Wish list: ability to float windows

It’s possible and extremely useful with Bear and Scrivener.
It used to be possible with any app using a 3rd party app called Afloat which no longer works in the latest versions of Mac OS.
thank you

Thank you for the suggestion! What kind of window do you actually want to float in what kind of scenario? Usually DEVONthink windows are rather large.

But luckily all these former Unsanity extensions like Afloat are now history as they caused a huge amount of issues (crashes, database corruptions and other glitches) and support due to their bugs.


I did not know that.

Floating windows float over other apps, browsers, etc and allow the user to take notes, drag and drop text and images, etc

In a way, you already have this with Sorter → Take Note, but the window is too small to work in (don’t have bird’s eye view of body and can’t drag the window anywhere on the screen), and some basic functions like lists, format (font, etc), etc seem to be absent if I understand correctly.

thank you Christian

So in the end you would just need a more powerful Sorter?


That sounds like, a floating sorter.
Actually I never ever think I can use the sorter for creating new text notes I always end up using Drafts as the way I keep Devonthink window with all its bells and whistles is too distracting.

Which one exactly? All the controls of the Sorter’s Take Note tab except Name, Body and Location?

the main window, not the sorter, and the bells and whistles (4 panes) are there because I’ve put them there

yes, exactly

I don’t like Drafts - too tedious for images.

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While it doesn’t add any more functions, if the Sorter is disabled and you press your Take Note hotkey (specified in Preferences > Sorter), it will open in a floating window. :slight_smile:


Thank you for your suggestion.
There are 2 problems

  • I don’t want to disable the sorter
  • even if I did (I tried it) the Notes window is too small

You’re welcome and Development would have to assess modifying the behavior and features.

Yes a more powerful Sorter, but I think that there is much more to my suggestion which is to add a whole new dimension to DevonThink to DevonThink, namely a sophisticated note taking app. As sophisticated as everything else in DevonThink. Perhaps also useful for marketing.
thank you

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@rufus123, I’m currently looking into a tiling window manager and came across Yabai. Found this in the docs:

The following features of yabai require System Integrity Protection to be (partially) disabled:

  • focus/create/destroy space without animation
  • move existing space left, right, or to another display
  • remove window shadows
  • enable window transparency
  • enable window animations
  • control window layers (make windows appear topmost or on the desktop)
  • sticky windows (make windows appear on all spaces on the display that contains the window)
  • toggle picture-in-picture for any given window

Disabling System Integrity Protection · koekeishiya/yabai Wiki · GitHub

So it’s still possible to make any window float - if one is willing to disable SIP.

Yabai seems to be very powerful but also needs quite some setup, so I didn’t test it (currently testing Amethyst), but if you really want floating windows it might be just what you’re looking for.

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thank you very much for taking the time to write a detailed and most intelligent explanation. Disabling SIP makes me a bit nervous. I will have a look thank you

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I saw this by accident. If you want to float (almost) any window of (almost) any app, you should try BTT. It works just fine with DT, too, without disabling SIP, which I wouldn’t recommend to anyone.

Floating windows have so many advantages that I don’t understand why they are not standard in any app. I can’t live without them anymore. :sunglasses:

Floating windows can also get in the way of what’s under them, forcing you to keep moving them around. (Think about small screens, e.g., on a MacBook Air.)

I’d be more favorable if floating windows could be hidden and shown on demand, as needed.

That’s exactly what BTT offers with a shortcut of your choice or the mouse or trackpad or …

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Sounds interesting.
Which BTT action would that be ? Have been using BTT for years, and I’m embarrassed to say that I never heard of it.
thank you

@rufus123 There’s no need to be embarrassed :grinning: This feature (predefined action) is quite new.

Actually, only the coder of his own app can set up floating windows. So BTT has to use a trick to do that with “foreign” windows. It underlays the window to float with another one… or something like that. Anyway, it’s not perfect, but it works pretty well. I use this for a floating calculator, for example. Or for note windows to float above the browser when I’m doing research. To pin/unpin a window any trigger can be used, a shortcut, a trackpad gesture, a mouse click… Pinned windows can be recognized by the blue corners.


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