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I'm evaluating Directory Opus and have a few questions

I've researched this in the various resources you provide but I can't quite get my arms around this and would appreciate a push in the correct direction.

I'm looking at DO as a more powerful Windows Explorer and as a way to get clutter off desktops.

DO has a lot more than we need. But, I'd rather discover that features are there when we figure out that we want them rather than having to change tools as our non-techies want more convenience and features.

There are two concerns for us:

  1. We need the ability to do certain things directly from the desktop without doing everything from within DO.

  2. An awful lot of the stuff done by DO seems to be command oriented and therefore not sufficiently mouse oriented for non-techie office workers.

Here are the specific things that we want to do at the moment.

  1. Attach notes to files and folders. I haven't seen any easy way to do this with DO. See the link below for a product that does this:

filenotes.com/

  1. Create a virtual container and be able to put files and folders in it without actually moving or copying them. - The purpose of this is to that items to be used on a particular work order can be gathered together without making multiple copies of them. File Notes does this as well. See link above).

  2. Have easy access to commonly used stuff from the desktop. What would be great is to have most recently used files, most recently used folders, and most recently used programs on a toolbar that could be docked on the desktop. It would be even better it you could pin particular items so they would stay there even though not part of the most recently used list. I saw in documentation that DO can be used as a launcher, but I didn't see a good example and the description sounded too limited.

The problem here is that doing everything from within DO just seems too complex for the average non-techie to feel comfortable with.

Is there a way to strip down a DO window to have a very limited feature set for easy access and program execution and then pull up the full DO for the standard type of Windows explorer operations?

You could do this to some extent. For example (albeit its a worthless one) you could configure a simple Opus button to play a ding sound, then (in customize mode) copy and paste it to the desktop. Any time someone clicked that desktop icon the ding would play whether Opus was actively running or not.

dopusrt /cmd play /home\Sounds\Ding.wav

You can use the Opus descript.ion description system to do this if you want. That is further discussed in another recent thread in here.

Sounds like a good use for Opus file collections as that's exactly what they do.

Why not just use the standard Windows Recent command then? I've never tried it, but I imagine you could easily create a lister layout that has the bare minimum (for example just a basic toolbar). However at this point I believe the toolbars are not independent of the listers. So if you had a bare bones layout with a single toolbar, that single toolbar would also be the only toolbar in other listers.

I launch almost all my programs from within Opus (the start menu and desktop are mostly unused in my system). It's easy to create a button to launch a program, just navigate to the folder with the program you want to launch, put Opus into customize mode, and drag the program file to an empty spot on any toolbar.

That is very true as Opus is a very powerful program. However going back to a simple lister layout you could create one that's non-techie user friendly where they only see what you want them to see (hide the tree, the files, etc). In other words you could create a desktop in Opus instead of using the Windows desktop.

To some extent yes. That's what layouts can do for you with one exception. At this time the displayed toolbars can not be set per saved layout, whichever toolbars you have visible in one layout will also be turned on in any other saved layouts. I hope one day they can be independently saved per layout.

Take a couple of minutes to watch the Toolbar Editing tutorial video (it doesn't need any sound):

[Toolbar Editing (video tutorial))

It will give you a rough idea of how creating buttons in Opus works, from simple pre-made buttons to more complex command-based ones.

A couple of things that are not shown in the tutorial are that you can drag any button to the desktop to create something you can double-click on from there, and you can also have floating and/or docked toolbars which are independent of listers. The docked ones stick to the side of the screen much like the Windows Taskbar. These are great for launching applications and Opus commands alike. The big win is the ease with which you can customize things: You can have some buttons, some menus, some hotkeys, or a mixture of them all. Buttons can launch up to three different things depending on which mouse button you click on which helps to save space and group related commands and tools. Hotkeys can be system-wide if you like, in which case they will work even when Opus isn't the active program. That sort of thing...