Questions on how to work around UI limitations

As I am just starting with DTP, I seem to be stumbling on some design issues that are immediately annoying and a bit frustrating.

  • The panel to set up or edit smart search folders is attached to the top of the toolbar as a modal sheet. I’d wonder whether this would be easier being a non-modal panel (i.e. a pull-off panel). Would there be a sense that one or the other mode is better?

  • I created a smart search with SEPARATE criteria such as this …


  • content matches (xyz)
  • content matches (abc AND ttt AND … NOT bbb)

When I return to edit, the two criteria are collapsed in to one LONG line that extends past the length of the edit box. Ugh! :cry: I prefer that my separate search criteria remain in separate fields. I might want to tweak one or the other along the way. I certainly want the edit field to be big enough to see the entire search string. Could the search criteria be kept separate when entered separately? Can the search field be a resizable text box instead of a single line (limited to only N characters)?


I’ll look at this some more. In truth, I am frustrated far more by the next issue … exhaustively long collapsed search strings appearing in one short text input field.

While I am up for certain challenges, others just cause me to wonder and walk away. Poor design in software UI falls in the latter category, and I tend to be fussy (politely put) about it. In this regard, concerning the collapse of searches and especially the collapse of them to a short text input field, your preface “Unfortunately” is a real understatement for me.

I’ll leave with one feature request. Given the way that DPT collapses search criteria, allow the search input field to be an expandable text input box (like this input for the forum) rather than a limited single-line input field.



@DrJJWMac: Are you writing about DEVONthink 2.x? If so, the little query field in the Toolbar is small. The query field in the full Search window is larger (and that Search window is much more versatile). You might also take a look at the appendix in Help (and in the PDF user documentation) about syntax and operators.

Yep. That is a polite way of stating the problem I am having.

The query field is indeed larger. But only when you expand the window horizontally. I’d be hard pressed to call this a true advantage.

For the abbreviated searches that I want to do, I also find that creating a smart folder is so much faster than making a trip to the full Search window.

I greatly appreciate already the versatility and the wealth of options for searching. Thanks.



My frustration now is this. I created a Smart Folder. I want to modify the search criteria to eliminate certain return results. When I try to Edit the Smart Folder, the edit window overlays the match results. I loose track of the top set of files.

I might only hope, the next version of DTP does not have this limitation.


This is the standard behavior of a window’s sheet, not a limitation of the software. It’s no different than the print dialog.

Yes, this is a design by Apple that has irritated me since, … forever. As Jim says, it occurs in the print dialog and I find it elsewhere. There are many times when I need to see the info under the panel, like get the file name of an obscured file in order to enter the name of a new file. I can’t believe Apple has not received feedback on this over the years and developed a new design.


And with one easy swoop, the sense of my comment is dismissed as obtuse and irrelevant.