Questions from a beginner

Three questions from a beginner. Asking is faster than searching in the manual. I ask for your indulgence :pray:

  1. if I have many (unsorted) documents in a folder and I create a new one, it appears at the end (last). Is there a way to create it under the currently selected one?

  2. How can I move a document up/down with the keyboard?

  3. What are the shortcuts for these arrows?



  1. No, you can’t create a document in an unsorted position. The new document will alwasy be created at the bottom of the item list.

  2. You can’t move a document up or down the item list via keyboard. It’s a drag and drop operation.

  3. The arrows are for navigating backwards and forwards through locations you’ve viewed in that window. The shortcuts are Command-[ and Command-].

  1. Mm, too bad, that’s pretty inconvenient. Especially if I have to drag and drop the document to the right place.
  2. in some apps it works with ⌘⌃+arrow up/down. Wouldn’t that also make sense for DT?
  3. perfect thanks.

May I ask, especially as you are a self-confessed beginner with perhaps some preconceptions about DEVONthink, why sort order, and keyboard to move file names, in the view is so important to you. What are you trying to accomplish with this view of the file list? I can’t ever remember anyone in this forum asking about that. (Probably missed it, but certainly unusual).


2. in some apps it works with ⌘⌃+arrow up/down. Wouldn’t that also make sense for DT?

The request is noted with no promises. The only other discussion I know of is regarding moving items between groups, not in the sort order.

Thank you @BLUEFROG :grinning:

@rmschne You can ask what you want… where to start … if you come from another app that works in a similar way, many workflows are pre-programmed in your head. DT does it differently, that’s always the case and completely ok. No offense, but there are “solutions” that I just don’t understand. That may be me. But why is a document created at the very end? Who wants it that way? And that’s just one example of many.

I can solve many things myself with BTT or KM. Example: There is no setting to search for word components. You have to type * before and after a word. However, a * is added virtually after a word as long as space is not typed. Am I the only one who finds this … strange?

However, two things I asked for have already been implemented. Thank you very much for that.

You rather have others read the manual and provide executive summaries for you?

Aside: the forum has a search function, too. Not fast enough, either?


You don’t have to answer me if you don’t want to. :slightly_smiling_face:

But why is a document created at the very end? Who wants it that way?

Many, many people I would say.

Not everyone uses the Unsorted sort method. I for one rarely use it and usually only for a support purpose. I use Date Added > Descending 95% of the time. And in my case, the newly created documents appear at the top of the item list. :slight_smile:

With the myriad ways people do and can use DEVONthink, it’s impossible to assert one method as “the expected way” over another. But as I mentioned, the request is noted.


Yes I am going to add to the point made by @rmschne. What do you want to do?
I do like my documents sorted in a non-alphabetical way. In fact according to most recent, or ‘flagged’. You can set a column to both those and then sort by those columns. I have a Keyboard Maestro short cut for that, I can’t remember off hand how it works but I can look it up if you like. There are also ‘ratings’, ‘labels’ and more that you can create columns for and sort using those. It is part of DEVONthink 3 's powers. There are also smart groups and search functions that can be set up and accesed quickly.


Then I’m probably the exotic one. I adapt. However, one of DT’s strengths is its great flexibility in adapting to all users. That’s why the exotics tell the non-exotics what else would be possible. :wink:


Thank you @tudoreynon I know all that. :slightly_smiling_face: For certain projects, I want to organize documents in a spontaneous “visually” way. It’s not a science, it’s my personal need.

Think about how you’d implement that kind of behavior.
Searching for the beginning of words is easy and fast with a word index. Searching for an arbitrary part of a word – not so much. The word index does not help much with that, and an index on arbitrary parts of words would be too large.

So, from an implementation PoV, its more sensible to have “Wordstart*” as the default than “something”. And many languages do not run words together as German does, which makes the “arbitrary part of a word” request even less urgent.

I don’t know if DT’s index works the way I assume.

Technically, you certainly understand a lot more than I do. Regarding speed: I do it this way and don’t notice any significant slowdown. A * is automatically added to the beginning and end of every word I type. Scrivener does this by default, but it can be annoying because it’s not possible to change this behavior quickly. Everything has advantages and disadvantages :man_shrugging:

I understand. I have to say I do sometimes have a few documents on Desktop that I do that with. Then I move them back into DEVONthink 3, or the final result as it were. Usually a pdf.

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As a long-term user of both Scrivener and DevonThink, I think it’s important to remember that they are different applications with different goals. Scrivener is, IMO, unsurpassed for writing, and of course if you are assembling a book-length work the order of sections is extremely important. DT, on the other hand, is unsurpassed as a tool for storing and retrieving information, and in that application it very quickly becomes obvious that depending on visual order and “eyeball search” doesn’t scale past a certain point.

