New user query

Hi, I have just started trialling DTPro. I’ve been using OneNote on a PC for some time, so have some experience of this kind of stuff.

My query is this: I’d like to see all entries for the last X days from a specified top-level group (including entries in its subgroups but without showing the subgroups themselves). I know I can use the History function to see all by date but that doesn’t appear to give any way to subdivide or restrict by group (e.g. there doesn’t seem to be any way to add a column for group?). And there doesn’t seem to be any way of searching by date range? The List view doesn’t give me what I want because it insists on sorting by group structure before date.

I can’t believe a powerful programme like DTPro can’t do something as simple as this but I can’t find how and it’s very frustrating! (I get the sense that I want to regard groups as metadata (tags) but DT seems to want to force me to see them as physical folders.) Any ideas?


Mea culpa update:

To ungroup items contained in subgroups inside a group, first duplicate rather than replicate the group as I had suggested below.

Reason: Just as replicates are multiple instances of one document and changes made to any instance are made to all instances, so it is with groups that are replicated.

DT Pro goes way beyond what OneNote can do for managing and analyzing your information, so I really don’t see them as comparable.

Here’s what I do if I need to review creation dates or modification dates in a group that contains subgroups and documents.

[1] In DT Pro Preferences > General - Interface: Check the option “Always open groups in a new window”. I can double-click on a group and it will open in its own window.

[2] Example: My database contains a group named Environment and Ecology. I double-click on it to open it in its own window and set it to the Vertical Split view. This group contains subgroups, some of which are 1-level (don’t themselves contain subgroups) while others are multi-level (contain subgroups). I’ll confess that there are some documents included at the top level, that I haven’t placed in an appropriate subgroup. :slight_smile:

[3] I add a new column to the view by selecting View > Columns and choosing Modification Date. Now when I click on that column items are ordered by Modification date, with the most recently modified items at the top.

[4] If this is a group that contains subgroups (and no documents at the “top” level of the group) I see the groups that contain documents organized in rank of most recently modified contents. Groups that contain subgroups but no documents will be differently ranked.

Since I’m interested in documents added or modified in some date period (probably recent) I can click on the black triangles to open each group and see the contents already sorted by Modification Date.

For some purposes, I might want to replicate documents within a certain date range to a group I’ve created to hold them. For example, that would produce the list you were looking for. (I would probably not need to do that.) If I need the holding group only temporarily, I can delete the group when finished with it.

Or perhaps you want to see all the documents within a group sorted by Word Count. Just select View > Columns and check Word Count. Or Kind. Or Size. Or …

In that temporary holding group to which I sent replicates, I can “divorce” the items from their subgroups, raising them all to the top level of that group. That would also produce the list you are looking for. No worry, the original organizational structure isn’t modified.

I can do searches on the holding group items sort and replicate the results into still another group, allowing some rather powerful filtering. I use tricks like that to rapidly organize a new database into which I’ve dumped thousands of results from a DEVONagent search.

So I’ve got the flexibility to stand the data on its head in many ways, in seconds, without modifying the existing contents and organization, and with minimal overhead on the database.

And I’ll use the AI features of DT Pro, which OneNote doesn’t have, in a database that easily scales to tens of thousands of documents…

Thanks for taking the trouble to post this extensive response. Unfortunately I can’t quite follow the steps you are suggesting to get to the list I want. I think the steps are:

  1. open the group containing subgroups etc. in separate window. Use View/Expand All to see everything, then Select All. Then I right-click and choose replicate to , where Temp is a new group I’ve created for this.
  2. Close first group and open Temp in separate window.
  3. Here’s the first confusing thing. There are a lot more items in Temp than in the group I replicated from. E.g. if if replicate all the items in Tips, Tricks & Troubleshootings in the DTPro tutorial database, I start with 36 items in the TT&T group, but after replicating there are 87 items in the new group. I worked out by trial & error that if I replicate with the view collapsed I get the right number of replicants but I don’t understand why.
  4. Then you said to ‘“divorce” the items from their subgroups, raising them all to the top level of that group’ - I can’t work out how to do this? I can’t find “divorce” in the menus/Help. I tried Ungroup and that screwed up the originals data structure as well as the replicants, so I’m stuck!


Mea culpa update:

To ungroup items contained in subgroups inside a group, first duplicate rather than replicate the group as I had suggested below.

Reason: Just as replicates are multiple instances of one document and changes made to any instance are made to all instances, so it is with groups that are replicated.

My guess is that you had inadvertently selected one or more additional groups when selecting and replicating items to your temporary group. Replicating items one time cannot add to their number in the target group. But replicating them multiple times or selecting additional items can increase the count. :slight_smile:

Comment: I wouldn’t name a group “Temp”. That may or may not be a “forbidden” name in the current OS, but it has been in some operating systems.

Select the top-level group that you replicated to a target enclosing group (caution: do not select the target enclosing group itself, or you will scatter replicants everywhere).

Select Data > Ungroup. The contents of the top-level group will now be revealed. If there are still groups, select those and do Data > Ungroup again. Continue until no more groups are visible inside your target enclosing folder.

Comment: There is no way this can affect the original material that you chose to replicate. Working in the replicated material cannot screw up the original material. To avoid confusion, I usually replicate material to a different group hierarchy and work on it in a different window.

Now (for your original purpose) add a Date Modified column to the Vertical Split view of your ungrouped replicants. To do that, select View > Columns and choose the Date Modified option. Now click on the Modification Date header to sort by Modification Date and choose a desired date range.

If you wish, you could select the items that were modified in May, 2006 and replicate them to a target group for whatever purpose. Or assign them a Label of a specific color, or a State change. Or select Data > Group to create a group containing just those items, and rename the group ‘May 2006’.

All that can be done in a few seconds.

Remember that this approach can not only let you identify and pull together items that fall within a particular date range in a portion of your database hierarchy. You can look for material that has other characteristics in the same general way. Documents whose titles begin with the letter M. Or HTML and WebArchive documents but not other file types. Or documents that contain more than a thousand words. Or …

Of course, you can perform searches on the group containing your collection of replicants for other filtering approaches.

Summary: Once you become familiar with the general operations of DT Pro you will realize that you can “slice and dice” your document collection in a great many ways. Using replicants lets you do this with no risk to your database, as you can experiment with them without affecting the original groups and documents, and discard them whenever you wish.

True, DT Pro doesn’t provide a button that you could push to answer your particular question. But that’s a rather uncommon question, and there are an infinite number of possible questions. We don’t have space for an infinite number of buttons. So instead, DT Pro provides flexibilities that allow you to do an infinite number of things with your document collection. :slight_smile:

If you can define the characteristics you are looking for in a subset of your data, you should be able to assemble the tools to create that subset of your data.

Much more powerful Search operators (and other good things) are coming in DT Pro version 2.0, as Christian has noted. That will further enhance those flexibilities.