Tinderbox Forum

How to change font on links

Hi everyone.

I think the attribute displayed on the link in maps is call “link type”. I’d like to make them a bit smaller. Is there an attribute that can change this size?

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Link type labels on map links are not user-configurable.

Thanks Mark.

This forces my map to be spread out too much, just to accommodate the label size. Has this functionality been discussed before as desirable? Perhaps it should be sent to support as a requested enhancement. It seems to be an obvious thing one would expect to be available.

Understood. Separately, did you know you can drag link labels? I think the way the latter works is labels are anchored to the middle point on the link-line but may be dragged a certain (circular) distance from that point. when you drag the label you’ll see the circle:

Hopefully it might help with the layout.

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Thanks. Yes, I did know that. I’m quite fussy about the look of my diagrams. I drag the labels around a lot.

Ah,in that case I guess link label size would be a feature request at this point. I can see, though, that such an idea might not scale well. Tweaking size on 20 or so links is different from the same on 2000 links. Unlike a drawing app (Omnigraffle, Illustrator, etc.) there is a dynamic element to maps that adds complication to otherwise simple-seeming drawing ‘improvements’.

I am also. When appearance matters, and I am sharing the diagram, I sometimes use image adornments with transparent backgrounds as the link “labels”. To turn off the real link label, in the Links Inspector set “Shown as” to an empty string.

Thanks Paul and Mark,

I would imagine link label size would be modeled as a property of the originating note. I maintain a prototype hierarchy, so I can just style the labels at the level that makes sense. This would scale well for me.

Your idea of adornments is an interesting one, Paul. I did stumble across an attribute that modified the adornment font size. When it did that it also modified the link label size. I can’t find that attribute anymore.

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The size of the adornment’s title can be altered by setting the adornment’s $MapTextSize, as for a note. The latter works as a percentage, i.e. a value of 80 will scale that adornment’s default font size to 80% of the normal size.

It is not clear what the default size of $AdornmentFont as there is no directly linked font control that shows the current setting. My hunch would be that it is set and scaled on the document’s current Doc Settings/Map control for Map Font. Confusingly, that control is the only place you can set the size of titles on a map - you are then expected to scale it via $MapTextSize for individual notes/adornments.

Thanks Mark. The current state is a shame. I won’t say it’s shameful since I don’t know all the history the took things to this point of confusion.

The annals of the software world are not replete with models for diagramming software that

  • scales continuously,
  • allows direct manipulation of the diagram,
  • allows programatic modification of the diagram on the fly,
  • and manages hundreds of objects.

I do think that the current design, which (as Barry Weinstein surmises) evolved over an extended period, is not unreasonable. It reflects underlying ratios:

  • The ratio between the typical font size and the size of typical notes, which is controlled by the Map pane of Document Settings.

  • The ratio between this note’s font size and the typical note’s font size, which might often imply emphasis or deemphasis, and which is controlled by $MapTextSize.

The separate question of determining the size of link labels is interesting? Is it clear that it is sufficient to have all links from a note share the same label size? Mightn’t some links need their own label size? Or might some types of links need their own label size?

If there’s a change to consider, I would prefer that link label size be determined by the Links Inspector on a link-type basis. We can already declare “Shown as” as an attribute of the link in Links Inspector – and so I suggest it seems logical that link name size – and perhaps link name font? – be controlled that way.

My preference is based on my usage of diagrams. It differs from Paul’s.

Typically my diagrams contain similar kinds of notes (same prototype). I usually want the size of link labels to be consistent on a single diagram and driven by the spacing constraints of that diagram. This is a compelling reason to consider the link label size to be a property of a note (typically assigned at the prototype level).

I have a few arguments against link label size being a property of link-type.

  • The types of links vary a single diagram. The name of the link already serves to distinguish among them. For me, size adds little value.

  • To manage the visual constraints of a diagram, one would have to maintain all link-types used on the diagram. If the general desire is to address the diagram as a whole, then this would be onerous.

  • The link-type namespace is flat; there is no prototyping. To cater for the differing visual requirements of different diagrams, one would be forced to have duplicates of each link type semantic notion tuned to different diagrams. The link-type space would be very large and unwieldy.

I would conclude this way (a bit of a decision tree):

  • Assume that the desire is to maintain the link label sizes on a diagram as a whole.

    • If the diagram is typically about similar kinds of notes, then the link label size belongs on the note. This applies to my diagrams.

    • If the diagram is typically about similar kinds of links, then the link label size belongs on the link type. This does not apply to my diagrams.

  • Assume there is limited desire to maintain the link label sizes on a diagram as a whole.

    • Prototyping support exists for notes. This provides some power to help fine tune link sizes.

    • Link-types have no prototyping support. This lack is significant.

Good analysis, Barry. I see your point.