Tinderbox Forum

Can Agent Map View be unlocked from Grid?

I can’t get the notes to display in a free form in the map view of an agent.

Are notes in Agents always locked to a grid. If not then what switch should I be using to turn off the snap to grid?

I have guides turned off.


I think you are looking for $CleanupAction discussed further here.

THe ‘cleanup’ setting can also be altered from the Agent Inspector’s query tab.


I wouldn’t have found that in month of Sundays :joy:

Good. I’m interested in why it was hard to find—in order to make things more discoverable.

I’m guessing you assumed it was an aspect of grids and guides provided for manual layout. Where, if anywhere relating to agents did you look, or what search terms did you have in mind?

My notes on Map grid & guides now cross-references Re-arrangeable Agent Maps and the Arrange sub-menu menu. The note on Agents now has an explicit reference to Re-arrangeable Agent Maps. Hopefully this will help in the future.

But, it would still help to know how you were describing/phrasing your question. Sometimes it boils down just to different terminology for the same thing. In a tool with broad scope like Tinderbox, with users coming from all sorts of different perspectives, unified terminology is hard. Plus, the app is 20 yours old and has seen Mac OSs from System 9 onwards, so the ground underneath it (terminology and ‘obvious’ usage) has also shifted.

HTH :slight_smile:

Background: I’m a long time Mac user with an expectation of jumping into the menus and finding what I need. In spite of that I’ve been using TB long enough that my expectation is that anytime I want to do anything that requires coding or assembling instructions I’ll need to go to tbref to see “How To”.

Context: I’m writing a story that involves drawing on relations between important people in the 1930s and 40s. I thought that TB might be a good way to show the various layers of relationships between certain individuals.

My Approach: I don’t use TB regularly enough to recall that agents snap notes to a grid. I started the project with an expectation that I could make a note for each character and then use attributes to show selected individuals on different agent maps, ie, seduction, politics, spying etc. To meet my needs I want to move notes around on the Agent Map View and annotate the connections.
It took a couple of tries before I realized that the notes were snapping to a grid.

Now I expect to see a menu item that says Snap to Grip. But since I can’t find anything I go back to tbref and try some search terms:

  • Grid
  • Snap

and a few others I don’t recall. There are no results for the above terms when I search tbref using safari. (No criticism implied)

I tried the context menu using the Cleanup item but it doesn’t show me any options for a free form map display.

At this point I’m losing connection with my original intent and decide to post a question thinking that there must be an easy solution that someone knows.

Commentary: The context of my thinking was about grids snapping and not snapping. Or to put it another way I was thinking in terms of the Primary Action that I wanted to accomplish. I don’t know how I would have found my way to $Cleanupaction, partly because, now that I understand the action, it seems to have a secondary or tertiary relationship to what I wanted to accomplish. *Grids are a common feature in Mac programs and so I expected the grid control to be straightforward.

Okay, I don’t know if any of the above is helpful, there’s probably redundancy and I’m not sure I answered your question.

I have to close by thanking you for the outstanding support you provide.

Thanks for that really helpful post. The detail is instructive and useful. :slight_smile:

“Past performance is no guarantee of future results”. It’s a trap we all fall into. My own long experience of Macs pushes me to a different conclusion: conventions change. If my expectation fails, I’ve simply proved I had the wrong expectation—without treating that as a judgment on my choices. I started on Mac OS System 9, moved to OS X which has now morphed to macOS. So much detail has changed but, like the gently boiled frog, we sometimes miss these changes—until, as here, our expectations prove faulty.

Ah, that is a genuine misunderstanding though I see how it can arise. Alias icons in an agent’s map (or objects in agent maps generally) don’t simply ‘snap’ to a grid as in a drawing app like Illustrator. IOW, they aren’t dumped anyhow onto a map, before magically snapping to a grid. The ‘gridded’ layout simply reflects the the pre-calculated $Xpos, $Ypos, $Height and $Width given to each alias note in the agent map. The result is a grid-like-effect but it is not caused by snap to grid. This is where your experience/expectation let you astray. But, no fault is implied here, I’m just explaining the disconnect.

Lest that read as judgmental, let’s look at my false assumptions. Writing aTbRef, my assumption has been that those looking at how map views work and their layout would look at the note about the Map view in which my expectation was they’d see Re-arrangeable Agent Maps, which explains map layouts for agents. This proves how expectations are fickle. Again it’s not right/wrong, just mis-matched assumptions.

Limitations of the technology means that there isn’t an index for static websites, but the aTbRef sitemap when using a find in page (⌘+F)—a feature I’d assumed familiar to longtime Mac users—gives 13 matches for the word ‘grid’ several (but not all) of which lead you to the desired information. The sitemap is the closest aTbRef gets to an index as web crawlers like Google proves to be a bit flaky at indexing sites like aTbRef. why, I know not. I do all the things they ask. I just observe the tech to be under maintained/documented and over-fitted for SEO work as opposed to basic search indexing. Still, the latter is free, so any fixes are generosity without hope of reward.

There no zero-sum right/wrong here. But the broader the tool the more we need to accept that we can’t assume to know how everything works and expect to look things up. In the latter step, I think I’ve already identified and today fixed some (previously) missing cross-references. But the work goes on :slight_smile:

aTbRef in part represents my long-standing rejection of general Mac conceit of things being so obvious that no Help is needed. After 30+ years of commissioning, teaching and documenting software I believe it is a hubristic a conceit to escape the hard work of properly documenting things. If we can’t describe something to another person, do we truly understand how it works? After all if it’s never described, who’s to say how things work and the trope of “it’s not a bug , it’s a feature”. Even then, if we described it in terms we understand, does the target audience understand it? It’s a constant losing game in which one can but try to improve things and not just give up and blame everyone else.

With all this in mind, I don’t think I—in the role of aTbref’s author—can handle the mis-assumption that agent layout depends on snap-to-grid as that would rest on a mis-assumption that everyone both uses drawing apps and thinks it is the paradigm for how maps work§. But, you questions has helpfully shown that in this area of the resource there are some (now) obvious cross-references that were missing. So, I hope the changes made earlier today (see my last post above) cross-linking the article on Map grid & guides—which searches uses your logic ought to have found—to the article on reconfiguring agent maps will close the gap.

†. Conversely, when manually dragging notes/aliases in a map, if View menu ▸ Guides is on (ticked) drag-drop moves will try to conform to the guides (i.e. a more sophisticated version of simple grid-based snap). Even then, guides work to figure out the relationship on close map objects. Snapping/aligning more distantly-spaced objects will require use of View menu ▸ Alignment sub-menu to ‘snap’ items based on a selection, with the first-selected item being the reference object.

‡. Human-indexes are powerful but skilled work and time consuming. If anyone if offering to do that task (for free—aTbRef is written and offered for free) then I’m all ears.

§. Never say never! I’m open to suggestions as to how, and more importantly where such a mi-assumption might be addressed. Part of the problem is as users we don’t want to read explanations, we just want simple answers. It’s an ongoing challenge.