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aaronjsolomon 01-14-2015 12:25 AM

Using title expressions for chronological sorting

I’m trying to use title expressions to prepend a date/time to my item titles, so that they sort chronologically in the Data Explorer tree.


Currently, items in the tree can be sorted chronologically if their titles can be parsed by Windows as a date or date+time (see

Is there a way to get items to sort in the tree, if the first part of the title is a date or date+time, followed by some descriptive text?

For example, say I keep journal items, and use title expressions to prepend a journal date (attribute type: date+time) to the item title, so that the titles in the tree looks like:
  • 1/13/2015 10:15 PM – Phone call to Dave
  • 1/14/2015 9:00 AM – Made sales calls to new clients
  • 1/14/2015 1:30 PM – Sent TPS report to Mary

Chronologically sorting this list would require UR/Windows to parse the date or date+time from the title while discarding the following text. Predictably, appending the title apparently causes the date parsing to fail, reverting back to a simple string sort. Is there a trick to making this work? Maybe a particular delimiting charater between the date/date+time string and the rest of the title that will silently drop the rest and parse successfully?

QUESTION 2 (Related)

Since I couldn’t get the sorting described above to work, I tried using the “Custom Insert date/time as:” feature to get a date that is string-sortable, per the help file (see chm::/custom_item_titles.htm). This results in item titles like the following:
  • 2015-01-13 22:15 – Phone call to Dave
  • 2015-01-14 09:00 – Made sales calls to new clients
  • 2015-01-14 13:30 – Sent TPS report to Mary

However, I also want to mix appointments in there, and have them all sort together.
  • 2015-01-15 11:00 – Dentist appointment

Since appointments use separate fields for Begin Date and Begin Time, their formatting in title expressions do not follow convention set in the “Custom insert date/time as:” setting, as it only applies to date+time attributes, not date(-only) or time(-only) attributes,

I tried using some SQLite functions in the title expression field, and although I got a few to work that were undocumented in UR help, like length() and lower(), I couldn’t get any date/time functions to work, and so couldn’t format the date attributes or time attributes to mimic the custom formatting of the date+time attribute. Nor could I figure out how to somehow “add” an appointment’s Begin Date and Begin Time together to make a single date+time. (When I tried to add a Begin Date and Begin Time together in a title expression, they evaluated to “11”.)


In short, I’d like to:
  1. Use title expressions to prepend a date/time value to the beginning of item titles, so that they can be chronologically sorted in the tree, as well as in searches that aggregate them together;
  2. The date/time value can be drawn from multiple sources, including an email’s Message Date, a task’s Date Completed, or an appointment’s Begin Date and Begin Time.

Please advise! I’ve been trying to solve this problem for years, and I feel like I’m soooooo close to figuring it out. UR provides so much insane, awesome functionality, but I just can’t get over this hump.


kinook 01-14-2015 12:13 PM

a) Download and install the latest build (UltraRecall.exe in Help | About after installing).
b) Download from and extract EnableDateTruncateDelimiters.reg. Modify the file to include the desired delimiter(s) and double-click the file in Explorer to update the registry.
c) Restart UR.

2. To format an Appointment title with the begin date, time and title, use a Title Expression like

[Begin Date] || ' ' || [Begin Time] || ' – ' || [Item Title]

You can't use the Custom insert date/time option to format these dates/times -- you would need to modify your date/time formatting options in Regional settings in the Windows Control Panel.

aaronjsolomon 01-14-2015 02:05 PM

Holy cow, you are awesome. I'll try this out ASAP. Thank you!!

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