How to hide utility panel at program startup?

Is there an option/preference to hide (minimize) the utility panel at program startup? I could not find such in help. Thanks.

It shouldn't be there as a default. You must have saved it with the layout that is loaded after startup, or desktop double click. If you close the panel, and resave the layout (in -> preferences -> Opus start) that you're using, it should be fixed.

Thank you for the reply, but it does not seem to be correct. For one thing, if I close the utility panel, I don't know how to get it back. An option to restore it is not apparent.

If I hide the utility panel, and save the layout, that aspect of the layout is not remembered in restarting the application. The program starts showing the utility panel at startup.

You can open the utility panel via the Tools menu on the default toolbars. e.g. Tools -> Find Panel will open it and make it show the Find Panel.

What happens at startup depends on your settings under Preferences / Starting Opus. You may have Opus configured to remember the previous windows when it restarts, or to update the Default Lister whenever a window is closed, for example. You may also have configured Opus to open a specific layout rather than the Default Lister. Normally, you just have to use Settings > Set As Default Lister to tell Opus that you want a particular setup to be the default.

If that doesn't work, have a look through Preferences / Starting Opus and the reason might be there. If you get stuck, please post screenshots of all the Preferences pages in the Starting Opus group, and we can tell you what to do from there.

Thanks again.

Part of what you wrote does not make sense to me.

"you just have to use Settings > Set As Default Lister to tell Opus that you want a particular setup to be the default." I don't just want a "particular setup," I want particular tabs (from the last session) to open up. If that is what "Set As Default Lister" then that is not at all apparent, nor do I think that is what it does, as "Open the listers that were open" is what I've been using, and what works for what I intend, EXCEPT not having the utility panel always show at startup, which is logically unrelated to the utility panel problem (though it may be illogically related in the DOpus).

The simple answer appears to be to show/hide the utility panel, either through the Tools menus, or by adding a button/command to do so on the toolbar.

Sounds to me like you are ignoring a deficiency in the program, in that the utility panel should display as it was left in the previous session (correct user interface design), or that there should be a specific option in preferences related to minimize/maximize of the utility panel on startup (which would be wrong from a user interface design standpoint). But thanks for the help.

Is there much to be gained from having to click the "expand" button to reveal the panel (assuming it starts collapsed) compared with having to click an "open utility panel" button in the toolbar? Both approaches requires you to click a button.

(I'm not saying it's a bad idea that it should remember the collapsed state, it's just not something I remember anybody ever asking for before).

I wasn't ignoring anything. I wasn't sure exactly what you wanted until now.

Minimising the utility panel (to a bar, without fully closing/hiding it) is not something Opus currently saves as part of the window state. It saves whether the panel is open or closed, and how big the panel is (when not minimized), but not whether it has been minimized.

Having the panel minimized has always been seen as a temporary thing, not something you'd want all the time or by default. There's nothing wrong with wanting that, but it wasn't something we envisaged until now. When the utility panel isn't needed, it's normal to close it entirely, which gives you more space. The panel can be opened or toggled instantly via menu, toolbar buttons or hotkeys which take up much less room. That's how we saw it being used, but if you want to keep it minimized all the time then that's fair enough.

So, the real answer for why the minimized state of the panel isn't remembered is just that we didn't think of it being wanted, and nobody had asked before now. We'll add it to our list, as there's no reason for Opus not to remember it.

Apple and Microsoft came out with user interface guideline books in the mid-1980s (Microsoft mostly copying Apple, as usual). They should be required reading for any application developer, but it is par for the course that most people in any area of specialization are not aware of the basics. This utility panel issue is a small example.

Being mindful of the number of clicks involved to perform a task is a critical aspect of GUI design. Good for you for mentioning that.

Here are applicable lessons in this episode.

  1. All GUI states should be remembered from one session to the next, or not at all. Lack of remembrance is not good, but it is at least consistent, and consistency is the number one rule of GUI design.

  2. Do not create unnecessary states. In this case, the minimize button the utility panel can be considered an unnecessary state, especially because that state is not remembered between sessions. Eliminate the minimize button, have close only, and you have the same functionality (via the "Find Files" button for example) in the same number of clicks. That said, the (utility panel) minimize feature is useful and convenient, and local to its immediate functionality (another good point of GUI design). That's why I use it – because it presents a feature close by to where the action is (at the bottom of the screen). Given that, the best option would be to have the state of the utility panel remembered. It is what a user (e.g. me) would expect.

  3. Having multiple ways to access the same feature is a good thing, but only if it does not introduce clutter in the interface. The reasoning behind that should be self-evident, but it is a rule that designers sometimes don't seem to be aware of, and so clutter is created, which is the single largest problem in feature-rich applications. DOpus has a serious problem in this area (that they don't seem to be aware of). It has so much junk to be downright intimidating. I hope you can appreciate that I am not stupid, nor ignorant of software design, and so my observation is more valid than would be given to someone that can be dismissed by assuming "stupid user syndrome". I generally shy from changing things in the DOpus application because I fear unpredictable results that I cannot easily recover from (without resorting to a restore of settings). The fear comes not from personal inclination, but from repeated experience.

Microsoft haven't used their own user interface guidelines for about 10 years :slight_smile:

Yep, but that is more a statement of Microsoft discombobulation than an indictment of their guidelines.