Tips for using sidebar & panel views efficiently

Would really appreciate any advice on making the functional division between sidebar & panel views useful for me. Currently, it’s confusing me and hampering my workflow. On the sidebar view, I can’t see and sort files, but on the panel view, I can’t access tags, faves, other databases etc., so I end up keeping both views open permanently, which is redundant & eats up half my workspace. It feels like I’m missing something.

Could someone please explain the reasoning behind making the sidebar and panel separate views in DT, instead of combining their functionalities in one view?

I’m new here and searched the forums for this topic, hopefully didn’t miss a thread that already explains this.

The sidebar merely shows you the hierarchy of groups in your database and lets you navigate them. If by panel you mean the inspector on the right side of the window, that gives you access to all kinds of different things for your files. IMO, if you tried to include all the functionality of these two areas into one, you’d end up with an absolute mess that’s impossible to work with. (If I am understanding your question.)

Learn the keyboard shortcuts to expand and collapse these areas, as well as the ones to jump from one to the other. I am constantly expanding/collapsing them based on my needs, and it is trivial to do so. Hope that helps.

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Related: is there a way to keep the sidebar hierarchy UNCHANGING regarding expanded and collapsed groups? I like to have it open a certain way, and DT3 expands and collapses with no intervention from me, which is very annoying and counterproductive to my workflow. I haven’t found a setting or answer so far to what may be simple oversight on my part. I’ll post this as a general question too.

Did you disable the option to expand/collapse groups in the sidebar automatically, see Preferences > General > Interface?

Yes. There is no check mark in that preference.