Minimal Navigator For Two-Column View

I don’t know of another way to accomplish this, please let me know if anyone sees an alternative approach.

It would be nice if there was a way to either hide the navigator pane or collapse it to a file path picker. VS Code implements a useful dropdown pattern for this:

In this screenshot I have two main windows arranged into a two-column layout so that I can work with two documents at once and retain the ability to navigate either window to a different document. On the left I have an RTF and on the right a PDF. The RTF is a narrative across different PDF’s so it becomes necessary to switch between different PDF’s doing this work. And sometimes switch between different RTF’s on the left side, because each one is a topic, so sometimes the annotation links I’m keeping get pasted into multiple RTF’s.

I was thinking DT might have a two-column view for this but I get the impression that the multi-window support is intended enable this use case, so this works fine for me, but it would be nice if the navigation pane could be reduced to occupy less screen space.

I found an alternative. I found the command Go > To Document… (CMD + CTRL + O) for the document window. So now I can instead keep two document windows open and navigate by this command. I would think that this command would have an icon button available for the document window toolbar but I can’t find one in the customize menu. So that would be my other feedback suggestion: Please add an icon button for this command.

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Also, is there any reason that the DT team doesn’t make more YT videos to show people how to use the tools? This would not only help people learn the software faster, it would attract more users. I was really surprised to see just how few YT videos there are on DT. I would suggest picking a variety of project types and then show how different workflows can be accomplished.

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Yes, there are reasons…

  1. We are a very small company. Everyone has more than enough to do already.

  2. We have produced quite a large volume of written materials.

  3. Videos are not simple to do, at least not polished ones. It takes more time and effort than people imagine.

  4. Project types is a nebulous term and would mean different things to people. The moment we did one, people would immediately want to know why “Why didn’t you do this project instead? When is that one coming out??”


Well, personally, I miss Devonthink for Historians. Delightfully nerdy, using that term in the proper sense of the word. Respectfully, in other words.

I don’t know how I missed go to document and group. Tearing the go to group window off of Devonthink’s main window makes it a little like the sorter for dragging and dropping new documents.


Indeed it does! So you learned that from Ada and Avigail?

@BLUEFROG you might be able to get other people to make the videos for you. You could try reaching out to a selection of YouTubers and offer a promo deal (like a free year or whatever you like) in exchange for them to make some helpful tutorials. It would help DT grow.

In using two windows, there’s still a downside: Clicking on an annotation link in my RTF file will open the link target in the left window, whereas I want the link to open in the right window. I’m not sure of an easy solution for this.

As @BLUEFROG has pointed out, DT already is maintaining a very detailed manual in text. Reproducing the same content into a format with a lower information density (video) is, among other things, not a productive use of man-hours. Moreover, updating videos would take more efforts than updating a text manual, when there is a major software update.

It is not necessarily true that videos are more friendly to learners. That may be the case for you, but certainly not for everyone. In my personal opinion, videos tutorials are suitable for showing how to tie a knot, how to conduct a chemistry experiment or how to do extraordinary things in Minecraft. Text is better for explaining the capabilities of a highly complex software.


Here’s perhaps a great opportunity for you, perhaps a money-making thing. You make videos on your learning path of DEVONthink, publish on YouTube, gather followers and ad revenue. Clearly will be a slam dunk for those who want such videos!!


Actually, I learned that in this thread. For some reason, I overlooked those functions.

The go to document and go to group windows fill in for what I used to do with the separate window of documents and groups.

My next mission is to go through every menu and every context menu and see what else I’ve missed.

The recent discovery I can open annotations in a real DT window has been a game changer. Correspondence in word processing files have a place to record history, who replied, related stuff, and commentary about what transpired. Very cool. An out-of-band addendum for anything, even groups and tags, is brilliant.

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Have you tried the Edit > Open in two windows script from the Script menu > More Scripts? Select a document that has an associated annotation file and run the script.

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That’s cool! A nice script to analyze for learning purposes, too.

I hope you glean some good tidbit from it :slight_smile:

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This is interesting, I get why you’d want a view like this.

I use a two window set-up sometimes (I imagine lots of us do, as there are many people who research in some form on this forum, and having a note-taking window and a reading window is useful).

For my own use, I have clear “rules” around which window is the input window and which window is the reading window. If I wanted the reading file to change as I clicked and navigated stuff, for example, I’d keep that in the main DT window and keep my annotation file as a standalone window that doesn’t change as I work.

Does right-clicking and opening your RTF link in a new window not suit what you’re trying to do?

The trouble with that approach is that I’m using the OS split-view layout, and it doesn’t allow floating windows when in this mode. I think it works the same way in Windows as in MacOS.

I tried replacing the right window with a DT main window, but it seems the link following remains within the originating window.

The only approach I have right now is to follow the link in the input window, then manually open the destination doc in the reading window, and hit the back button in the input window. Definitely a nuisance but at least I’m not needing to switch my reading window terribly often, and thankfully I have forward and backward buttons.

Some fresh thoughts on how this might be enabled with new features:

If docs could have multiple annotation files, then you could establish the relationship of annotation file on left, subject doc on right. The limitation I have is that the left window is showing what is essentially an annotation file, but it’s one of many, so I guess it therefore is not a true annotation file.

If you have to repeat certain things over and over again, it’s probably easiest to automate them. Takes a minute. After that, it’s just a shortcut or a button you can click, for example in a floating window.

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Ah, I don’t use Split View on my Mac. Have you tried just tiling document windows in the arrangement you like? You’d be able to automate that. I use Moom with pre-set layouts, but I think MacOS nowadays has some in-built options - someone else may be able to confirm (Moom is good though, +1 from me. I have pre-sets for different apps and tasks that layout my windows how I like).

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You can also open two windows with just the global database open, arrange them as desired, and save that as a workspace.

Later, open Devonthink and open the database(s) you want to have in your two window view. Use Go->Workspaces->Your workspace to open the two window view.

That won’t close the databases. You’ll just need to select them in each of the windows.

Is that workable?

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