Tinderbox Forum

How do you navigate?

As I work on a large file, I often feel the need to go to a different part of the document, do something, and come back to the current map. How do people do this?

use case 1

My need can be described as “bookmarked locations”: maybe there are five containers of importance, and I want to go there.

One solution is to keep tabs open for different locations. This will not scale if there are many locations (consider, for example, that I have a file with notes from a dozen books from a single author, and a separate container for each).

One partial solution is to use Applescript and use “set selected note”, but that does not navigate to the corresponding map, just to the text component of the note.

use case 2

I have a file in which I record things I am doing. Everything has two dimensions: there is a note for each day, and elsewhere, there are projects on which I am working. Again I need to jump back and forth. Note that there is content uniquely present in one location or the other — the date view contains only a high-level description of what I did, with gory details in the project area, but it may have notes about prioritization and non-project stuff that does not live elsewhere— so I can’t automate to generate a day view.

Do others feel a need for such navigation? What is your use case? How have you tackled it?


Every note has a “Note URL” so one approach would be to have a scratch note to record key Note URLs and use that note as a sort of “launch pad”. Could do this in Tinderbox or outside.

Another approach is to use “Find” and search for note name – works well if names are memorable and easy to search for.

Another approach, a bit like the first, is to use an index note with zip links.

Stepping back – a document is always a single outline. There may be many levels, many different tabs, etc., but the core outline starting at the document root will always be available and searchable.

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In practice, I find that this scales more effectively than you might think. For example, when using Tinderbox to write a paper, I seldom need more than forty or fifty references, and that’s not too many to keep in a single container. In Those Trojan Girls, which is a moderately sprawling hypertext novel, I typically kept open a handful of tabs:

  • the section on which I was currently working
  • one or two sections to which I frequently wanted to refer — often sections adjacent in time or sharing characters
  • the list of characters
  • the dashboard — keeping track of loose ends, daily progress, and such
  • the top-level map
  • the map view in which I kept track of campus geography
  • a “utility” tab, typically a top-level outline, which I can use to get a view of anything I’m curious about.

Appended to @eastgate’s suggestion. Windows for a document can serve as “super tabs” in a sense. Different sets of tabs in different windows. When the System Preference “Prefer tabs when opening documents” is set to “always” then you get something like this if you wish - one document, two windows for the document, and different sets of tabs in each window:

Useful Paul. I assume that is Catalina? On my main home machine I am running Mojave and do not see the setting. Thanks.

It is Catalina @TomD, but I’m pretty sure Mojave also supports “Prefer tabs” – this Apple page also indicates it does. It is a setting in System Preferences that applies to all applications that support it.