Tinderbox Forum

Explode with asterisk doesn't work?

I have some texts which I want to import into Tinderbox and separate into parts with the explode tool, but it isn’t working. When I try to do it the spinning wheel comes up and I have to force quit Tbx.

In the texts that I have the blocks are already separated by 3 asterisks *** , so I tried to use them in the explode tool. Maybe Tbx doesn’t like the asterisks being used in this way? Should I first substitute them with something else that explode likes better?

This sounds like user error. Explode works on regular expressions (regex) and asterisks are regex special characters. TLDR; Try:


as your explode string.

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Thank you for the fast answer Mark. It worked :slight_smile:

Can you add this information to aTbRef? Maybe other users will also not know anything about regex and regex special :slight_smile:

It’s there


And elsewhere in aTbRef

“Regex special” is not a term. He was referring to regular expression special characters.

Thank you for your answer Paul.

My suggestion for addition is for this page in aTbRef, which deals specifically with Exploding Notes:


Under the topic “Delimiters you can use include:” it says (also)

“Otherwise use a custom string of your choice, e.g. a sequence of characters unlikely to occur in normal copy, e.g. ‘####’ or ‘XYXYXY’, etc. The text is case-sensitive. Use of regular expressions is not supported for this option.”

I wasn’t (and still am not completely) aware what “regular expressions” are. To me, according to this text, *** would be a possible “custom string of your choice”. It’s not that much different from #### , at least not to me (and maybe other users).

I think it would be useful to list (also here) all the characters (or regular expression special characters) that should not / cannot be used to explode notes.

Or maybe even add some code to the program to interpret these input errors and give a detailed warning to the user.

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Fair enough. Personally, when I see a term I don’t understand, I try to look it up** – but I can see it could be missed. Since “regular expressions” is a broad category, not exactly in aTbRef’s wheelhouse to explain, I’d suggest to @mwra something like

Use of regular expressions is not supported for this option.

This points to the external explanation of regular expressions linked-to elsewhere in aTbRef.

** Tinderbox makes clever use of regular expressions (aka Regex in some contexts) and time spent with regular expression tutorials such as this one is time well spent, IMO.

Yes, mea culpa. This used to be true in v5 and has since changed. I’ve put this in my to-do list for aTbRef.

The Christmas kitchen now begs my attention now but Seasons Greetings / Happy Holidays to all my fellow Tinderbox & Storyspace users.

I’ve updated this and this page of aTbRef to give - I hope! - a better general explanation of the process.

Regular Expressions (‘regex’)are subject in themselves and their detailed function is beyond aTbRef’s purview. In essence, Tinderbox’s built-in regex parsing follows the Perl flavour of regex**. Google is probably the best approach to finding a range of tutorials reflecting an individual starting knowledge.

** There are a number of subtly different implementations of regex, mostly deriving from their implementation in different computer languages.