Tinderbox Forum

Making Space Inside the Map

Hi, a while back I remember some discussion of the idea that it would be useful if it was possible to create extra space between notes in map view - without having to drag each note manually and rearrange the map.

I was just thinking about the expansion of the universe, ha ha, and how all points in space are expanding equally at all times.

Anyway, it made we wonder if it would be possible to do it like this:

Option One: click on a point in the map. Add space at that point. So everything moves away from that point, radially, for a given distance.

Option Two: Click on a point as above and then specify either a vertical or horizontal line of cleavage, which crosses the entire map, passing through that point. Everything moves away from that line, for a given distance.

It would be great for me! I use the map for story-lining and often need to insert extra notes in the middle of a hand-assembled chain of notes.


In option 2, I’d add an assumption that if an item is bisected by the line of cleavage, the direction of movement depends on the top left of the item (i.e. its {x,y} map co-ordinates) relative to the line.

I think this would be interesting to explore.


Thanks for that - that is a very elegant solution for bisected items. On reflection I think for me that the line of cleavage option would be really useful, the radial separation one not so much.

huh! that sounds pretty cool. movement relative to a designated note(s) might be a better solution than relative to a designated point on the map. It’s a lot like editing a table.

As well as the original suggestion, I would love this feature in Tb. Scapple does something similar with their “stacks”, as shown here:

Screen Shot 2020-05-01 at 9.18.41 amScreen Shot 2020-05-01 at 9.20.13 am

I vastly prefer using Tb for just about everything, but sometimes I will use Scapple initially for that feature alone, and then pull the result into Tb.


As far as I’ve tested composites, when I add text to the note above and then extend that note to show all the text, it doesn’t move the note below it down.

true. good point. thanks

I have a name for the feature, if implemented: Dark Energy. That’s what the expansion of space is called. I also noticed that if you move a note to the far edge of the map, TB can automatically add space to extend the map so there’s always room beyond the furthest note. So I guess it’s kind of like that…? But inside the map.


I’d definitely find this useful.

For example, yesterday I was roughing out some notes from a reading and trying to parallel/compare two lines of thought and kept having to select all from one and move it up vertically. So, in that use case, I would want the ability to be able to choose vertical, horizontal, or both. You can see from my screen grab that the last time I made an adjustment I gave myself lots of space cause I kept having to adjust.

And you may already know this, @willb, but you can option+drag to select multiple notes at once.

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Hi, yes @beck thank you, I currently would use option+drag to move large selections. It’s certainly possible to do it this way but it takes time and is quite fiddly. Also it’s easy to miss something without noticing and get everything out of place.

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I’ll give this a try; it’s an interesting little problem.


Given what you’ve come up with at short notice in the recent past (eg crosstabs), I’m sure you’ll solve it in a really useful way. Thanks for the responsiveness.

Yes many thanks indeed!

This might take a little time. First, anomalously, my time is not my own these days, and of course like everyone else I’m using the wrong computer for this project.

Also, as suggested above, there are a bunch of interesting variants — vertical cleavage, horizontal cleavage, quadrant cleavage, linear radial, linear radial with a horizon, perhaps square root radial — that ought to be considered. Also, there are questions: how are adornments handled? How important is real-time performance?

It’s on the roadmap. If anyone has opinions on these questions, or foresees other quandaries, that would be welcome.


Thanks for the perspective.

If it helps to express interest – the “make space inside a map” idea is at the bottom of my personal list. The idea has never occurred to me over the years, so it’s not a must-have or even a nice-to-have. Just my own opinion.

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I guess that just goes to show how flexible TB really is and the huge variety of ways we use it - definitely the top of my own personal list!

Good point. My initial instinct is that they are displaced the same distance as any other note, given that their position is normally meaningful in relation to the rest of the map, whether they are locked or not. I could be wrong, though – there might be scenarios where this isn’t the case. I’d imagine it becomes difficult when their position is set by action code, as in the example you posted here.

My immediate response would be that, yes, adornments could be treated just like notes. I really liked the suggestion that a given reference point on any note (or adornment) bisected by the line of cleavage, eg upper left corner, would be moved left or right or up or down as appropriate.

99% of the time I am working in map view, with adornments and notes. I use the adornments locked and sticky and I use them to indicate a higher level structure (sections) of the story the notes are mapping out. To some extent I can use them to create space, at least between sections, but I can’t create space within an adornment as you can’t option-select a range of notes on a given adornment. If I had a dark energy space-creator I’d probably stop using adornments the way I use them now, as creating space inside an adornment would be problematic… ?