Sorter – what am I doing wrong?

Hello, I tried a search on this but insight failed to befall me, so …

I try to get more into the Sorter. Clipping and adding content is quite ok. But I have trouble understanding and using the search part of the Sorter:

In the Preferences I set up a “Search Hotkey” in the Sorter section. Invoking the Sorter works fine. But:

  • when the Appearance of the Sorter is set to “Show as Dock Tab”, it does not have focus. So I have to click on it before I can enter text (rendering the keyboard shortcut irrelevant)
  • when set to “Show as Menu Extra”, I can enter text after the shortcut. But: I cannot use the arrow keys to navigate the result list. Again I have to go back to the mouse
  • If I understand it right, the Sorter is not meant to add stuff into DT? (it does not stay open and I can only drag-and-hold files on the Sorter icon)
  • So, in my understanding, the search part in the Sorter is more a kind of a quick-open-functionality (a system wide “Go to”). But: if it is meant to open things, why does is it only find groups and not other things where “opening” would be a legit and likely action?

Please do not read this as a rant. I really want to understand how this could be put to good use (a system wide search-and-goto for all contents in my databases would be a dream). But: in it’s current form I pretty much see no use at all in this part of the sorter.

But: maybe I’m looking for something that is not meant to be there. How are other people using the Search part of the Sorter? Are there any tipps how to make good use of it?

Thanks for your time and ideas

In answer to your questions:

  • Search field not getting focus for the Docked Sorter sounds like a bug, I will add a fix for this.
  • To navigate to the search results from the search field press the tab key.
  • If you drag a file over the Sorter dock tab or menu xtra the Sorter should automatically open and you can drop content into a folder. If you had a previous search active those results will still be displayed.
  • The function of the Sorter is not as a quick open utility, rather as an aid to add content to DEVONthink, i.e. Notes, Web clipping, Video or voice notes, screenshots or dragging/dropping files.
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Thank you for the quick answer and the helpful clarifications.

To navigate to the search results from the search field press the tab key

I could have sworn I tried tab but apparently I did not (it would be helpful if tab would also select the first result; in it’s current state there is no UI-feedback to suggest that hitting tab actually had an effect)

… and you can drop content into a folder. If you had a previous search active those results will still be displayed

ah, ok. So the steps are: search the target group first; dismiss the sorter; drag a file on the sorter again. Again, please don’t read this as criticism or nitpicking but rather as a little “loud thinking” from a user’s perspective: For me, having to open the Sorter twice is not intuitive. Ideally, the Sorter would have a “temporary drop space” where one could “park” the file while searching a target group. So, the sequence would be: drop, type-for-target, confirm/cancel.
I would not even consider this a feature wish, just loud thinking. As DT offers a plethora of ways to add content, there is no need to fix something, that seems not to be broken for the majority of users. I’ll simply skip on this method to add files (and just files – it still is fine for note taking and web clipping).
In case, anyone is interested: Using the Global Inbox in the Finder is my preferred way for adding files. This is especially fast if you use a launcher as Launchbar. This makes it possible to add a selected file to DT with a sequence as simple as <double hitting CMD> <hold “2” for a fraction of a second> (the first one selects the file in Launchbar, the second one is my shortcut for DT’s Global Inbox). I find three keystrokes pretty fast :slight_smile: All my sorting is done from DT’s Global Inbox using the nice “Move to” functionality.

The function of the Sorter is not as a quick open utility

Ok, thanks for pointing that out. I guess the shortcut option in the preferences tempted me to see it more as a search-and-go-there feature than it is supposed to be. On the other hand, I see no reason why it can’t be both – opening a searched group with <return> would be a nice addition. In it’s current state, hitting return just gives me the system beep for “nothing here” while my expected outcome would have been to open the selected group in DT.
Currently my solution for quick system wide access is also referring to Launchbar and Keyboard Maestro. I have a macro for adding a bookmark for a selection in DT. This gets added to a bookmark file that I can access with Launchbar.

Thanks for your time and patience (I know it can be hard to have such a versatile tool like DT and so many users each one bringing in his and her own purposes and expectations).
Regards, Roland