Don't Tinderbox's notes support 300,000 characters?

I am using Tinderbox to study the Wikipedia entry on the war between Russia and Ukraine. When I try to put the content of the entry, which has about 300,000 characters, into a Tinderbox note, the application becomes extremely slow and unresponsive, as if time has stopped. Tinderbox is in a state of slow, stopped, and stuck, and I can’t do anything. I repeatedly close the Tinderbox application and reopen it, but once I click on the note, it falls into a time freeze again.

I have attached the content in a txt file for testing.

However, in Obsidian and Typora, they support 300,000 characters, although there might be some delay, it does not significantly affect the operation.

Does this mean that Tinderbox is not suitable for research with 300,000-character content? How do other people solve this problem? By breaking it down?

2021年—2022年俄乌危机 - 维基百科,自由的百科全书

2021年—2022年俄乌危机.txt (389.6 KB)

FWIW, the pasted text into a new Tinderbox project files works and allows searches without any lag on my machine (M1 Pro MacbookPro 8-core, with 16gb RAM). I even have 3 other project files open concurrently.

same here - new file - fast and responsive (Macbook Pro M2 Max)

I appreciate you are pasting in or auto-fetching contents for the web. But, I do think it is worth noting that conceptually, Tinderbox is a tool for notes, not essays. In other words, the design concept is to use short notes.

That doesn’t mean that you can’t put a lot of text in a note. As answers above show, this doesn’t slow the app. But, the Tinderbox design isn’t based on remembering where in 300,00 characters you last looked. With short notes, the $Text is likely one or two-screen heights in length. Thus working with the app’s design intent rather than against it tends to lead to a better experience.

Be aware you can also select multiple notes and see the text of each one concatenated in the text pane (rulers show not boundaries). This composite text can also be edited in this mode.

Lots of people routinely use Tinderbox on projects with well over a million characters — some with over a million words — with no difficulty at all.

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I understand, because my machine is not an M1 Pro or MacBook Pro M2 Max.

Currently, my compromise is to use Typora, Obsidian, and DEVONthink to view Wikipedia entries.

It would be more useful to tell us what your machine is, than what it is not.

And why would you use Tinderbox or Obsidian to view Wikipedia entries? What is the work you are setting out to do?

The M1 Pro MacBook Pro, with an 8-core processor and M1 Pro16GB RAM, has such a configuration that I believe any Mac application that hasn’t been optimized for performance will run at blazing speeds. I’m considering purchasing an M1 in the near future.

I use it for business writing, based on the theory of group selection, a biological theory. Group selection is very helpful for explaining the competitive games between groups. The recent war between Russia and Ukraine fits this theory well, and Wikipedia provides a complete description of the war process.

I usually put the content of Wikipedia entries in window B, while another window A extracts key information from window B, such as the war time, number of troops, amount of aid - these key pieces of information are placed in the Tinderbox Map (window A), while window B is for Obsidian, Typora, DevonThink.

The reason why window B uses Obsidian, Typora, DevonThink is because the developers seem to have done some performance optimization specifically. For 300,000 characters, or even more than 400,000 characters, the opening is silky smooth, which is very friendly for old Mac users.

Going a step further, Tinderbox is reminding me to purchase a new M1 as soon as possible.

We haven’t banned anyone from this forum in eons — I think it’s been a decade @mwra, right? — but this is somewhere very close to the limit. I’m making allowances here for the possibility of language or cultural differences, or simple incomprehension.

This developer has done some performance optimization specifically, thank you very much.

Nobody else has been able to reproduce your problem. After repeated requests, we still don’t know what machine you’re using. You say you’re doing business writing, based somehow on Wikipedia’s page about the Russian invasion of Ukraine; I myself have written a few business documents, and I’ve written about the Russian invasion of Ukraine, but not at the same time.

A day or two ago, you wrote that “The feature of Chinese word count is my main motivation for being interested in this program.” That seems odd, but fine. To the best of my understanding, the word count in your example is correct, and Typora is wrong. (Typora is giving the character count, but of course many Chinese words are written with more than one character)

(Taking a look at the English wikipedia page, it’s got fairly ridiculous formatting issues if auto fetched. So that might be an issue)

I’m not seeing a Tinderbox license for the email you’re using here, incidentally.

