UI Problem: Top-Level Folder

I just upgraded to 2.x and I noticed that a UI problem from 1.x has carried over to 2.x. In my groups (folder) list for a database, I have all the folders I’ve created, the inbox, and smart folders, and if I click on any of these, I see the documents inside. Simple enough.

The problem is that there is still a “hidden” top-level folder that you only see if you click off all the folders in your list. I wish there was some indicator that the top-level folder (the home folder, so to speak) was there. Shouldn’t the groups pane have a top folder icon that all the others are under (sort of like the My Computer level in Windows)? I know I can just avoid putting anything at the top level, and that’s what I’ll do, but it still seems like the UI should deal with this top level in some way.


Click on the little ‘Home’ icon (Top Level) button in the Toolbar, or Command-click on any selected group to revert to Top Level.

Note that DEVONthink allows me to open any group in its own view window. So I can open a group that’s nested several levels down, and that view window now doesn’t display information about where I am in the organization. The title of that view will display the database name and the name of the group I’ve opened.

Here’s where the Navigation set (Sidebar, Top Group, Enclosing Group) can come in handy.

Suppose I’ve been working in Three Panes view with a three-levels down group that’s open in its own view. Now I want to return to the enclosing group of that group. I click on the Enclosing Group icon.

What happens is quite logical. The title of the view displays the database name and the name of the enclosing group. I can see the group I had been working on, as well as other groups within the enclosing group.

If I click on Enclosing Group once more, I see a view of the group that encloses the group that enclosed the group on which I was working. OK. That makes sense.

At any time I can switch to a Top Group view of the database by clicking the Top Group icon. Or I can click the Sidebar icon and choose another open database, or a view of a group that I’ve placed in the Favorites list.

About classification: It’s recommended that documents should not be placed at the top level of a group that contains subgroups. So, by definition, “dangling” documents visible from the Top Group view should be classified by placing them into appropriate groups. Likewise, the ‘Incoming’ group should be regarded as a temporary holding place for new content, and not a group in your organizational scheme.

If those rules are followed, the Classify AI assistant can function better. I’ll confess that sometimes I get sloppy in my organization of databases. Fortunately, by using searches, See Also and smart groups DEVONthink will help me overcome that sloppiness to a considerable degree, and still locate needed information. :slight_smile:

In fact, I often use those tools to help me tackle a backlog of unclassified items and make my database better organized.


Viewing a group in it’s own window brings up a related problem. Here, I probably should have some indicator that lets me know I’m not at the top level of my database. Maybe a bread crumb trail at the top (like in Web navigation; even if optional like the Path Bar in the finder) or the ability to pop out a group(folder) structure to the side or the ability to CMD-click the title bar to go up to the enclosing folder(s) (again like in the Finder). Even the Enclosing Group button gives no indication that there is an enclosing group. The only way I know it that I click it and nothing happens. Maybe if it (and the Top Group button) grayed out at the top level?

These aren’t big deals, but they’re interesting UI problems to think about.


Good comment. Perhaps that Command-click on the title bar would be the easiest to implement. Why don’t you submit that as a feature request?

I make a lot of use of setting up specific group windows, especially when I’ve got a writing project going. But the only “breadcrumb” I’ve got is my memory of where that project group really is, and why I created the view. :slight_smile:

Done. I suggested the idea of a CMD-click in the title bar – simple, hidden if you don’t need it (like in the Finder, well without the path bar showing). The interface has a lot going on as it is. :smiley:

See bread*crumb posts for related suggestions/discussion.

Thanks. I’m kind of surprised that hasn’t already been implemented.

It is: if you view a document (not a group) in that window you’ll get the Finder path to that window. If you select a group nothing happens.

I would vote for dougray’s suggestion to display the DTP hierarchy with cmd-click in the title – not only for groups but for documents as well. (The Finder path to something in the Files.noindex folder is quite meaningless.) And of course the option to navigate up the hierarchy in DTP (like in Finder) would be great.


Followup to my own post:

The Info-bar could fit in here as well: it now shows the full DTP-path for a selected document but not for a selected group. If that could work for groups as well and if each level in the path could be clickable we would have a path-bar functionality without any new screen element.


The next beta will revise this menu and list the internal hierarchy.