I’m testing DEVINthink Pro. Why is the menu item View -> Sort -> Unsorted greyed out in the three pane view? Or is there another possibility to sort the items in the three pane view in a random order?

Regards, Thomas

Is this a bug or a yet finished feature?
I like the 3-panel-view in the Pro version very much, because it allows a much quicker access to one’s files.
But without the possibility to sort the (main) folders on the left in random order it is unusable.


I think there’s a bigger issue here. I popped into the forums today because I noticed that sort order was not preserved period in three-pane mode. No matter what sort order was specified (and worked fine in other views), the three-pane view always had it sorted by name.

Img 1:

Img 1 is a group sorted by creation date in Vertical Split view. The order of the subgroups in July 2005 M…nes List is correct here. It’s also correct in all the other views.

Img 2:

Img2 is the same group viewed in 3-Pane view. The order has reverted back to Sort by Name. No amount of selecting sort by will change it.

At first I thought maybe the different views would remember different sort orders, but that was quickly proved false by checking the order in other views.

I’m using DevonThink Pro 1.0.2.

Following, with two caveats, are some comments on sort order choices and views in the various views:

Caveat 1: I do not work in the Three Panes view. Personally, I find it a bit constraining in displaying both a long list of documents and a text window of a selected document (one or the other will be ‘chopped’). Instead, I set Preferences > General - Interface: with a check in the option Always Open Group in New Window, and Preferences > Editing to Open new documents in a separate window. I spend most of my time using the Vertical Split view. Normally, I have several group windows open: top level and three or four others, plus one or more document windows. I use Exposé to quickly switch between the open windows. And I’ve set Preferences > General/Startup to Open windows last open on Quit. (Alternatively, I could have used the Workspaces scripts to set up custom window sets for different projects.)

Caveat 2: At the moment, I’m using a beta version subsequent to DT Pro 1.0.2, but I’m pretty sure sorting behavior is the same as in 1.0.2.

Let’s suppose that, in the Vertical Split view, I’ve set View > Sort > Unsorted, then carefully manually ordered a list of documents. Example: the open group contains sections of an article I’m writing. I don’t want the section names ordered alphabetically, by creation or modification date, etc. I want to order them the way I want them ordered. So I drag them around until I’m satisfied. (You outliner types may prefer the Horizontal Split view for such things.)

Now I switch to the Three-Panes view. Oops! The sort order has changed to sort by Name.

Have I lost all that work in manually sorting my documents?

No. When I select View > Vertical Split I see that my work was preserved, after all. The list of documents is just as I had intended. (Same for the Horizontal Split view, of course.) But if I had modified the sort order while in Three Panes view,e.g., to Creation Date, a reversion to the Vertical Split view shows the sort order by Creation Date. But if I then select View > Sort > Unsorted, my custom manual order is back. So these changes in sort order are reversible.

Tip: If you want to do a custom manual sort order, choose View > Sort > Unsorted while in either Vertical or Horizontal Split and drag the items into the desired order. even after changes of sort order, you can revert to your custom order very easily.

Comment: Is there another reason why I like the Vertical Split view? Yes. By default, the left column displays group and document names. But I can add columns on the left. Example: I often find it convenient to add two columns to the right of my Names column: document Type and Word count. To do this, got to View > Columns and check those options. I might want to reduce the size of document window a bit after adding columns, but I’ve still got a nice-sized window for reading and editing.

Finally: I think Christian has already explained the logic behind removing Unsorted from the Three Panes view, but I’ll ask him again.

That would be great, Bill. I have never seen an explanation and, in fact, hoped to see this changed with the latest release. If there is a logic to why the three-paned view can’t be manually sorted or maintain the same sort order as other views, I’d be interested in knowing what that is. I do see some use for this view for some projects.

Many thanks,


I don’t normally work in 3-pane view either. Like you, I tend to prefer the vertical split view. However, whether either of us use 3-pane view or not isn’t the issue here. (-:

Yes, I realize that, which is why I was surprised it wasn’t in the order I expected in 3-pane view.

It’s not just the unsorted thing. The reason I’m surprised (and the bigger issue here) is that there’s no obvious indication that sorting wouldn’t be preserved/honoured in three-pane mode, especially given that it is in all the other views. Furthermore, that the sorting functionality is disabled isn’t apparent either. In fact, you can select stuff, right-click on it, and pick from the sorting options – none of which are honoured. If sorting isn’t going to be preserved or honoured, then you shouldn’t be able to do this at all. If there’s some reason for why you can’t sort in three-pane mode, then perhaps the menu should have all the other options greyed out and only “by name” (or whatever it’s really using – could be “unsorted” for all I know) black and active.

Do you know what I mean?

The sorting of the left pane of 3-pane views is currently static, however this will change in an upcoming release. But the 3-pane view doesn’t modify your ordering - after switching back to any other view, your own “unsorted” order should reappear.

Yes, I’ve noticed that the sorting isn’t changed when I switch back.

That is great news that this will change soon. I definitely can use the 3-paned view for certain projects, but need to be able to maintain manual sorting. Many thanks for letting us know.


I was just coming here to ask this very question (I think).

What I’m getting is that there is no way to arrange to folder list on the left in the order you desire? For instance, I’d like it to be Inbox at the top, followed by next actions, projects, etc. There’s no way to manually set the order of the folders?

Not with the three-paned view. You can manually sort in other views, such as the vertical view. From what was written in this thread, that should change with a future release so that all views can be manually sorted.

  1. Inbox
  2. This Folder
  3. That Folder

“almost” manually …

Good idea. Though with all the folders I already have that are sorted (sans the numbering system) manually in vertical view, for me, I’ll wait until they make it consistent with all views. But I suppose if you are starting out, this could work. It’s kind of cumbersome, though, if you want to change the order and have lots of folders.