Please cancel, remove, block, and prevent my account.

You have won.

This is my subscription on Goalscape

This is my subscription on Gingko.

This is my subscription on Smartsheet.

I have multiple email accounts for subscribing to different services. (I welcome verification of authenticity.)
As a user, I have the best of intentions, and I want to contribute to the user experience to improve this product.
Now, you question me as an unpaid user and attack me on this basis. I cannot accept this insult to my character.
When discussing the product, why extend it to character?
I am very disappointed today. Of course, other users of the forum are very friendly, and I appreciate this.
I choose to leave.

As far as I’m concerned- and presumably many on this group will concur - there is only praise for the gargantuan effort @eastgate has, and continues to, put into the development of Tinderbox and in evolving it into the refined tool it is today.

My license fee is less than the least I offer in exchange. While freedom of speech is most prized in a free world, lightweight complaints such as we regulars are used to pitching in with from time to time is the banter that keeps things light. Please don’t let it get heavy with clap-back classic lit memes, that’s tacky.

With all due respect, and apologies for any offense caused.


Woa! Putting my moderator’s ‘hat’ on, can we all take a step back. I’ve moderated a succession of Tinderbox support fora as a volunteer (i.e. not paid staff) since c.2004 and it’s true, we very rarely show people the door (spammers are a different issue) and the last time was likely back on the 2000s—so far back I don’t remember.

Here, we prefer to try and help people but note the community does not want:

  • zero-sum arguments ‘(I like X, Tinderbox should be like X’)
  • opinion-shopping. A point well made stands on its own merits. There is no ‘vote’.
  • credentialism. All users are users, and as such have an equal voice. Expertise is useful but only in context.
  • ill-tempered debate.

Sure, we all fail at the last point from time to time but over the years I’d like to think that over the years Tinderbox fora have been friendly and engaged and above all, delivered help to those that need it.

We try to solve actual problems relating to Tinderbox. App A vs. app B comparisons are generally pointless as they are based on opinion and not true comparison; opinion is rarely actionable. However, knowledge and links to other apps with different/complimentary features can be useful.

I’m sorry if we fellow users lack Chinese language/script expertise, but this is a user-to-user forum and we can only bring to bear the experiences we have, and can only represent the experience of those who chose to contribute here. Rest assured, not all Tinderbox users work in English only nor are they all native English speakers. We have users from across the world and whilst Arabic and Cyrillic script have turned up as topics, Chinese isn’t (yet) an area of deep expertise.

Anyway to move ahead and help us help can @montaus, I will send them details via PM of the missing information that is needed to give help.

On a general but contingent note, this scenario started with the unfortunate standard trope of “Tinderbox is not as good as app X”. OK, but this assumes that people here know about app X, or have used it or even have an interest in it. The assertion is meaningless apart from being personal opinion. We also have the comparison of different tools for different purposes. The problem that gives is that irrespective of the qualities of the apps in question they are designed differently to do different things. The closest Tinderbox and Obsidian come is both can be used for note-taking. But in feature set and design intent they are very different.

The problem comes in starting with a a UI or feature and then saying “I like this in app X, all other apps should be like app X”. This contains two fallacies: a) that all people (want to) work the same way, b) that the design of different apps even allows such convergency.

I’m afraid I’ve never heard of Typora so have no idea for what it is intended so can’t comment on it. The fact I’ve never heard of it isn’t a negative, but it explains why I can’t compare its features.

A goodly number of Tinderbox users do use DEVONthink, because it is actually designed as an ‘everything bucket’ (that’s a generally used term and is not used rudely), e.g. lots of different source formats and varying file sizes. Tinderbox is designed for textual work—annotation, analysis and writing—but in small notes which can be aggregated for long-form display. So, users put large sources such as Wikipedia essays in DEVONthink and link to them or, as you do, consult the references from within that app. This lays bare another fallacy in the TfT (Tools for Thought) area, that one app is best for everything. I think anyone long in the TfT game will know otherwise, though they will still have favourite tool(s), they will have more than one actively used in their TfT work. Mine are listed below, others will have a different set. For instance, I don’t travel much to don’t have to bridge the phone/Mac OS divide, not do I work in multiple languages, etc.

