Suggestion for file name shortening

When there is not enough space to display the full file name in a column, DEVONthink shortens the file name in the middle.

so for example:
Very important file name of fifty or so characters.jpg

Very impor…acters.jpg

instead of:
Very important file na…

I think that the second method (cutting off the end letters) is generally much more readable, and I’d like to suggest that this method could be offered as an optional preference.

This would be especially helpful in thumbnail previews where the file name is at present constrained to as little as 15 characters at smaller thumbnail magnifications.

DEVONthink’s thumbnail are a major improvement on the Finder thumbnail icons, and I think this view could be made even more effective by also adding a second line for the file name and a light grey background to the view panel.

Keep up the good work!

Brian Liddell

Thanks for the feedback! Right now DEVONthink is truncating too long filenames just like the Finder does, assuming that that’s the usually desired behaviour.


Thanks for your response!

It seems to me that DT has already built a highly successful business out of improving on Apple’s standard Finder functions! All round better searching, tagging, large graphic thumbnails, etc, etc.

I wholeheartedly agree with you that the first question always to ask is “does the Apple method need improving?”, but in this case I really think that the answer must be yes.

Shortening file names from the middle demonstrably reduces their readability and meaning. Its only merit is that it preserves the file type suffix. But a preference option in DT could still offer this for those people who need it.

DT’s graphic thumbnails are already a terrific improvement on the Finder’s default icon thumbnails. For this of us who work in a visual field DT is perfect to collect and compare screenshots and webarchives of web pages etc.

The display of these thumbnails in DT is already much better than the Finder…

  • the thumbnails are clear and detailed (unobstructed by the Finder’s huge ‘WEB’ and ‘page-turn’ symbols)
  • the scale can be instantly zoomed in and out (In OSX Lion, Apple inexplicably removed their zoom slider and hid it several clicks away in a separate control panel)

But DT is currently less effective than the Finder’s thumbnail display in these two areas…

  • DT’s thumbnail views only displays a single line file name, compared to the Finder’s two lines
  • DT’s thumbnail view doesn’t offer an option for a background colour. The Finder offers this option in a control panel, and most people find that a light grey background makes a big improvement when viewing graphic thumbnails (just like in iPhoto)

I hope DT will seriously consider these three suggestions for usability improvements…

  1. Option of file name shortening from the end instead of the middle
  2. Two lines for file names in thumbnail view
  3. Option of a colour background in thumbnail view

Best wishes

Brian Liddell