Feature #10435

Custom order in modules (Favorites)

Added by carlos martin about 5 years ago. Updated over 1 year ago.

Closed: won't fix
Target version:
Start date:
Due date:
% Done:


Estimated time:
Affected Version:
git stable branch
hardware architecture:


I propose that the user can arrange to your liking modules that are favorites modules.

It is interesting, because the user can order the modules according to their workflow. (first correction lens, second exposure, third highlights ...)

A greeting and thanks!

Related issues

Related to darktable - Bug #10384: alphabetical order of modulesClosed: invalid03/25/2015

Related to darktable - Feature #10768: Alight module titles to the left and order them alphabeticallyDuplicate12/10/2015

Has duplicate darktable - Feature #12036: Re-order Modules in GUIDuplicate02/26/2018


#1 Updated by Roman Lebedev about 5 years ago

  • Related to Bug #10384: alphabetical order of modules added

#2 Updated by Roman Lebedev about 5 years ago

  • Status changed from New to Closed: won't fix

Please see the usermanual. The order of the modules reflects the sequence in which they are applied. This will not be changed.

#3 Updated by carlos martin about 5 years ago

the order reflects the sequence darktable will process modules?
is no more interesting our work order?

Thanks and regards

#4 Updated by Roman Lebedev over 4 years ago

  • Related to Feature #10768: Alight module titles to the left and order them alphabetically added

#5 Updated by Someone Anyone over 3 years ago

I would ask this to be reconsidered. While I understand the technical elegance of having the modules ordered as they are processed in the code, it has no to little relevance for the workflow - and let's be honest, the workflow is ALL the reason why one would use this program to begin with, otherwise there are other "dedicated" programs for all parts that are better at what any module does, but the reason we use darktable or lightroom is to get a great efficient workflow. At least as an option/configuration, even if not default, and especially in the favorites this should be allowed.

I'd say this is especially relevant being on Linux (mostly) where customization and "have it your way" is the spirit, instead of the fixed ways to do things in windows/LR. For me this part (LR replacement) was one of the last things preventing me from ditching windows altogether, and even though perhaps this particular one itself isn't a dealbreaker, if this is the mindset from developers it makes me less hopeful that darktable can be a true LR replacement in the long run - but it has all the potential to be much better! You are better than this!

(Is there perhaps a "product owner" or UX role that could address parts of "requirement management" instead together with devs for technical input? People are good at different things and have different interests, that's why greedy companies still spend money to have other people than only developers hired - it makes sense and is worthwhile - let them handle us pesky users and let devs focus on development =) )

Thanks, and sorry if being borderline rude (but being freeware or on linux is no excuse for not caring about usability).

#6 Updated by Roman Lebedev over 3 years ago

Based on a few cases in IRC, i'm curious
You do understand that you can edit the image, change iop parameters in any order whatsoever, and it will not affect the end result?
E.g. if you first edit tonecurve, then crop, and then edit tonecurve again, it will not result in the tonecurve being applied twice? (assuming there is only one tonecurve instance).

#7 Updated by Someone Anyone over 3 years ago


yes I understand that no matter in what order I use the modules, the result and process order will be the same - that is entirely ok - that is my point, you can keep the order in which they are applied (I understand there are technical very thought through reasons in the ordering in which they are processed, I have read a bit about the reasoning, and have some signal processing background a few years back and also work with software and it makes sense), but you could then also let the user decide in which order they should be used (or in this case presented is probably a better word, since they can be used in any order today as well, but a bit awkward skipping up and down in a list to get the users desired workflow order).

I work with medical (radiology) software, and our main users are doctors examining images from different modalities (normal xrays and ultrasound but also computed tomography, magnetic resonance and others), and since they generally get a substantial salary and in most parts of the world there aren't enough of them to hire, workflow and efficiency is very important to them and the hospitals, and thereby us. In some cases, for example mammography, one case takes less than a minute, and they do hundreds a day. Click-look-here-click-look-there-click-scan-that-and we're done. So when comparing us to other vendors, for example in such a few-clicks-workflow, adding one single click in the wrong place can contribute to more than 10% less efficiency. The doctors themselves don't say it like that, they just feel the other software is "harder to work with" and don't like it subconsciously because of it, but when looking at the aggregated production over time statistically it shows.

I think that photographers rarely have the "mother organization" measuring efficiency in the same way, so for a photog it will just be the feeling "nah, that application didn't feel right" and not the counted clicks. Of course in some cases postprocessing an image can take much more time than reading an exam so a few clicks doesn't matter, but many of us have a lots of images, where a few get that special treatment, but most we just want to click-click-click and done.

For me, if having a few hundred images from a shoot, I want to eliminate non-keepers first, and then for 98% of the rest i just want to rotate-crop-exposure-contrast/highs/lows-noise-fringing-done (with a couple of them perhaps interchangeable in order, but not any order, for other reasons than the technical reasons used for in what order they are applied). So to be able to do that, if I could choose freely, I'd like to pick suitable modules as favorites, order them as desired, have them all expanded at the same time to not have to click to open each module (almost doubles the work required!), and perhaps also (but I realize it's another thing altogether) have the click-target-areas larger so "hitting" the right controls is easier without spending time "aiming" (I know, we're talking milliseconds here but also having a gaming background apm-think sets in...). If possible even eliminate dividers to save space to avoid potential scrolling in the module list while also avoiding clicks to expand modules. (I know these are different things, and don't intend to add them to this issue, but I'm trying to paint a "goal" picture how I'd like the workflow to include the whole picture from my viewpoint)

So that's why to me it seems very strange to even consider the idea that the technical order in which they are applied would be the best order to present to modules in, but as a coder I realize it's probably results in more maintainable code, cleaner and structured without an intermediate layer for presentation ordering, but in the end, programs like these are all about the workflow and not the code, so I hope the workflow-argument weighs heavier than "won't fix" for this.

