Sorter disappears after update to 2.1

Hi there,
The Sorter is since update to DT Office Pro 2.1 invisible. I have to Quit and launch it from the DT preference panel in order to see it and once I try to press any button it disappears towards the dock. ow frustrating. Please help. Thanks, Rene

I’m having this problem too! Please advise. Thanks, Michelle

See Preferences > Sorter, where you can turn on Full visibility until you learn where the Sorter tab is located (if can be relocated if you wish). You can then make it invisible again, and just move the cursor to its location to open the tab.

There have been lots of requests for an invisible Sorter tab. But there are consequences to that option, as well. :slight_smile:

And for those who have requested options for the Sorter in full screen in other applications, see the revised preferences in version 2.1.

If you are using DEVONThink Pro delete the file ~Library/Preferences/com.devon-technologies.think-sorter.plist, else if you are using DEVENThink Personal ~Library/Preferences/com.devon-technologies.thinkPersonal-sorter.plist.

This should reset the sorter to a default size that will accommodate all your folders.


I am having the exactly the same problem. Full visibility is on, as is launch with DevonThinkPro. However, the only way I can see the Sorter is to turn it off and then on again in preferences. Then as soon as I use it, it disappears! Help please. (i’ve already tried deleting the library file).

Yep, me too. Clearly a bug with the update. Very frustrating. Hopefully this will be addressed in a patch very quickly as it disables one of the most useful functions of the software.

What’s frustrating to me is that I cannot replicate the Sorter issue reported here, nor did it happen in beta testing. Judging from Support queries since the 2.1 update, most people don’t have the issue. And in response to a Support query the suggestion of deleting the Sorter’s preferences file resolved that user’s problem.

Clearly a bug? I wish it were. Sometimes flaky things trace down to something in the software environment on a computer, such as a utility that has modified the operating system, with resulting errors.

Or perhaps it might be the position of the Sorter tab relative to the Dock, but I’ve tried variations to no effect.

In any case, the developers are aware of the issue and will try to make it go away.


I have the same problem as others report and have tried deleting the sorter preferences but the problem remains: sorter is available only hiding it and then showing it again and then only for one use. After I drag the first file there it disappears again.


My sorter also disappears each time I am using it.
Only switching the sorter off and on again in DT helps, what is very annoying during work :frowning:


The workaround to stop the sorter disappearing after upgrading from v2.0.9 is to delete your old sorter preferences file. This can be located at ~/Library/Preferences/com.devon-technologies.think-sorter.plist for the Pro version or ~/Library/Preferences/com.devon-technologies.thinkPersonal-sorter.plist for the Personal version, where ~ is your home folder i.e. /Users/.

If you still have a problem after deleting the preference file, please use the support page to report the problem ( and if possible attach a copy of the sorter preferences files to the problem report.


Given your history of not finding major problems in beta or ability to replicate I have to ask, can we get some real world beta testers please? You’ve’ never ever found a problem in beta as far as I can tell seeing your postings and it’s frustrating for the rest of us with real problems to get the platitude that you never saw it.

I had a boss once that was guaranteed to kill any demo machine or SW package just buy asking us to show it, conversely I also know engineers who can fix flakey hardware just by walking into the same room with it. Whether you believe it or not sometimes you have to assume that it’s magic and find alternative folks to do testing You, clearly, have the everything works for you gene and a lot of us do not!


I’m actually a very heavy user of DEVONtech applications (DT Pro Office 2.1, DEVONagent 3.0, DEVONnote 2.1 and DEVONthink To Go 1.1).

You will find that there have been reported issues that I can replicate and have so noted.

But here’s a list of issues recently reported that I can’t replicate on my Macs:

  • Disappearing Sorter
  • Misbehaving Clip to DEVONthink, the HUD overlay on all pages
  • Sync issues between DEVONthink (Pro Office) and DEVONthink To Go

Those issues are very real to the persons who are having them, and the developers are quite dedicated to fixing them.

But I don’t think its magic that I don’t have the issues noted above, nor that many others also don’t experience them.

I probably approach monomania about keeping OS X nearly stock, and running OS X maintenance routines every week or two. There are utilities available for Macs that add convenient features such as text expansion, password management, Finder modifications and so on. Often, however, the utility works by modifying (hacking) code in OS X, and that introduces risks of errors and instability if the modification wasn’t written and tested properly, and still more risk each time Apple updates OS X (if Apple has modified the section of code that’s modified by a hack, errors will probably result). And of course hacks can sometimes interact with each other; for example, they might modify the same code section in OS X, but differently.

I act on the premise that the promised convenience and time-saving features promised by utilities that operate by modifying OS X are likely to cause me to waste a lot of time in the long run, because of operating system instability. So I don’t install them. My Macs don’t crash, my DT Pro Office databases don’t have problems, and I’m a happy camper.

The DEVONthink applications typically make more (and more varied) calls to sections of code in OS X than most other Mac applications, simply because they do so many kinds of operations. Thus, if a Mac’s software environment is a bit weird and there are errors in OS X, a DEVONthink application is more likely to call a modified code in OS X and encounter errors, than simpler applications such as a word processor or spreadsheet.

That’s what I mean when I suggest that flaky behavior of Clip to DEVONthink, the Sorter, or Sync to DT To Go is probably related to the software environment on a computer. Often, in cases where a number of utilities have been installed that place third-party preference panes, input managers and/or contextual menu plugins into a user account, testing for problems can be done by operating the computer in a Guest Account to isolate the effects of those installed utilities.