“Don’t see any significant slowdown” is very much a function of the size of the database being searched. As a relatively new user, I’m guessing that your DT database is not yet particularly large. My main working database is well north of 2 million words, and is actually on the small side of what you’ll see here.

In my experience, DT and Scrivener complement each other very effectively, but neither is the ideal tool for all tasks.


You’re right about everything … and also not. :slightly_smiling_face:

This assumes that you can find everything. And you can do that by searching with *. This function is already implemented in DT. So why shouldn’t it be selectable as an option? You should be able to choose.

The possibilities for searching with Scrivener are comparable to those of DT. The difference is that DT is much faster with large amounts of data. And my database is 2 GB.

I’m a bit confused by your comment, since you can do both those things in DT and @kewms comment stands.

I wrote a reply last night then decided not to get involved, but now it’s morning and I’m commenting anyway so I’m going to say what I wanted to say last night:

This is actually incorrect. If you have partial matches enabled (an optional setting) it does a partial match whilst you are typing, but once you hit return on your search it only searches the word as you’ve typed it by default. If you want to search partial matches properly, you would need to add the wildcard option at the end.

In any case, for English (and French), adding a wildcard at the front by default seems like a redundant search most of the time, and it’s not how most digital searches work by default so isn’t expected behaviour. Most searches assume the word you type in is the one you want to search for, they don’t assume you’re typing a string of letters and then search for any occurrence. It’s not how words are created in English (or French) and would be fairly useless as a search. Words that do have prefixes can be easily searched for by deliberately adding the wildcard when that’s the case (which the user knows, since they know what they’re looking for). The rest of the time, it’s simply not a needed function.

If I am searching for “pants” for example, I definitely don’t want “participants”, “occupants”, etc., to come up in a search by default (I’m using this particular term as an example because an American publisher recently did exactly that for a find and replace of “pants” to “trousers”, and with inevitable consequence…).

I appreciate that German does follow logic rules that many other languages don’t, so this search may be more useful for German language users.


The one language I know of where that’s different is German. Here, “Garten” can be part of “Obstgarten” and “Kindergarten” (though they don’t harvest kids in the latter while they do harvest fruit in the former). We love to run nouns together, like in the (in)famous Donaudampfschiffahrtskapitän (who is the captain of a steam boat navigating the Danube). And German is very creative with verbs, too: there are “beraten” (to advise), “verraten” (to betray), “anraten” (to suggest). Or “hingehen”, “weggehen”, “losgehen”, “angehen”, “abgehen”, “vergehen”, “umgehen”. Mark Twain hated those prefixed verbs.

While there might be a point for prefixed wildcards with German nouns, it’s utterly useless with verbs – their meaning can be changed completely by prefixes, so that searching for *gehen will turn up many wildly disparate hits.

I think that’s an urban myth. No language follows “logic rules” in the sense of Maths, as all grammar rules are distilled after the fact: They describe the usage, they do not prescribe [^1]. And if you ever have the chance to talk to a foreign language speaker learning German, you’ll certainly not hear the word “logic” from them. “Das blaue Haus”, “Des blauen Hauses”, “Dem blauen Haus”, “Das blaue Haus” (the four cases for a blue house in German) – there might be rules to it, but logic? And even our grammar changes over time :wink:

[^1] A Turkish friend once told me that his native language is “the most logical”. He rescinded that proposition when he couldn’t explain away all the exceptions that I noticed as a foreign learner.


@chrillek I confess to being a little surprised but all the more delighted by your knowledge of linguistics. :+1:

Was ist eine Denkpause? Eine Pause vom Denken? Oder eine Pause, um nachzudenken? Wie du sagst, mit Logik hat das wenig zu tun.

I very much hope that everyone will see this discussion as a friendly exchange of different points of view. At any case, I would like it to be understood as such. :slightly_smiling_face:

@MsLogica I could go into every detail again, but I’d rather keep it simple. In many cases, perhaps in most, it may not serve any purpose to place an * before and after a word. But that’s for me to decide. If I decide so, I have to put the * by hand. All I’m saying is, an option that does that for me would be nice. Especially as DT can already do this. I have solved this for myself with a BTT macro. So, the matter has been resolved.

So you’re saying that because there are people who might use a certain feature incorrectly, it’s better not to have that feature at all? Then let’s just leave it all out. If you don’t have anything, you can’t use anything wrong … that was overly ironic. :slightly_smiling_face: