Tinderbox Forum

Get directly from a note to its prototype

Apologies if I’ve missed something obvious.

Is there a way to get directly from a note to its prototype; I can create agents to list all the notes with a prototype and I can CMD-1 from an individual note.

The use case is: I’m typing a note and realise that that another Key Attribute would be helpful. I can add it to the note, but I’d like to be able to jump to the prototype, add it to that and then go back to the note and carry on.

Does that name sense? Is it possible?

Thanks all

No, but the quickest way at present would be to click in the view pane (it not already in focus), Cmd+F, type the prototype name** in the search box and hit Return. Double-click the item when listed in the pop-up dialog of Find results.

** I try to keep my prototype names short so they are easier/quicker to type out.

Another method is to keep the prototypes folder hoisted in a separate tab. To edit a note’s prototype’s KAS, switch to that tab. Make the edit and switch back. The only problem I find is that tabs often fail to keep their own focus - i.e. if i select a new note in the prototype tab, my previous tab now focusses on what I just edited and loses my previous context. this is a big time-waster and a main reason I use multiple tab/windows far less than I’d otherwise do. Having windows & tabs hold their own focus - or have a doc settings option to allow this would be an awesome productivity buff.

However, at present, there is no “show this item’s prototype” menu option. I too quite often have the same use case. Indeed, more than this I’d love a way to edit the prototype’s attributes in a new (stand-alone?) window so as not to lose current focus. IOW, an ‘edit prototype’ feature.

Thanks for that helpful response. I think it took you less time to reply than it took me to compose the question!

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Well, it reminded me of a feature I’d really like. Working on large (000s of notes) TBXs, mistakenly editing a note’s KA rather than the prototype can lead to frustrating hard to spot errors. An alternate approach to this scenario might be a way to force the notes to use the prototype’s KAs. IOW, if set, whilst the note has a prototype, you can’t edit the note’s KAs. Or perhaps more elegant would be that an edit to the KAs of a note using a prototype in such a configuration would actually commit the changes to the prototype and not the note being edited. That would be cool, if it could be made to work easily. Perhaps a boolean in the prototype that allows $KeyAttributes only** to override local changes to that attribute, though it’s less elegant than allowing a local KA change to force back onto the prototype which is a more elegant solution and better aligned with the user’s behaviour (i.e. edit what’s in front of you and not go elsewhere 'just to edit the prototype KA).

Again, thanks. I don’t yet have thousands of notes and one of the things I worry about a little is how well I’ll cope when I do. I’m still coming to terms with the way Tinderbox works and I’m trying to avoid putting in much structure until I feel confident I’m not putting on a straitjacket.

This kind of insight and context is very helpful to me in understanding where the risks and the benefits are.

In addition to what Mark A. said, there’s a way to back into a solution. Right click a prototype and copy its URL. Then add an attribute, say $MyPrototype, to the KAs for the prototype, make it a “URL” type attribute, and paste the URL you just copied into the attribute. Because that URL and its value are a KA, it will appear in every note that uses the prototype.

Click the globe icon and Tinderbox will navigate to the prototype.

To be clear: you are adding a URL link to a note to the KA that addresses that note itself – in this case the note is a prototype so its KA values get populated elsewhere.

This is a bit fragile – if you rename the file everything breaks. But is it also easy to fix – just update the value of the $MyPrototype attribute as needed.


I find it handy in most documents to keep all the prototypes in a dedicated container. Then, simply make (and keep handy) a tab that contains a map or outline of all the prototypes; your prototype is never more than a click away.

Another observation: I seldom need more than a half dozen prototypes

That’s a helpful trick - thank you

I do this already (including keeping the number of prototypes down, mainly because I’m wary of trying to do too much too quickly).

I’m trying to work with tabs, but it doesn’t come easily to me on the small screen I find myself using most of the time - but your suggestion is a good one. Thanks