Reading list mark as read/unread function


I’ve been exploring the Reading List function as a solution to the inability to prevent items being marked as read when selection changes. I’ve found a confusing bit though and I can’t find a solution in the forum so hopefully someone can explain!

The DT manual doesn’t explain in detail how the Reading List read/unread function works (that I can see), but in Take Control of DevonThink it says “The Reading List maintains its own read/unread status for each document, separate from the document’s main status.” (p41).

I read this to mean that regardless of whether a file is marked as read or unread in its database, it will have its own setting in the Reading List. So. e.g. you could have a file marked as unread in your database, but marked as read in your Reading List.

I can’t replicate this. If I have a file marked as unread in my database and I add it to my Reading List, it appears on the Reading List unread as expected. However, if I then click on it in the Reading List, it is marked as read in both the Reading List and the database. And weirdly, if I then right click on the file and mark it as unread in the Reading List, it remains marked as read in the database??

Is this a bug, an error in the Take Control manual, a weird function that has a use I’m unaware of?

Development would have to comment on this, as I don’t know if it’s intentional.

If you have more than one file in the Reading List, selecting an unread item in the Reading List will change the read state in the item list. However, changing the state of the file in the item list will not change the read state in the Reading List.

If you have only one file in the Reading List, selecting the file in the Reading List has no effect on the raed state of the file in the item list

It is. The reading list and the database are independent.

But is the behavior as intended when there is more than one file in the Reading List? The read state in the Reading List affects the item in the item list in that case.

Viewing an item in the reading list marks it as read in the database too.

I see that when there are multiple items in the Reading List but not when there is only one. Outlier? Likely. But that’s what I’m seeing here.

The document is already visible in your video, that’s probably the reason.

Hello, thank you for your reply (and @BLUEFROG). I’m not sure this query has been fully resolved yet though.

We all agree that viewing an item on the Reading List marks it as read in both the list and its relevant database location (although that doesn’t seem to be what the Take Control document implies, but that’s fine!).

However, marking the item as unread in the reading list is not marking the item as unread in its corresponding database location, and I don’t understand if this is a function (what for?) or a blip that shouldn’t be happening.

Since I am only exploring Reading List because of the inability to stop unread items being marked as read without direct action from me, the fact that Reading List is marking items as read in databases but doesn’t allow me to “re-mark” them as unread is a little annoying.

This is intended as the database and the reading list are independent.

Ok, but if the Reading List and database are independent, why is the Reading List marking items as read in databases?

If it’s truly independent it shouldn’t be altering the status of items at all. As it is, it’s altering the status (from unread to read) and then not allowing you to change it back.

Viewing an item always marks it as read in the database.

For anyone who comes across this thread and is also exasperated by read/unread, I have sent up a smart rule and tag that solves this problem.

The tag automatically applies to new unread items that are moved into my database. The tag will remain even if an item is marked as read, and I will manually remove it when I have read the file. The rule looks like this:

I have saved the tag as a favourite (it’s also a horrible luminous yellow) so it’s at the top of the sidebar.

You can also apply the tag manually to any file that needs it. DT’s autofill will pick up the tag from “TBR” (you don’t need to worry about typing the emojis if that’s your thing).

P.S. Emojis are fun in tags both in DT and elsewhere because they appear before A-Z in sort lists, so in this example the TBR tag is automatically sorted to the top because of the emoji at the start. [The only place this doesn’t work that I’ve noticed is in Apple’s sorting of playlist titles, but only on iOS, it works fine on MacOS for mysterious reasons]

Be cautious and sparing with emojis.
We don’t advocate them in file or database names and their acceptance as Finder tags may be tenuous. Tread lightly :slight_smile:

Noted :blush:

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I started off with tags too, then I moved to a coloured label, then to a flag.

Now I don’t do anything to flag something as unread, but once read, I give it a star rating. The rating serves 2 purposes:

  1. It marks which articles I have read, since no rating = unread;
  2. It reminds me which are the well written and useful articles/papers

Hence the label acquires another dimension.

On the desktop it’s easy to see what’s been read:


On DTTG if you have at least one summary line enabled along with Property Icons you can see what’s read and not in a document list. While you can sort by rating, unfortunately, you can only filter out unrated items, not the inverse. It’s never bothered me though…