Tinderbox Forum

Keyboard Shortcut for opening a note


A bit of a rant

I know there are these two (1 & 2) excellent resources for learning Tinderbox. But still I am not able to find what I am looking for at an instant.

Let me know if there is a faster way of finding help than the above :top: two methods?

My issue

I have selected a note, now double-clicking on it will get me inside the note. But I want a keyboard shortcut to open the note.

Could you please tell me what is the keyboard shortcut to open a note?, (when the note is selected (and not clicking on the note, as there is mouse movement involved.)

Below is a short video of what happens when I try to open a note by double-clicking. Lots of time wasted. Dropbox - Screen Recording 2021-09-24 at 3.55.50 PM.mov - Simplify your life

You can use ↓ and ↑ to get in and out of a selected note


oh God! Why didn’t I try that. So obvious! Thanks :relaxed:

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By default each window has two discrete panes. The right-hand pane—the text pane—shows the title ($Name), text ($Text) and Displayed Attributes ($DisplayedAttributes), if any.

So to ‘open’ a note you simply select it in the view pane by:

  • clicking on it (any view type)
  • using ↑ or ↓ to move the selection in a any listing type view.

A note doesn’t ‘open’ as a discrete window, in the way it used to prior to Tinderbox version 6. But, you can, if desired open a note as a stand-alone window as described here.

In a few contexts, hovering over an item will give a pop-over preview of that item’s $Text—see here.

If you want to shift input focus from the view pane selection to the selected note’s text ($Text) use Opt+Tab ( ⌥+⇥) Tab+[Opt]. This toggles focus in a cycle: $Text → first Displayed Attribute (if any) → view pane → $Text.

Tinderbox has a lot of keyboard shortcuts defined. The easiest way to get an overview is via my reverse-lookup map.

Hopefully it’s now clear as to why there is no description of this, because such an option—as you describe it—does not exist. :slight_smile:

I’m guessing what you are trying to describe is moving focus from view pane to text pane (i.e. Opt+Tab).

Tip: did you know you can shift the selected note without leaving the text pane? Like so:

  • Up Arrow+[Cmd]+[Opt]: Text pane focus: select previous $OutlineOrder item in main view (Outline/Chart/Treemap view)
  • Down Arrow+[Cmd]+[Opt]: Text pane focus: select next $OutlineOrder item in main view (Outline/Chart/Treemap view)

I hope that helps orient you a bit better. :slight_smile:

Moving around without leaving the text pane is very useful. I’m wondering why Arrow+[Cmd]+[Opt] doesn’t work for Map view as well ? The arrow keys are used to dive in and out of container notes - Arrow+[Cmd]+[Opt] could be re-maped to move about the Map without leaving the text pane.

Yes, but how the next item is selected is—i’d suggest—very subjective, with scope for everyone to feel it doesn’t match their intuition of next/previous. In a view like Outline, the next previous is far more obvious.

I’m not disagreeing with the closing point but I’d note that intuition doesn’t scale well; person X’s and person Y’s intuition align less often than we’d like.

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To be consistent with the other views (Outline/Chart/Treemap view) matched would be based on Outline order which is usually different than the layout of the notes in Map view. Still there are other examples of Outline order being used in Map view. For instance the Arrange/Cleanup command in Map View uses Outline order to decide how to display the selected notes.

Other users might be interested to know that TB9 includes an alternative mechanism to select notes from the Text pane in Map View based on a knowledge of the note Name. Consider the simple test document below. The Note 1 text pane is selected and I’m typing some text.

Now I would like to edit “My Note 5” without leaving the text pane and certainly without grabbing my mouse (words are flowing at this stage and moving mice and jumping to other panes distract me). Using the new TB9 command bar I type (⌘⇧-U) and then the first letters of the note name as below


Selecting the first line and hitting return selects “My Note 5” in the Map view and conveniently returns the cursor/focus to the text pane, cursor blinking and inviting me to type out my next thought.


In most view types you can blind-type to select a note. The command bar is simply doing the same sort of thing (blind typing has been around since at least v5.0.0 in late 2009).

You are right that Map view doesn’t use $OutlineOrder in the way some might incorrectly assume. I’ve written on this aspect of Tinderbox in some detail here (originally back in v5 here and updated since).

The reason for noticing the above, is the opening comment that the available documentation is sub-par. But, what was the opening query here? Why was it assumed to be a primary help issue? Unfortunately, threads like this start with what couldn’t be done/found. More useful would be I search fro “xxxxxxx” or the term “y”. Resultant failures could then perhaps be mitigated. A clear mismatch here was the presumption a note is ‘opened’. True, it was the case from 2002 (v1) to early 2014 (v6 app UI redesign), but even the latter is seven years back. So where does the note ‘opening’ metaphor now go?

I think Tinderbox suffers more than other app communities I engage with because people tend to come to Tinderbox after other tools prove inadequate for their needs. However, en route people have picked up the vernacular of those apps and now assume them to be ‘normal’, which they are not: they are simply more familiar to that person at that point in time.

Trying to write a terminology/feature ‘map’ from for all these other apps to Tinderbox is a massive and un-finish-able task. Fellow user could help by offering bridging lexicons of terminology, but sadly years of asking has garnered little input. clearly is it a task for “someone else” to do, i.e. no one.

I’m very open to adding, into aTbRef, terminology maps for other apps/genres, but it needs expertise I don’t have. From the general silence, I’ve come to assume such a mapping is actually not wanted or needed.

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You are correct that the Command Bar is doing something similar to blind typing in the View Pane. The differences and what I like about the approach using the Command Bar above is

  • I never enter the view pane but can still select the desired note by name and pressing return
  • I get a list of matches to choose from, unlike the view pane blind typing which selects only the first match
  • Matches in other containers of the document are supported

Typing “Select substr” where substr is the search term in the command bar we restrict the search and listing of options to note names only. I’ve mapped the word “Select” to a keyboard shortcut as I find typing out “Select” long and defeating the purpose of navigating quickly within a complicate document or map.