Tinderbox Forum

Combining or merging the content of multiple tbx files

I am thinking about combining the contents of a number of tbx files. The files contain notes relating to (seemingly) seperate areas of thought. For example, a file containing notes about a web development project and a file containing notes about music making.

I have begun to find that ideas within one of these areas have valid and often unexpected links to ideas within another. I’d like to handle these links somehow and, for my preferred way of working, combining the files seems like a good place to start.

I have tried dragging items from both the map and the outline onto another open tbx file. In each case that I have tried (single note, selection of many notes, selection of collapsed parent+children), only the note that I have pointed at to start the drag has arrived in the other file when I have dropped (in fact Tinderbox shows what it is going to do once you start to drag).

Can anyone offer any advice to help me accomplish this?

Many thanks,


Hi. Thanks for stopping by.

I guess the first thing to say is there is no explicit split or merge feature. Still, merging is not difficult, it is just rather manual.

At the most trivial level, expand the branch(es) you wish to migrate, select all the notes to export and copy paste to the target doc. If several disreate branches, I’d do those one at a time.

In a more mature doc there are other aspects to consider:

  • Prototypes. Do the two TBXs use the same prototypes/ The thing to watch for is is you use the same-named prototype in each but with different settings. Two suggestions:
    • same prototype name/same settings. Import the notes but you will need to manually re-apply the correct-named prototype to all imported notes. IOW, they might look a bit odd before that but no damage is done.
    • same prototype name different settings. Copy one doc, and in the copy rename the prototype and then import the notes from the copy and the renamed prototype and re-connect (if needed) to the correct.
  • User Attributes.
  • Templates. Copy across and re-connect and template not in the importing TBX.
  • Composites. Some as above.
    Stamps. If differing, this can be dragged/dropped between documents (see more).
  • Colour Schemes. If different, you will need to merge/edit the colour scheme in the receiving TBX or create new colours to preserve values. IOW, if ‘red’ is a different colour in two documents, you might want to consider how to align the two (do you want the imported notes to look the same or different?).
  • Custom fills/badges/other similar customisation. As these are stored at app support folder level these should still work.

Bottom line, if you’ve two plain vanilla docs with no prototypes, then just expand the branches and copy/paste. Otherwise ‘some assembly is required’.

Do ask if still needing help. :slight_smile:

Hello Mark,

Thanks for your reply, which is helpful.

None of my documents are tremendously well developed. I will double check for prototype names. I use a general ‘note proto’ prototype, which may have some small differences between documents, so I’ll look out for that. Same for user attributes, but any with the same name, have the same purpose/settings. All colors remain unchanged. I have some differing document settings, but I can handle that. No templates, few composites.

I think I’m pretty much okay with it. I’ll make some duplicates of a selection of documents and try things out.

Thank you,


Good. I think the main things people trip over is that the receiving document will auto-create any new user attributes only seen in source document, prototypes and links

Attributes. I tend to check this first and make the necessary attribute in advance so all just works. You might also find this article useful—Copying/Moving notes within Tinderbox—which I couldn’t find this morning.

Prototypes. I linked to some notes but a point to bear in mind is if notes are copied/pasted with their prototype, the assignment remains. Otherwise you will generally have to check and re-set the prototype assignment.

(In-Tinderbox) Links. Only links starting/ending within the copied selection are retained. Links externally to the Web or apps like DEVONthink are retained. Put another way, ‘moving’ some content to a new TBX will not create links between the two TBXS.

With your linked article + some worked examples, I am now happy/comfortable.
Many thanks,

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