I would think this would be a fairly easy UI change, as all it would require is an option to allow that field to be able to wordwrap and allow more lines per item.

It would also be nice to make the info pane dockable as a column and to be able to better show/hide information within it.

The annotation template method is good, and I modified it to automatically offer the spotlight comments text as the annotation, but it is still not as fluid as I would like. What I really need is a quick way to see my comments for any item no matter how I arrived at it — through tag search or text search.

Is any work planned on this in the future?

+1 Very good suggestions.

The Info panel can be stretched to a good size and placed alongside any view. This yields a large working area for the comment section - in which you can do paragraphs, add lists, even change the font. The content of the Info Panel automatically changes to show the Spotlight Comment and other iinformation for whatever document or group has the focus. The panel floats on top of any view - which for some people might be even more useful than docking it.


That works, but it is can be a little clumsy if one must switch away from DT and would like to still be able to see the info pane, which of course disappears.

I agree, would be nice for both tags and spotlight notes to be viewed and edited more easily, perhaps through a toggled pane or drawer, about the same place where the “words” drawer appears. I am starting to work a lot more with both tags and notes (in full screen mode) and it is a bit annoying to have a floating window to contend with. Also, its a little tricky to edit tags even within the info pane, as the tiny box only allows you to see two or three tags at a time,


I also would like to see easier access/viewing of the comment field.

The problem with the info panel:

  • it wastes a lot of screen space (in general but especially if you only need the comment field)
  • you can only see the comment of one single record. So comparing or copying text from one to an other means a lot of mousing around
  • the Info panel is “detached” from the document. If several viewers are open you might run into focus issues and edit/view the wrong comment
  • keyboard navigation is limited

Drawers also waste space in most cases.

My suggestion:
Utilise the Tags bar at the bottom of the viewer and make it into an Info-Bar:

  • have the tags and the comment side by side
  • let the user drag the border of the info bar up and down to adjust the amount of visible information (this would also serve the request for more visible tags that comes up frequently in the forums)
  • let the user switch the Info-bar to the right side of the viewer (handy for full screen and other situations where you like to give the full height to you document but have screen space at the side)
  • if you want to go wild: make it user customisable which field from the info-panel is visible in the Info-Bar.

Another suggestion for a better synopsis view:
When selecting a folder or multiple records the viewer should show a list of Name and the first few lines/paragraphs of each document (ideally with a slider to customise the amount of previewed lines). Showing the comments field instead (or in addition) would also be helpful.

These suggestions would improve the use of DTP for drafting a lot.


A good example of this, IMO, is MacJournal’s info bar – users can customize this by adding almost any item from MacJournal’s inspector panel (i.e., it’s variety of the Info panel), and arrange these attributes in the order and in rows as desired. For example, MacJournal shows this panel in the area above the text area in MacJournal’s equivalent of DEVONthink’s Split view:

I’d like to see this feature in conjunction with custom attribute fields that I could define specifically for each of my databases.

That looks nice. Would be great if DTP could make something like this. Customisation would be important as your example would be need too much screen space that I need for other things.


+1 for an option to dock the info panel

Not sure what challenges exist for programmers if multiple open windows wanted to utilize docked info panels. In Scrivener one has a single document in focus at a time (as in DT) but the documents do not open in separate windows–other than through QuickRef feature, which does not have an Info panel component. However, it would be convenient in DT to be able to dock the Info panel so that it was viewable with the document in current focus rather than floating somewhere else on screen, and perhaps hidden by other opened windows.