The proliferation of badly written hacks to OS X reached a peak in the Tiger operating system. For example, one popular hack that added lists of applications and files to the menubar caused many problems, including seemingly unrelated ones such as killing networking on some Macs. Since then, Apple has been placing more and more restrictions on modification of OS X than in the past, but there are still problems on some computers in Leopard and Snow Leopard.

Apple’s requirements for acceptance of applications downloadable on the Mac App Store severely restrict hacks to the operating system, and it’s likely that some utilities currently available will not make it into the Mac App Store.

May I add my voice to those whose Sorter has disappeared. I’ve deleted the preferences file but it’s made no difference.

The Sorter’s the most useful daily aspect of DTPO for me, so its reinstatement is vital in my case. The Sorter appears once on startup or login, but as soon as the first piece of information has been sent through the Sorter (in my case nearly always Apple Mail emails), then the Sorter vanishes, not to be seen again until re-Startup or re-Login.

I’m finding this particularly frustrating, so any assistance will be gratefully received!!


You make my points exactly. You run a stock system and perform maint. regularly. DT needs real world beta testers, you need people who have never added a single additional program but also never done any maint. activities, people who have added and deleted hundreds of apps, widgets and other enhancements, people who are running old hardware with new operating systems and people with the latest hw and sw. You need a variety of systems and real world users to adequately test all the various conflicts you are likely to see when you release code into the wild. Having a population of beta users who have atypical systems is critical to success in a beta program.

Every developer assumes their code will work properly in the given OS environment. Every developer (including Apple) has bugs that cause problems. The purpose of beta testing is to try to identify as many conflicts and odd issues as you can so you can either figure out if it’s your code causing the problem, system SW or a conflict with some other app and how to resolve it. To do that you need either a much bigger population of beta testers (open source SW comes to mind) or a much more varied group to the point of actively recruiting people who can fill in for the types of systems your current beta users do not have.

I have the same problem. Thanks, Linda

Actually, DEVONtechnology introduces upgrades of it’s flagship applications as public betas, often for protracted periods. During the public beta period a number of updates are released, each of which has first gone through internal testing.

For example, DEVONagent 3.0 is in public beta currently, and the recently released DEVONagent Express benefited from that experience.

The objectives of protracted public beta periods are to introduce new features, often sequentially, receive feedback from users and evolve releases based on feedback.

Obviously, the developers write code on carefully maintained computers and are the first level of internal testing. Prior to release of any upgrade or maintenance there is then further testing by by a group of users, typically experienced users who have volunteered their time and effort to test a series of pre-release versions. This level of beta testing is valuable, because these testers represent users covering a wide spectrum of uses of the applications and of personal workflows. Some of them have installed utilities on their computers that I wouldn’t install (on principle) but as serious users their computers remain stable and effective, because they are aware of and can detect problems that might emerge.

Finally, after a lot of testing, an application update is posted on the Download page and is exposed to users “in the wild”’. During the public beta issues resulting from the range of computer hardware and software environments may appear.

The Devonthink applications are no longer in public beta, but continue to evolve through updates. Let’s take the revisions of the Sorter that appeared in version 2.1 of the DEVONthink applications. Some users find an irritating new behavior; the Sorter disappears after each use of it. This behavior had not appeared in extensive prerelease testing. It’s a bug that emerges on some computers, most likely because of differences in the software environment on those computers that results in anomalous behavior of the Sorter.

The developers will now try to find the cause of this Sorter misbehavior and attempt to make it work properly on all computers that are not rife with operating system errors. The cause of the problem might be a particular piece of software installed on all the computers that experience the problem, or complex interactions among several pieces of software code on those computers, and may or may not involve a correctable bug in the Sorter code. A solution will likely involve obtaining information about what’s happening on a computer that has the issue - the System Profile, crash reporter logs, Console logs and captures of code flows during a process.

My observation is that there is no practical level of prerelease testing that can prevent all cases of anomalous behavior, as in the case of this Sorter issue. The range of variables in software environments is enormous.

As previously noted, Apple is moving towards a “closed system” that will tightly restrict or perhaps prevent entirely the ability of developers to modify the operating system or bypass procedures built into the operating system. From my position in software support, that will make my job easier, as there will be far fewer differences in the behavior of applications on all Macs. But at the same time I mourn the resulting prevention of innovations by developers and the loss of some of the richness of the Mac experience.

I’ve tried the fixes here. Sorter vanishes each time I drag something into it.

When I look at preferences, it shows it on. I turn it off, then back on “show” and it reappears - only to disappear as soon as something is dragged back into it.

I’ve created new permissions files in Library>applications support. devon sorter - no go.

Any other ideas?

Bummer cause this was my most used feature.

I’ve tried the fixes here. Sorter vanishes each time I drag something into it.

When I look at preferences, it shows it on. I turn it off, then back on “show” and it reappears - only to disappear as soon as something is dragged back into it.

I’ve created new permissions files in Library>applications support. devon sorter - no go.

Any other ideas?

Bummer cause this was my most used feature.
DEVONthink (1.18 KB)

Hi Trevor

Thanks for the preference file. We are currently testing a fix for this issue that we hope to release very soon.


I have a similar problem. Mac OS X 10.7.4 and DEVONthink Pro Office 2.4.2.
I open a note in the sorter (or with the short cut), then I enlarge the note window to the left - suddenly it disappears. An it is not possible to open a note with sorter or shortcut. Closing and restarting sorter in setting doesn’t work.
Has this been already fixed? I run the latest software!
Please help!