Thank you!

#8 Updated by Steve Crossley almost 3 years ago


I'm going to try to re-animate this corpse, sorry if that's annoying. I agree that being able to re-arrange the favorites would be great help in terms of usability. I actually came across this request by searching for how to do this, thinking that I was missing something.

I was speaking to another photographer recently and he asked about my processing, I brought up Darktable and to my surprise he had used it. His comments boiled down to - It's got more functionality and is more capable than Lr but I don't use it as it takes me longer to do everything and way longer to teach people to use it than with Lr. No doubt some of this is familiarity, but he kept mentioning workflow. I realised that I bounce around between modules, but for most images I use the same ones in the same order. People find it easier to work down a list than search up and down between each stage. Being able to re-order favorites would enable the construction of a list.

I have no idea how difficult this would be to achieve in the code and I respect that you have to prioritize your limited time, but I think that this small UI change could make a big difference to the "feel" of Darktable.

I hope that comes across as an explanation rather than a complaint. Darktable is a really excellent piece of software which has kept me from having to buy a Mac or resort to Windows so I am very grateful.


#9 Updated by Roman Lebedev over 2 years ago

#10 Updated by Kevin Ertel over 2 years ago

Bringing my voice in here as well. As others have mentioned, I see no reason that the modules must be presented to the user in the same order that they are processed in the pixel pipe. Granted, there may be code architecture reasons driving this that I/we are not aware of, I'll grant that and understand this could be a potentailly major change behind the scenes, I just am unsure. To be clear, as with the above comments, I am not arguing that the pixel-pipe should change. However, I stand with "Someone Anyone over", and "Steve Crossley" here. I believe the vast majority of user have a few main edits they make to images, which tend to be done in a fairly repeatable order. This order is more likely than not very different from the pixel pipe (for example, I often adjust exposure pretty much first thing when editing a photo, so I'd like that at the top of my favorites, but instead it's near the bottom, whereas sharpen is one of the things I like to do last, and it's at the top).

One of the things I love about darktable is the control it gives me over my images, however, that unavoidably add complexity and creates a higher-than-average learning curve. Having to hunt around for your commonly used modules (even when you've added them to favorites) doesn't help out with this learning curve. I do think that allowing the user to customized the workflow more to suit their own needs would be a great help in getting users adopting and up-and-running with dt quicker.

As an added thought, it would be tremendously neat if you could create a "workspace" that could be shared, much as a style can be. A workspace would essentially contain a list of favorites and their user-defined order. This would then allow new users to load a workspace that mimics a program they're coming from (or that a friend/colleague recommends), therefore smoothing the transition in to dt. Perhaps there cold be pre-defined "Basic" "Advanced" and "Expert" workspaces bundled with dt by default. This is just a cool thought though, I'd be ecstatic just to see user-defined order of favorites implemented.

Hope this issue can be reconsidered with open-minds. If the back-end changes to make this happen are just to extensive, then ok, but so far I have not seen that communicated so I'm still unclear what the reasoning is for blocking this issue/feature.

Let it be known that I love darktable and am very grateful for the time all the developers put in! I recently adopted it from Adobe LR and am already recommending it to all my friends and colleagues. I really think it's a great editor, superior to all paid offerings I've used in the past. Workflow is my biggest struggle in dt and the learning curve is the biggest roadblock for everyone I've talked with to making the switch, which is why I'm passionate about this and hope to see it revisited for further consideration.


#11 Updated by Jack Tummers about 2 years ago

carlos martin wrote:

I propose that the user can arrange to your liking modules that are favorites modules.

It is interesting, because the user can order the modules according to their workflow. (first correction lens, second exposure, third highlights ...)

A greeting and thanks!

I second this! One of my biggest problems with DT is simplicity and the order in how to get things done quickly. One of the things then is, how do I start editing an image? Logically the order would be (or at least my order): rotation and crop, exposure, contrast, saturation, blacks and highlights. These are the starting points. but the order of these modules in DT is random. It should be possible to rearrange at least the favorites panel in the order one is used to edit images. It's easier and faster.

#12 Updated by David Gasaway over 1 year ago

It really feels strange to me that developers make the statement that users should not concern themselves with the processing order, but then force the user interface into the same order. Seems contradictory.

#13 Updated by Chris Elston over 1 year ago

My ten penneth... I find the ordering of the modules (in pixelpipe order) is extremely useful when I have multiple modules enabled and where one or more have introduced artifacts into the image, especially when I have multiple instances of a single module. Order is important here to work out how those artifacts have been introduced or magnified by subsequent modules (since the output from each module is passed to the input of the next). So for example one might introduce halos with the shadows and highlights module that are then magnified with a tone curve. Knowing which module introduced the artifacts and which is simply magnifying their impact on the image informs me how best to fix the problem.

Having said that, I do often like to apply modules in an order different from the pixelpipe order so I can certainly see the attraction. I also find myself doing a lot of clicking around, since the favourites list is not really sufficient to hold everything I might want to use without scrolling. (N.B. Discovering that I could store a preset against the module layout has helped my workflow significantly so I now have a different set of favourite modules for editing my holiday snapshots than I do for my full 'presentation' workflow - similarly useful if you do multiple pass edits like Harry Durgin)

I would suggest that a good compromise might be to have a toggle against the favourites list, between user-defined and pixelpipe order. Where multiple instances of a single module are present, these should be forced into pixelpipe order. Perhaps a number shown against each module (representing its relative position in the pixelpipe) might allow us to get the best of both worlds. If this number only appeared when the modules were in a user-defined order it would make a nice visual indicator that you're in the user-defined-order mode, rather than pixelpipe order.

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