New database window from Dock icon

Here is my problem: I open a database, then open a file, and close the database window with the red x. I want to quickly open the database window again, and it seems like Option-Command-N is the keyboard shortcut to do that.

Similarly, when I right-click the DEVONthink icon in my Dock, I would think that selecting a database would open a database window, but it does not. It opens the window/file only. I could do that by selecting, the name of the window/file that is in the same selection box.

If I select a DIFFERENT database from the selection choices, it opens a new window into that database.

I thought workspaces would solve the problem, but it doesn’t because workspaces wipe out other windows and reset only to the workspace parameters.

Option-Command-N opens a new window for the current database. This is clearly shown by looking in the File > New Window menu.

If the document window is active, the shortcut will open a window at the root of the database for the database the file is in.

when I right-click the DEVONthink icon in my Dock, I would think that selecting a database would open a database window, but it does not.

That’s because that operation is for opening recent databases, not reopening a window.

Thanks for the quick response!

Everyone uses their tools differently. Maybe this is different for people with many databases… I use one main database. Yes, I understand the keyboard shortcut, but let’s say I am taking notes during a meeting. That note may not be the focused window or on another screen view. Next, I want to open another document in the same database. I need a way to do so quickly. Actually, this is happening as I speak…

Using the keyboard shortcut means I need to use multiple steps to get the main window in the currently open DEVONthink database. Unless I am missing something, what is the fastest way (with the mouse, preferably) in the least steps to open the main database window? For me, right clicking on the Dock icon and having a way to do so (in the currently open database) would be desirable.

No problem.

Why not use the Take Note function in the Sorter? You can set a hotkey in Preferences > Sorter.

I don’t want to take a note, I want to re-open the database window (that I closed) to open another file for reference. I had no idea about Workspaces until today, and I thought that was my solution… but then any other open windows go away that aren’t in the defined workspace.

The context is that I am in an online training class given in Adobe Connect and actively taking notes into a Markdown note. I created a group for the class, and have it saved in my Favorites list. I also created a workspace, which is a great starting point for the beginning of the training day, but closes out windows that were opened later, so not best suited for this task. Now, I want to quickly open a new pdf reference, or perhaps copy a link to an item and paste it into my notes.

If I had minimized the Database-group window, I could right click the DEVONthink icon in the dock, and select the Database - Group, and it opens right up. However, because I closed the window, there is no easy way to do this, that I can figure out. You could say that I should just minimize the window, but that creates some clutter across all my Desktops that I would like to avoid.

You could say that I should just minimize the window,

Yes, I would say that or just leave the window open.

Realizing there are always going to be trade-offs you have to accept, you could try this…

  1. Control-click the database and choose Copy Item Link.
  2. In the database, press Command-N to create a bookmark.
  3. Drag the bookmark to your dock.

Clicking on the link in the dock will open a window for that database.

Well, that technically works, but it’s worse than just minimizing the window.

Let me take a step back from my particular use case mentioned…I actually don’t think this relates to databases at all. Per the DEVONthink help “DEVONthink has two main window types: a main window (seen immediately when the software opens)…”

If you close the main window but have other windows open, there is no way to easily open the main interface to the app again, especially when using the mouse to go from other applications back, to DEVONthink.

If you don’t have any document windows open, then click on the DEVONthink icon in the dock, the main window opens.

I am really trying to figure out if there is another way to accomplish what I am asking, but I have seen this as a shortcoming for a long time, and finally wanted to figure it out or see if other users agree for future updates to DEVONthink.

I don’t see how it’s “worse than minimizing the window”.
You’re closing the window. This opens a new window at the desired database.
Alternately, yes you can just minimize the window - though my suggestion is more precisely focused to open one database regardless of the active document window.

1 Like

Like I tried to clarify, it’s not about the database… I want to use the DEVONthink’s “Main Window” for any use. It’s easy to do this if there are no document windows open. If there are, additional steps are needed using either the menu or keyboard to use the app for any purpose other than viewing the open document window.

Since the main window is a way to get to any database, there should be a way to open this window via the dock icon.

Does this make sense?

Thank you for the suggestion, we’ll consider this for upcoming releases.


To open a main window without using the keyboard (or even activating DEVONthink first) you could use this script, saved as application. For easy access store the app in a custom menu in DEVONtechs Xmenu. If you deselect all XMenu menus and use the custom menu with the name set to only some spaces it’s not even visually cluttering your menu bar.

-- Open viewer window

tell application id "DNtp"
		open window for record (root of current database)
	on error error_message number error_number
		if the error_number is not -128 then display alert "DEVONthink" message error_message as warning
	end try
end tellf

Great idea! I don’t really want to run Xmenu, but for now I will add another icon (different color) to my Dock. It will definitely ease my workflow the way I am working with DEVONthink right now. Thanks!

I still think adding an option to the context menu to open the main view is a good idea, too.

Screen Shot 2020-08-05 at 8.11.45 PM