RM8 Program Settings vs. Database Settings

Prior to RM8, there was a clear delineation between Program Settings and Database Settings except that the Database Settings were called File Settings. This delineation seemed to cause all manner of questions from users about which settings were which. The user interface prior to RM8 was such that you had to know, for example, if you wanted to change WebHint setting whether that was a Program Setting or a Database Setting before you could even get to the option to change it.

RM8 changed the user interface so that it looks like there are just Settings so that a user doesn’t have to know which kind of Setting something is. The user can just change the desired setting without worrying about whether the setting is for one database or for all databases. That’s mostly a good thing, except that I still want to know if I change a Setting whether the change is going to apply to all databases or just to the current database.

Under the main Settings option, there are up to 7 tabs for different kinds of settings.

  1. Program Settings
  2. Folder Settings
  3. General Settings
  4. Display Settings
  5. Preparer
  6. WebHint Settings
  7. Latter-day Saints Settings

When there are no databases open, you see only Settings tabs #1 and #2. When a database is open, you see all 7 of the Settings tabs. That suggests that Settings tabs #1 and #2 are program wide settings that affect all databases and that Settings tabs #3, #4, #5, #6, and #7 are database settings that only affect the current database.

So far, so good except that Settings tab #4 Display Settings seems a little squirrelly. Suppose I have two databases called A and B open at the same time and suppose that I have the side panel on the left side of the screen in both databases. Suppose that in tab #4 Display Settings for database A, I change the option to move the side panel to the right side of the screen. That seems to work just find for database A, and if I switch to database B the side panel is still on the left hand side of the screen. But if I look in tab #4 Display Settings while in database B, it says the side panel is on the right instead of on the left, even though the side panel actually displays on the left. As I said, something is squirrelly.

Then suppose while still in database B, I change some other option such as the High Contrast Grid Highlight, then it changes that option for database B and also moves the side panel to the right hand side for database B. That is really strange.

So which is it? Is Tab #4 Display Options supposed to apply just to one database or is it supposed to apply to all databases? The only thing I can conclude from the observed behavior is that the answer is “maybe”. If Tab #4 Display Options is supposed to apply to all databases, then the options are not being applied immediately to all the databases that are open. If Tab #4 Display options is supposed to apply just to one database, then the options for one database are bleeding over into the second database.

Finally, if Tab #4 Display Options is supposed to apply to all databases, then it should be Tab #3 and it should be displayed when no databases are open and changes should be applied to all open databases immediately. But if Tab #4 Display Options is supposed to apply just to one database, then it should remain as Tab #4, it should continue not to be displayed unless there is a database open, and the options for one database should not bleed over into another database.

I think I would prefer that Tab #4 Display options become Tab #3 Display options and that it apply to all databases. For example, notice that Tab #3 General Settings already has a Database Color option so Tab #4 Theme Color does not need to be database specific. But I would also be perfectly ok if Tab #4 remained where it is and was just for one database. But it has to be one or the other. It can’t be a little bit of both where an option for one database applies to the other database but not immediately.


Perhaps the #4 settings made in one database would apply to the other after it is closed and reopened. RM8 mac is so non-standard in behaviour that anything is possible and may also be the case on windows.

I think I have it figured out, and Rooty’s suggestion was a good clue.

  • Things you set in Settings => Display Settings do apply to all databases. Therefore, I think that Display Settings should be tab #3 rather than tab #4 and that it should be visible along with tab #1 and tab #2 when no databases are open.
  • If you have multiple databases open at the same time and change something in Settings => Display Settings in one database, the changes are visible immediately the Settings => Display Settings screen in all the other databases that are open. And remember that that you are not limited to just two databases open at the same time. You can have as many as four databases open at the same.
  • Even though the changes are visible immediately in the the Settings => Display Settings screen in all the other databases that are open, the changes do not take effect in any of the other databases until there is a “trigger” (my term for it and there may be a better term). I have found two triggers and there may be more that I haven’t found. The two triggers I have found are as follows.
  1. Close and reopen each of the other databases. This is the Rooty method. The changes take effect in each of the other databases when they are re-opened.
  2. Change something - anything really - in the Settings => Display Settings screen in all the other databases that are open. It doesn’t matter what you change, and you can change it back. immediately. For example, I have changed the Show Avatars option and then changed it back. Do be aware the Settings => Display Settings screen does not have a save icon (the checkmark icon). So to “save” your temporary change and have it go into effect you have to go to another tab and then back to the Settings => Display Settings to undo the temporary change. Then get out of the main Settings tab entirely and all the changes from the Display Settings tab will be in effect in this database. Just remember that if for example you had four databases open, you would have to do all this in each of the other three databases or else just wait until the next time you close and reopen the other databases.

I would hope that eventually this could be cleaned up so that the triggering mechanism across all your open databases would be more automatic. But I understand that a more automatic triggering might be hard to accomplish. More important to me would be that tab #4 Display Settings become tab #3 Display Settings and that it be visible even when no databases are open. Because the Display Settings actually are program options rather than database options, the ability to see them and set them should not depend on any databases being open.

Agreed. Minor correction: RM8 supports a max of 4 open databases: RM4-7 support a max of 9.