Tuesday Tip: A simple move

We had a support ticket with a person who had a simple request: “I have a selection in a Smart Group. How do I move it to a database?” I responded but as I did, I realized (yet again) how much flexibility we have built into DEVONthink. Here are a few ways to accomplish this:

  1. Open the receiving group in a new window by double-clicking on it and arranging the windows. Note: In Preferences > General you’ll need to check Always open groups in a new window.
  2. Use Tools > Show Groups & Tags and drag and drop to it
  3. If this is a common location, you could add it to the Sorter (see Tools > Show Sorter) and drag and drop to it.
  4. If Preferences > Import > Destination is set to Select Group, you could drag and drop to the dock icon and select the receiving Group.
  5. Right-click a selection and choose Move or Duplicate to… and choose the destination. Note: You could use Replicate to IF the chosen files were in the same database. You cannot replicate across databases.

9 Responses to “Tuesday Tip: A simple move”

  1. All of these are very mouse and click intensive. I’d love a method of moving docs that is more like what apps like LaunchBar, Alfred, Quicksilver offer, where all the navigation and moving can happen via the keyboard.

    Also, having a way of having frequent/favorite (not just recent) destinations show up in the right-click menu would be great.

    — Kai.

  2. Jim Neumann says:

    Noted. Thanks for the suggestions.

  3. @ Kai von Fintel: Actually, all menus on macOS can be navigated using the keyboard. And menu access via the keyboard can be activated in System Preferences. I regularly move items using only the keyboard.

  4. @Eric Böhnisch-Volkmann:

    Hmm, I have a document selected. I can’t figure out any way to start a move without using the mouse/trackpad (minimally a right click).

    Plus, then, there’s no way to use the magic of something like LaunchBar (or similar technologies) where a destination can be quickly found by just typing a few letters.

  5. Joshua Sargent says:

    I second Kai’s suggestion. As much as I love DEVONthink, the addition of strong keyboard commands/shortcuts/navigation would SIGNIFICANTLY improve the app’s usability and efficiency for power users.

    Every day I ingest dozens of documents into the global inbox. Maybe one or twice a week I go in to clean out the global inbox and move documents to the appropriate database. Currently I have about 25 databases. Then I go to each database inbox and move documents to the proper group (in cases where I don’t rely on the AI to do it for me). It would be SO much faster and more efficient if I could use the keyboard instead of all of that clicking and dragging. I’ve even tried to create my own workflow using Keyboard Maestro, but even when you have a document selected, there is no “Move” menu item available other than “Move to Trash.”

    There is an AppleScript available called “Move with keyboard” which is close to, but not quite, the desired functionality. Kai – if you haven’t seen that, I suggest you check it out…it might be exactly what you want. DEVONthink > scripts menu > More Scripts. Then look for the “Move with Keyboard” script.

    For me it isn’t really useable because I frequently have similarly-named groups in different databases, so the fuzzy matching of the AppleScript just doesn’t work out. I need something that is more context-aware. If I have selected a document in the Global Inbox, it should prioritize the names of other databases when I start typing, and default to their inboxes. When I have selected a document in the inbox of a particular database, the fuzzy search should only match (or at least default to) groups that are in that same database. I cannot overstate how much time this would save me…

  6. Jim Neumann says:

    “the fuzzy search should only match (or at least default to) groups that are in that same database.” :: You are describing something either (1) very difficult to implement, or (2) impossible in an Applescript.

  7. Joshua Sargent says:

    I figured out how to do that piece in Applescript after doing a little more digging last night. (Step 2 of my filing workflow.)

    The “Move with Keyboard” script has the following line:

    set theDestination to (display group selector “Select a Destination”)

    I changed it to:

    set theDestination to (display group selector “Select a Destination” for theDatabase)

    This limits the matching to only the groups in the same database as the selection…which is almost exactly the desired behavior for Step 2. If I can figure out a good way of integrating some sort of conditional statement to change the behavior based on the location of the selection, I think I’ll be in business…

    One nagging problem is that the search won’t match groups unless you first expose them by expanding all of the expandable groups in the entire hierarchy. Luckily, after you do this one, it seems to retain that state.

    Honestly though, I didn’t intend to make this a thread about solving one of my particular problems…I just wanted to give an example of the kind of thing that could be solved with more comprehensive keyboard control/navigation being exposed natively in the app. Apps with a strong focus on this are a delight to use if used heavily. And DEVONthink Pro is an app that is just MADE to be used heavily!

    As an example, I’ll just reference the “Move Message” functionality of MailMate.app. I simply select one or more items, hit Cmd-Opt-T then type a few characters and hit return. It’s so efficient! Once you try it, you can never go back to moving and clicking the mouse all around. I moved to MailMate just for this feature. Previously I added similar functionality to Mail.app by using MsgFiler or MailHub or a number of other plugins. (MsgFiler was the best.) Microsoft Outlook has similar functionality. Having that feature, operating in the exact same way, in DEVONthink…would be a game-changer.

    Anyway…long story short: In an app where I am constantly filing/organizing items, I place an extremely high value on making that task as efficient and as smooth as possible.

  8. Jim Neumann says:

    I’m glad your finding solutions to your issues. That’s the beauty of the macOS – that flexibility to control the machine in a powerful way, without needing a Computer Science degree.
    PS: I am a VERY heavy User of DEVONthink (and have well over 15,000 working hours in it). I know tons of hotkeys in MANY different apps, but I PERSONALLY (read, MY opinion) am not such a big fan of keyboard focused control. Too many hotkeys already (and too many that can conflict accidentally)!

  9. Joshua Sargent says:

    Totally agree with you, Jim. That’s why I use Keyboard Maestro to “over-rule” the assigned hotkeys of any app I use heavily. So in ANY app where I want to trigger a “Move” command, the trigger is ALWAYS Shift-Cmd-M for me, regardless of which app I’m in. It’s a little extra work, but you only have to do it once for each app, and it brings so much sanity back to the world! 😉 Unfortunately, DEVONthink is really the only app where I cannot implement this without relying an Applescript.

    In a perfect world, all apps would give the user total control over hotkey assignment, like BBEdit does. (“BBEdit > Preferences > Menus & Shortcuts”) Hey…a guy can dream, can’t he?!

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