†. For example, in my knowledge work. Primary apps (in daily use): Tinderbox, Bookends, DEVONthink Pro, BBEdit, TextExpander, TextSniper, Monosnap. Secondary use: Graphic Converter, OmniGraffle, OmniOutliner, Excel (not by choice), Dash, Easy Data Transform, Flying Logic, HookMark, Marked 2, Tot, Script Debugger, Unicode Checker, Transmit, Skim, Author & Reader, textstudio (and more besides including command line tools). As to other TfT: I’ve tried Roam and Obsidian out but not found a use for them—not worse, they may be the fit for others but just not useful to me [sic] nor particularly novel. Not all apps fit all users.

… now, let normal service resume…


It’s a markdown editor -



The ‘markdown editor’ editor part explains why I’ve not come across it. :rofl: But, I do accept lots of people really like Markdown! No, really! (and I’m using it to type this message)


Ummm… I don’t know what subscriptions to Goalscape, Ginko, or Smartsheet have to do with anything. What am I missing here?

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Group selection is a very limited theory in biology, but scientific work based on copying Wikipedia articles would not even pass for a term paper in the institutes I know. But back to Tinderbox…
I have also used Tinderbox before my M2 with an Intel Mac. I do enjoy the speed of the new box, but I never had performance problems with TBX before. A performance comparison between TBX and DevonThink is quite pointless in my eyes. I could also copy 100 Wikipedia articles with 300.000 characters into Excel and wonder why this Excel thing is the most successful software ever and still crashes regularly :wink:
Your posts here are confusing because you don’t ask us any questions that we can answer or describe problems that could be solved. Yes, the back of the moon is dark, but complaining about it isn’t really singing - is it?


I have the text of the whole bible in one note and am experiencing no issues with TB. This is some 855,726 words so well over a million characters.


I got curious after reading the doubts expressed here about the OP’s reported results, workflow, and even status as a paying customer.

Viewing a source in one window and extracting key information from it in another window didn’t seem like an outlandish expectation.

So I tried it, using the OP’s linked file that he helpfully provided.

I can confirm that Tinderbox v. 9.5 (demo) can indeed slow to a crawl and become unusable after pasting the contents of the OP’s attached file into a single note in a new document on an M1 MBP with 16GB RAM.

Rather than doubting the OP, wouldn’t it be more helpful to suggest things like restarting the Mac and relaunching Tinderbox and making sure not too many other apps are open at the same time, and, if necessary, opening a longer source text in another app?

And (if this hasn’t been done already) having a more careful look to see why the contents of that file cause the behavior and under what circumstances?

I overlooked one detail of the specific text the OP presented: it changes paragraph styles frequently — often every 5 characters or so. That means formatting the text when the note is first selected is slow. (It will be faster in 9.6, but it’s still not fast. But then again, it’s not slower than opening a book-length file from Finder…)

What we lacked was any notion of (a) who had the problem, (b) what they were trying to do, and (c) whether the regrettable tone of their posts was a language problem, or reflected a different problem. The poster’s refusal to respond to reasonably and necessary questions, from Eastgate and from other users, made support impossible and made bad faith probable.

In retrospect, I probably ought to have deleted the thread immediately.

This is not a book-length text (well maybe a small book). It’s “just” a lengthy Simplified Chinese Wikipedia article, in Markdown. On my machine It opens and renders readily in several other apps. In Tinderbox, as the OP noted, it can sometimes be slow, even on an M1 machine with 16GB RAM.

FWIW, in reading the thread I had little trouble understanding the OP’s explanations of what he was trying to do. He did answer questions. He wanted to display rendered Markdown (if that is the right term) in one window and take notes on it in another, and found it was better to use another app for the lengthy Markdown. He helpfully provided the file for testing.

The tone, to me, started out fine, matter-of-fact and specific. (Maybe it is because I’m used to dealing with non-native speakers.) Frustration clearly set in when his observations were essentially dismissed and banning was mentioned.

Anyway, I’m glad the thread wasn’t deleted. I learned a little more about Tinderbox.