Is it possible to view search results unsorted?

It happens quite often, that I would like to view search results listed in exactly the same order as the items appear in the left pane. Is this posible?

Why would I need this? Beside outline and notes I have the whole text of my Book imported into DTP as structure (Part, Chapter, Scene). DTP is great to find almost anything in the text. But often I need to know: where did I mention something for the first time? What is the first scene where two characters meet each other? How does the view on a certain event develop over the time?
All these questions would be easy to answer if I could view the search result sorted after their occurrence in the list pane.

Any hints?


No, but you could replicate the results to a new group and view its contents in unsorted order.

I haven’t thought about whether that would be logically equivalent to what you are looking for, though. Likely not.

Anyway, I suspect that sort order isn’t the only way you might establish some sort of correspondences between a search result and a group list.

As I almost always use the Search window (for several reasons), and the view of the group would be open at the same time, I could just flip between the two views to see the position of a particular document in the list.

I’m not exactly sure how you name your entries in DT but one solution to your problem might be to number each passage (by page, by act, etc). For example:

[III.ii] Isobel and the dragon
[III.iii] Isobel and the warlock


[35] Tristram describes his birth
[717] Tristam talks about his father

This would allow you to run a search and then sort by name. Since the information about acts or page numbers is at the start of the entry name you should be able to get the kind of sorting you’re looking for. (of course, this does involve all the work of inputting that data.)

Thanks Bill for your response. I already tried those things you suggested. They don’t work for me. I really need the search order to get what I want. At least I know now that this is not possible.

So I have to add the a number (1.1.1 …) in front of the names (thanks for the suggestion, bangersandmash, I was already thinking in that direction).

Luckily AppleScript does the work for me (I will post the script after some more testing).
As I do my writing in Mellel I have to re-import the text every few days (export as OPML and then import into DTP works great and gives me the whole structure with each scene as a document). The AppleScript numbers the whole thing in a second.