Tinderbox Forum

Creating composites from outline views?

Unless I have not been able to find it – I wonder if there is a way to create a composite from an outline view.

Here is my thinking:

I often have to review a pile of psychiatric records before interviewing a patient. I do interviews with two docs open on my desktop: a draft of the evaluation/interview record which will be edited and cleaned up and sent out as a report; I also need some sort of notepad open with notes from the records review and to take notes “on the fly” during the meeting with the patient. I have in the past tried to use TBX for this but the problem is that each note has to be opened separately to see the data. So if I made notes from five different medical reports, I would have to start scrolling through them to find that one reference to a medication or a medical condition or something. The result was I abandoned using TBX and use Scapple instead – I can see everything.

But I do like Tinderbox. It struck me that an advantage of Composites is that I can with those see ALL the notes’ content at once. However, creating them seems a bit tricky: as far as I can find, you have to do it only in map view via that careful parking of notes together. Can you highlight a group of them (e.g. command-click) and then do something to “composite-ize” them? Which, if it worked, could allow for some other notes to be added, and would probably allow one to make them from outline or even, say, treemap views, and not just from the careful parking together (so you don’t accidentally make one a container) in Maps?


See the Note ▸ Create Composite command.

Create Composite is available if you’ve requested any of the built-in composites, or uf

  • you have a /Composites container – the place where built-in composites are created, and
  • that container contains one or more named composites.

At present, Create Composite is only available in map view, but you don’t need to assemble the composite from individual notes.

Also, with guides you don’t need to be terribly careful about parking notes together; there’s a kibbitzer that snaps nearly-adjacent notes so their edges meet. Like all the kibbitzers, its sensitivity is subject to tuning; if people find making composites is too finicky, we could increase the capture radius. Personally, I find it is perhaps too eager to make composites.

Thanks, Mark. G

(Nothing else to say but it says I need 20 characters to have “thanks” accepted. :slight_smile:

I was actually thinking at some point if TBX could allow directly writing on the notes in the map view. When I am doing an intensive review of a research article, I also find the blank canvas in Scapple more comfortable to drop notes. But, Scapple is terrible at exporting notes. They all get screwed when exported to other formats. Tinderbox, the outline view gives the notes structure.

Thinking about why the map in the Scapple seems more comfortable for dropping notes and viewing them all in one canvas, I realized, the difference lies just on how the $Text is inserted in TBX. If, for example, direct writing of the $Text on the map just like the $Title of the note would be possible, anything we use Scapple for can be replicated in Tinderbox.

So, Mark, this will be a feature request if you are reading this. A direct inserting of the $TEXT in the map: just like the Title.

One might even have the option to leave $Title unfilled to the point he/she doesn’t want further powers of TB (like agents) which make use of the $Title attribute.

Since we already have Quick Links (one of the most interesting features in TBX 7), this will be a development in the same direction. Call these notes Quick Notes. Quick notes will give us the simplest and fastest way of writing notes in TB. This will be a great a merit specially for beginner TBXers who don’t (cannot) make use of the horse powers behind TBX. The same would be for advanced mappers like gkorgeski who still want a bare bone map like Scapple.

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Thanks. Thinking about it some more, I can either use long titles or write notes and then yes, stretch the size of the note a bit so text is visible on the map. Generally I don’t need much text in any given note. I might experiment with that. For my purposes, I would not need to add text to the note on the actual map view, if that is what you mean. Though I can see how that would be a nice option.

As for Scapple exports, I seldom bother with that; not much need. I can import them into Scrivener or other things (Evernote, DEVONthink) as is, or make screen shots or grab sections of a Scapple document, but they are just quick expedient notes anyway.

There is an argument, and I know Mark makes it in Tinderbox way, about using the right tool for the job. For what I do, it might actually just be easier to continue using Scapple, but it’s intriguing to think about how using new abilities like composites might be helpful, or open up other possibilities. I think I was mainly playing with the composites as a new option, and considering whether this one use might offer some advantages or address a previous problem that led me eventually to just use Scapple for this sort of thing.