About Directory Opus

As a part-time geek, I spend a lot of time handling files—perhaps more time than on any other computer task. I don't buy a whole lot of software for personal use. But there is one program I do buy, and that program is always running: Directory Opus (also known as "DO", "Dopus" or simply Opus). It replaces the default file manager that comes with Windows, the horrible program known as Windows Explorer. Considering how much time I spend looking for files, moving files, renaming files and uploading files, Directory Opus is the ultimate productivity application. In a way, it amazes me that it is not more popular than Photoshop.

Opus is a bit like a mother.
My love for Directory Opus is not the kind of love that gets triggered when an application saves your day once a year and you're suddenly moved to exclaim: "I love this program!" No, it's not like that. I use Opus so much that I forget I love it. In that sense—but only if you're in the mood for a corny metaphor—Opus is a bit like a mother.

This website is not so much intended to convince you of the benefits of Directory Opus (though if you've never tried it, I hope it will do that). What these pages aim to do is to help you get the most out of this marvelous app and to turn you into the Superman (or Superwoman) of file management.

By the way, if you don't yet own Opus, you can try the full version for thirty days: just click the link on the right, then switch from the "Buy" page to the "Download" page. And if you are ready to buy it, the coupon in the right-hand column will save you eleven percent.

I read the 714-page Manual!

For my first four years on Opus, I used it as a dual-pane file manager. I also often took advantage of the "flat view", which lets you pierce through folders with x-ray vision and see all the files in a folder's subfolders. Apart from that, I missed out on lots of great features: I just didn't have the courage to dive into the documentation and the settings menu.

For those who have no time to read the 700-page manual: a guide showing how to achieve a beautifully balanced set-up.
When I upgraded to Directory Opus 10, I decided to invest quite a bit of time into exploring my luxury file manager. For the first time, I dived into the program's 714-page manual, and read it cover to cover. Surprisingly, it was really rich reading. The program had many features that I had never suspected—some useful to me, some less. Reading the manual was a big job, and I thought it would be nice to share what I'd learned to spare others the same effort.

Since then, I've updated the website for every major release of Opus.

I hope this guide will help others who might be on the same track, so that instead of using Opus at ten percent of its potential like I did for so long, they can enjoy a killer set-up soon after they install it. As I discover more Opus "secrets" with the release of each beta-version, I keep updating the guide—and its custom toolbars, which are my pride and joy.

All this being said, I don't consider myself to be an Opus expert. Such experts do exist, and they are a precious and wonderful breed. Which brings me to…

A Word of Gratitude to the Opus Community

I want to acknowledge that assembling the information on these pages would be impossible without the help I receive on the amazingly helpful Opus forum, both from Opus developers and from ordinary users who generously share their insights. A special mention goes to Leo Davidson, who relentlessly answers questions and whose post count on the forum had shot over the 30,000 mark the last time I checked.

I should add that the forum covers a wide range of topics not discussed here. We all have different needs, and I am constantly surprised to learn about the different ways in which some people use Directory Opus.

The Dear Opus Interface to Directory Opus

Directory Opus is designed so that you can customize it to your heart's content. With that in mind, it ships with toolbars that are fairly plain.

directory opus 12 default interface The default interface

If you're like me, on the image above you may not immediately know how to switch to flat view mode or grasp the meaning of the various icons. This encourages you to dig into the program's bottomless pool of rich features to bring the ones you like up to the surface, building your perfectly customized interface as you go.

But what if you don't have time to explore the program's astounding feature set and endlessly tinker with your toolbars? This website offers you a different starting point: the Dear Opus interface.
Full-featured, the Dear Opus interface is an easy starting point .
The basic idea is that all the features that regular users are likely to use are in plain sight, right there on the toolbars. Big suggestive icons tell you exactly what the buttons are supposed to do. From these buttons, logical pull-down menus dig down into related features. And powerful keyboard shortcuts (neatly organized into themes on the shortcuts page) help you put on the turbo.

directory opus optimized interface (Please don't focus on the colors as you will choose your own.)

Here's an analogy. In 1989, abandoning my good friends Lotus 1-2-3 and Multiplan, I converted to the new hot-rod on the block, Excel. When Microsoft rolled out the ribbon interface in 2007, as an old-school power user with complex shortcuts programmed deep into my fingers' muscle memory, I was a bit lost. What I didn't understand then is that with the ribbon interface, a lot of people who had been "average users" saw their Excel skills soar, because many functions they had never used had become accessible within a couple of clicks.

Another thought: on Lynda.com, there are Illustrator training videos by Deke McClelland. The first thing Deke shows you is how to configure your shortcuts and default workspace. That really resonates with me. In my mind, with any piece of software, properly configuring the program is half the secret to becoming a power user.

This site should go a long way to help you build your own "killer interface".
Of course, everyone has different needs. The Dear Opus interface is only one way to work: If you and I live on different planets when it comes to workflow, maybe you'll want to start from scratch. Even if we have similar workflows, you'll probably want to tweak Opus to suit your exact needs.

The copious feedback I've received tells me that for many users, the Dear Opus configuration is a great starting point. I have installed Opus on the machines of friends who are not so agile with computers. They love it, and they get to perform file operations you would not expect from non-geeks.

I hope these pages help you derive as much pleasure out of Directory Opus as I do.



 A Tour of the Dear Opus Interface

21-21 of 21 Threads
January 02, 2012 - 17:37
Subject: Thank you

Very impressive. Thank you very much.
Reply to Morten
January 02, 2012 - 17:57
Subject: Re: Thank you

Hi Morten, you're welcome, and thank you for your encouragements! I haven't announced the page to the forum yet---tweaking a few last details in the menus. Planning to announce it this week. Wishing you a beautiful beginning of the year, -Andy

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