Tinderbox Forum

Changing the color of the current system "none" note?

The current system “none” note is set to the color 7 on my system.
Is there a way to change the color via a system attribute preference or is it somewhere in the document settings that I am missing?

thanks in advance

Good question! The ‘normal’ setting is effectively like doing an action:


i.e., reset to default. Regardless, as you note, the default value of $Color is the predefined colour named ‘7’.

So, how to reset the default? For all but calculated (this read-only value) attributes the default is show/set in the Document Inspector, ‘system’ sub-tab (or ‘user’ for user attributes) as shown here:

In some cases, the attribute’s default value is only settable via something like Doc Settings or a Font selector but in these latter cases the Inspector will indicate that.

For a Color-type attribute like $Color, the value you use must be in one of the 4 allowed formats documented for defining colours.

You have now customised the current document only. You can save the amended TBX doc’s current colours as a colour scheme file using the Colors Inspector. By applying the scheme file to other TBXs, the same customisation can be applied.

Now, you ask, what about all new files. You next option (and not one for the new user or XML-averse) is to use a config file. But, not all preferences/defaults are configurable via this method.

So, though the latter article indicates how you might set a non-default value for $Color, you should contact Eastgate directly and check that such an entry is supported. IOW, what valid XML entries you can add to your config .xml and whether Tinderbox will then honour them correctly, is not documented—and likely won’t be—as this is one of those niche edge cases where a quick email to support is needed.

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I learned something today.
Thanks MarkA. I never knew you could change the “none” note color by using the $Color attribute.


I’ve edited the opening to my last as I’d mistyped ‘normal’ as ‘none’. there is no built-in ‘none’ note, so I assume it’s one you made for test. But using normal as a Color-type attribute value is the same as a reset. So in the case of a putative Color-type $SomeColor setting, e.g. in Displayed Attributes, the value of $SomeColor to “none” has the same effect as the action:


I should also clarify this resets inheritance—as does use of “none”—rather than imposing the document default for $SomeColor. Thus if you have a prototype “pBlue” whose $SomeColor is “bright blue”, and your note “none” were using the prototype, the above code/use of “none” would result in a $SomeColor value of “bright blue” as the the latter is inherited from the prototype, thus blocking any change to the doc default for $SomeColor.

I’ve used $SomeColor here as an example but the same holds any attributes (all user and most system) where he use is allowed to edit the document’s attribute default value.

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First: let’s ask, “what do we mean when we say ‘change the color?’”

In your current color scheme, the default value of $Color is “7”. If we look on the Colors pane of the document inspector, we find that “7”, in this document, is the color “#e9ecee” — a lot of red (#e9), even more green (#ec), and even more blue (#ee). So, that’s a gray, with just a hint of a bluish cast. But we could redefine “7” to another color — perhaps a warm instead of a cool gray: #eeece9. (The colors 0-9 are often changed together, so they make a coherent sequence like dark gray to light gray.)

Bottom line: the default color continues too be “7”, but the translation of this name to a specific hue has changed.

Alternatively, you can change the default value of $Color, as you can change the default value of almost any attribute. You look up Color in the System Attributes pane of the Document Inspector, finds that its default value is “7”, and perhaps change it to “red”. Now, all notes without a specific color will be red. (What do we mean by “red”? That’s defined in the Colors pane, discussed above.)

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It’s worth noting that this method of re-defining named colours (as in the last post above) is how Tinderbox manages it’s colour scheme change. applying a new scheme, a named colour’s name remains the same but its colour value is changed. This does mean you have a colour called “blue” but which looks “yellow”. It might seem weird but once you grok the underlying process it’s no big deal and most of the time we pick colours via the inspector, i.e. by colour, not name.

More on note colours, and a map of all named colours and definable shades: