Tinderbox Forum

Display multiple outline windows from a single document at the same time

Hi, I feel that I’m becoming a daily questioner here, but the patience of the contributors is very welcoming.

I have a “daily notes” Tinderbox document that keeps my running notes in a hierarchy by month, week, day, and time of day. Itself simple but quite nice in Tinderbox. Easy to reference with Tags etc. An agent collects notes with StartDate=“today” and displays them. BUT: I cannot at the same time display the daily notes hierarchy I’m typing with the “to do today” agent not list tabs CONCURRENTLY. I can show one or the other, each with a split window with Text/ Attributes for specific notes. BUT not two outlines side by side. Even an outline and a map would be OK.

Any chance split windows with outlines or maps IS a feature but I’m missing how to access it? Or any workaround that might do it? Even opening the file twice doesn’t give me two tinderbox views of the file; just puts up front what was already there.


John L

You can have multiple tabs for a document’s Outline view, and by right-clicking on one of those tabs move it to a new window. You can arrange the windows, or use Divvy or Moom to do the arranging for you.

You’ve come across one of the few “price of progress” twists in the Tinderbox saga, from my own point of view.

Several major-release cycles back, probably in the Tinderbox 5 era, the program was based on a “multiple small windows” interface – of the type you can recreate now, for instance, in Scrivener, which lets you have a main editing window and numerous “quick reference” windows on screen at the same time. For me, personally, this is the easiest and most effective way to work – all the more so when you have a big-screen monitor. It sounds as if you have something similar in mind.

In recent years Tinderbox has switched to the “one window, many tabs” model. I understand that there were good and sufficient technical reasons for making the change. But for me, with the way I work, it was a step backward. I don’t want to switch back and forth between tabs, I want to be able to see two or three of them in the same glance or perspective. To be clear: for me it was one step back, weighed against a thousand ways the program has become more convenient and powerful. (Let me tell you about the Attribute Browser … )

There is a workaround, but it has tricks to be aware of. As @PaulWalters says, you can create multiple other windows, and get them set up the way you want. The main trick is that the window arrangement you spend time creating is not as bulletproof as you would like. In the olden days, a TB crash might zero out the multi-window layout. When you reloaded the program, you would find the data intact (I have never lost data in a TB crash or mishap) but that the XML specs for the window layout had been eliminated. Where previously you had two or three or four windows, now you had one.

That hasn’t happened to me after a crash in a long time, maybe more than a year. (I believe that Mark B has changed some of the shutdown sequence for a file to minimize this risk; I’m grateful for that.) But there’s another important user-induced-error possibility. Let’s say you have set up three different windows for the same file. While looking at Window 3, let’s say you unthinkingly hit Cmd-W, “close.” That command will close Window 3 and completely eliminate its layout specs from your file, in a way that cannot be reversed by Undo or other tricks. (You might wonder how I know this.) Ie, once you have set up a multi-window arrangement, you have to be careful never to hit Cmd-W by accident, or you’ll completely eliminate one of the windows and its layout.

Fortunately, there’s a workaround for this. Actually two: One is to get a window layout you’re happy with; then save that file; then make a copy or duplicate of the file. Then, working on the copy, you use a text editor to find the section of XML that specifies the window set-up. Then you copy that XML, and save it some place. If somehow you eliminate a window, and it would be a lot of work to re-create it, you can paste this saved XML back into your file.

The other safeguard is to use Apple’s keyboard mapper, or another keyboard utility, to disable or blank-out the normal Cmd-W function within Tinderbox, so that you can’t even by mistake make the deadly move. I have arranged mine so as to force an exit from any file via Shift-Cmd-W, which closes all the windows and saves their entire layout, rather than just closing and eliminating one of the windows.

For perspective: to me this is the only step backward in usability, and even so there is a way around it. Good luck.

Update on this: thanks to @PaulWalters for the recc on Divvy, which I had not been aware of. It really does allow convenient positioning of separate windows in a way that captures much of the functionality of the old multi-window model. Glad to have the tip.

And, again, if you take the precautions to make sure you’ve saved the multi-window layout (and disabled the ever-perilous Cmd-W key), then you can have a best-of-all-worlds situation, with the functionality of the latest TB and the window layout of the olden days.

in my opinion, Divvy is good for one-off windows arranging, but Moom excels at saving window configurations for an app and applying them at the touch of a button. Plus Moom makes itself always-available in the green stoplight button in most apps, and you can quickly activate one or more windows layouts for that app. I would go with Moom over Divvy any day. My two 1/2 cents.

Good to know. Each is so affordable that I will try them both.

thanks both. I’ll try these things out. Helps me to use Tinderbox in more ways, thus improving my knowledge of its capabilities.

John L