Improving composing in DN/DT

I’m using Devonnote at the moment (with a view to one day upgrading to DT). My main gripe is with composing in DN. I like to work in one window (hate having multiple windows open), which means that I frequently switch between files. Let’s say I’m writing an article, with my notes and research as separate RTF files. Every time I move from the article to my notes/research files and back again, I have to scroll back down to the bottom of the page (or the middle, or wherever I was editing the text)… very unwieldy. How about DN and DT remembering this, so that when I return to the article, the page view and cursor are in the same place.

As an example, I love the UI experience in NotePad Deluxe (though the interface is archaic in many ways and development seems to have fallen by the wayside). It remembers whereabouts I was in each note, and the keyboard shortcuts are simple and intuitive, so my hands very rarely need to leave the keyboard. The most useful shortcut is Ctrl-up/down arrow to navigate between notes within a group. It means I can flick between article and notes with no effort (and when I return to the article, the cursor is flashing away in the same place). Also, Command-0 to hide/reveal the browser is much easier than double clicking. (I know about the Alt-tab shortcut in DN/DT, but this still requires two or three steps to move between files, instead of one – I end up just using the mouse.)

At the moment, DN/DT are awkward to compose in (though they’re excellent archiving tools). I use Ulysses (which is obviously designed specifically for composing text) but would happily write in DN/DT if the UI experience was made simpler. Any chance of implementing the above? Couldn’t be so hard… could it?

Several of us have made similar or identical requests.

You can browse the forums to read the growing number of posts requesting improved “writing tools”.

DT wasn’t intended to be a competitor for writing apps however but that seems to be one of the many directions in which it is evolving.

DT may or may not be the tool to use for actual composing… time will tell.



It’s true – I’ve been one of the Devon users itching for just a few more writing features, but other have rightly pointed out that that way could lie bloatware.
Sometimes I wonder what would happen if Devon merged with Redlers, which makes Mellel, the word processor that’s most helpful to scholars/researchers/writers. Or maybe we can just carry on using both.

I am VERY eagerly awaiting the release of Mellel 2.0. Hopefully I can ditch Word for 98% of my needs.

Now that Mellel supports outlining, and since (iirc) Mellel will be moving to an XML-based file format, does anyone know if Mellel 2.0 will support OMPL import? It would make a nice bridge from researching/brainstorming/structuring in DT, to final output in Mellel…

I checked the Mellel forum, and back in the spring, several Mellel users requested OPML, and the developer said they were thinking seriously about it. Maybe someone who’s a Mellel user and member of the Mellel forums (Alexandria? Maria?) could post an updated query there.

I’m not suggesting superimposing elements of Mellel or Ulysses on top of DT – just a few very minor tweaks that would dramatically improve the text editing experience. Losing your place in a document every time you move to another document is crippling (and surely a very minor fix). Keyboard shortcuts could be dramatically improved too. Making full use of DT means spending much of your day in the app, and I think finding simpler (mouse-free) ways of moving around should be made a priority.


this is an interesting thread for me, because I am one of those who would like some more support for DT as a writing tool.

I do not think of kerning and other DTP (desktop publishing) features. Rather some basic things like setting page margins without having open a paper in text edit, a stamp for time and date and file path and page number when printing.

Apple’s text engine styles are helpful, but I cannot store them and copy them from one machine to the other. I never get a consistent style in my documents, always slight changes. And whenever the TextEdit preferences are gone, I have to create them from scratch (I made a StylesDocument for these cases…)

Outlining should become easier: At the moment, we can set a group to “outline view”, that is all. But it would be helpful to work in an “outline mode”, where I can write an outline with shortcuts and commands like in OmniOutliner (but of course greating groups for children and RTF files for entries, with automatic numbering…).

That’s all for the beginning. Of course, footnotes are important, and I worked with links, which is too cumbersome if you have to write many of them. A command creating links like footnotes (a footnote group, numbering and renumbering and linking automatically) would be nice. Footnotes are kept in that group but can be replicated to other groups. This is one of my dreams.

But to my own surprise I realised that I love writing a text from scratch in Mellel, after having collected material in DT (using DA as well). I change from Mellel to DT to check details, works great. I can even store the Mellel document in DT. And rather than writing outlines in DTPro I prefer to write them in Mellel now. DTPro outlines are too vague or fuzzy or what I don’t know, and OO is an additional app that I use less now.

As far as OPML import is concerned, this should be no problem with XML format in Mellel 2.0, which may be out this autumn.

So far an opinion from Japan,