View names

Here’s a really minor suggestion, regarding the View names.

List, Icons, and Columns view seem to be well-named, and make sense to me.

After a couple of weeks of using DT, though, “Note Pad” and “Outliner” just still don’t “mean” anything to me. I have to keep checking under the menu to see what the name of the view I’m in. (I work exclusively in “Note Pad” view; just my personal preference.)

Does anyone else think that "Horizontal" or "Side-by-side" for "Note Pad" and "Vertical" or "Top-and-bottom" for "Outliner" views makes more sense, or something like that?

As I said, a minimal suggestion, but trying to simplify things.


Why don’t you just use the “view” icons that you can install in the menubar? That makes it very easy to switch views and to know which view you’re in at a glance, without ever needing to know the name of the view. Since this was introduced, I haven’t looked back as fas as views are concerned.


Actually, my suggestion wasn’t because I was having any problems or issues. Thought I’d just point out some of the “little things” which don’t cause any problems with functionality, but which do prevent my computer non-literate colleagues from discovering what a cool program DT is.

Ideally, a computer non-literate / non-comfortable individual could open up DT and recognize enough features of the user interface to start using the very basic functionality immediately. They hopefully would not be scared by a complex interface, not be confused by cryptic commands, etc. With time, hopefully they would realize that there was much more power beneath the service, and be interested in exploring it.

To that end, I could imagine that when brand new databases are created, perhaps they should be pre-populated with, for example: 1) the user manual (as a PDF), 2) a RTF containing some tips, tricks, and usage scenario examples, perhaps with some nice formatting and a couple of links in it, and 3) some web links to DEVONtechnology’s web site and user forum, 4) a little “tutorial” RTF that suggests some simple things to try. That way, the very first time you open DT as a new user, you are greeted with a pre-populated database which would get you on your way.

I would guess that little user interface improvements (which have been happening all along the way) result in more people TRYING devonthink who actually BUY devonthink.



the names of those menu items of DEVONnote have been already renamed to “Vertical” and “Horizontal” but that description doesn’t sound suitable for DEVONthink - maybe there should be an additional description.

Any suggestions for "View > as vertical <insert word here>" and "View > as horizontal <insert word here>"?

A pre-populated DT usage/tutorial/docs database sounds great, Joe.

I’m not crazy about the following suggestions, but maybe it’s a start:

What seems to distinguish the current Outliner and Notepad views is the ease with which you can browse the documents of your database, hence:

  • Browser: horizontal [view / panes]
  • Browser: vertical [view / panes]

Or, you could describe the layout:

  • Side-by-side: horizontal
  • Side-by-side: vertical

Maybe someone else has better descriptions…


Have you asked a computer non-literate / non-comfortable individual? :slight_smile:

Of the five views in DT, the current names of the first four – List, Icon, Column and Note Pad – are simple and intuitively descriptive. I like those names and wouldn’t suggest changing them.

The name of the fifth view, Outline, doesn’t seem as simple and intuitively descriptive to me. My first thought, when I saw this menu option, was that it would be an outliner pane rather like Circus Ponies’ NoteBook or AquaMinds’ NoteTaker. But it’s not, and the name seems confusing to me.

That confusion will be compounded when – as Christian promises – hierarchical outlining writing tools are added to DT in the future. Personally, I would prefer doing outlining in the Note Pad view rather than the Outline view.  :)

What to call the fifth view? Split? Half-Pad? (As you can tell, I don’t think it’s a good UI.)  ;D

What’s wrong with “Vertical split” and “Horizontal split”?


I’ll probably modify the names in alpha 22 accordingly (or should we start a poll? :wink:)

I really didn’t mean to turn this into such a controversy…  :-[  Would you believe that even Rollo’s sensible suggestion would have “issues”?

Does "Vertical split" mean a vertical divider separating 2 side-by-side windows, or does it mean two windows split in the vertical orientation, for a one over the other orientation?

"Side-by-side" vs "Top-and-bottom"? List with preview? Does anyone even use Outliner view?

Naming user interface conventions seems more difficult that you’d think.


ps - this is far too much brainpower to what I think we can all agree is a really minor issue.  :)

I use all the views from time to time depending on what I’m trying to do.

The view I mostly use is "Note Pad", but find this rather restrictive when viewing web pages, when I need more viewing width, so prefer to use outliner view (unless I choose to open the web page in its own browser window).

I also use outliner view when I want to view data in different columns and also want to access the "notepad" area. Once the extra column options are available, I will probably use the view even more frequently …