Tinderbox Forum

Mobile Workflow- taking notes

What are your thoughts on how to take notes when you are away from your Tinderbox? A few years ago I tried to sync with simplenote, but I had a lot of crashes and gave up.

Things I’m looking at:

  • create an outline in OmniOutliner, export to OPML, and import
  • create a mindmap in iThoughts, export to OPML, and import

Does anyone have an established workflow that you care to share?



I take all my notes using DEVONthink To Go. These automatically sync to the desktop DEVONthink and from there I can drag them into Tinderbox if I want.


As @pat mentioned, DEVONthink to Go is a good possibility. I frequently need to capture attribute-value pairs in addition to text that will feed into $Text in my Tinderbox document(s), so I use OmniOutliner – Numbers and Excel work well, too for capturing attribute-value pairs. Or, more sophisticated, Tap Forms 5 or Airtable. I’ve never had much patience with Simplenote.

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Most of the time, I write down my ideas in a paper notebook or write them directly into my main Tinderbox file, using $Url if it is a web link and $Tags when it comes to tag them. The new iPad seems to come with a lot of improvements for sharing notes between two devices and I would not be surprised to give Devonthink TO GO a try. But my needs don’t require a sync configuration. And what about Apple’s Notes?

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Thanks for solid thoughts. I’ve been using DevonThink ToGo and it has been rock solid. I hadn’t thought about dragging a note into TBX, but it worked really well. The link back to Devonthink is cool!

@PaulWalters, would you be willing to briefly describe how you use OmniOutliner to capture “attribute-value pairs.” I tried to 1) create a column 2) use the note field and then export to OPML. I couldn’t get anything to work other than importing the outline structure.

I am excited to report that one of my favorite tools ithoughts works extremely well for capturing an outline, $text, and $URL.

Sure. Here’s a OmniOutliner iOS document – one of the built-in templates that I modified (changed “Topic” to “Name” and added a “Text” column):

I synced that down to the desktop via OmniPresence sync, then opened it in OO5 on MacOS. I selected all columns and exported to OPML, which I then dragged into Tinderbox 7 with this result:

Pretty slick.


@PaulWalters, that is awesome! I didn’t realize it was that easy. thanks!

While I like some aspects of this one (e.g. the automatic hyperlinks between TBX and DevonThink, I would like the contents of documents (e.g. RTFs) stored in DevonThink to come into TinderBox notes, but I don’t see an easy way to make that happen. Do you?

I have wrestled with this same issue and finally made a Numbers spreadsheet of features I wanted between iOS and Tinderbox.
For my scenario, I wanted a map or otherwise relational way to relate notes and note structure both on iOS and Mac. So, I compared NovaMind, Scrivener, FreePlane, XMind, DevonThink2Go/DevonThink Pro Office, and iThoughts, I landed on iThoughts on iOS, which exports OPML properly both Tinderbox and Scrivener (notes you associate with iThoughts map branches actually land in Tinderbox notes fields, not just in note title fields when exported). iThoughts also plays very well with XMind and several other apps.

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In Tinderbox 7.2, RTF notes dragged from DEVONthink Office Pro 2.9.15 to Tinderbox will import their contents as styled text

What can I say? Yet more reasons to be impressed by both Tinderbox itself and its community. I downloaded 7.2 earlier this evening, but didn’t catch that feature. Will check it out tomorrow.

Wonderful thread. I actually use a combination of MarginNote->iThoughtsX, and now->Tinderbox to create these same note output in Tinderbox.

MarginNote is the table settler: it creates discrete annotations, allows users to title each of them, and affix hashtags and additional comments to individual annotations. It allows user to further organize these discrete annotations (w/ or w/o tiles, comments, and hashtags - and links back to the original text).

I export MarginNote annotations to iThoughtsX, and then to Tinderbox. Once complete, this process creates containers and their children in Tinderbox, with the MarginNote-created titled annotation in Tinderbox’s title pane, a link back to the the original text (in MargninNote) in Tinderbox’s url section, and the MarginNote-created annotated text appearing in Tinderbox’s text pane (which is also where MarginNote-created comments and hashtags go).

I use the MarginNote-created titles to label the subcategories for annotations, and hashtags for task - actions (e.g., questions, research, read, etc.).

Here’s my situation… In many cases, I include 2 - 3 titles (i.e., subcategories) for an discrete annotation – because it might fall into multiple subcategories (as replicants in DEVONthink or aliases in Tinderbox). Ditto that with hashtags that carry over from MarginNote to Tinderbox.

So… What’s the best way (perhaps through Actions or Agents) to automatically create these titles as aliases within their respective associated containers? Thanks!


I have been trying the Simplenote sync and it has been working surprisingly well. I had tried it years ago and it wasn’t reliable so I had given up, but so far it has been very good.
I needed to be able to enter info into Tinderbox and Simplenote and have it synchronize, and so far it is doing that.


For those of you like me who use an Android phone, the following is an extensive outliner for Android that syncs OmniOutliner Style OPML files via Dropbox:

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I simply use the Apple Notes application and have a watch folder set up in TB. Works flawlessly.


Could you @PaulWalters as easily supply us with a solution porting Notes from the Notes-Section in OmniOutliner to the Text-Column in your example – so one could have Notes from the “real” Notes-Section in OmniOutliner show up in $Text in Tinderbox; since jotting down notes in the Text-column in OmniOutliner (as you suggested) is not that convenient as far as I am concerned.


My new approach for mobile note-taking is to jot things in a pocket-size notebook and then transcribe them into my computer later. It’s working way better for me than mobile apps ever did.

Back to basics when on the go… and then unleash the power of Tinderbox! :slight_smile:


There’s no trick. Just put your notes in Notes in OO5 and export the .ooutline file to OPML. Tinderbox will put the OO5 Notes into $Text for you.

As always, it’s easy to experiment yourself with software and see what it can do.


The hybrid approach is surely not the worst option… most of all you are more independent (of a charger or an internet connection for example)
On the other hand, you must type everything, when you’re on the Mac…

I’m using drafts 5 a lot, it’s great for capturing text. But I have still no idea, how to get the things into TB, besides simply copying it

Drafts is good, but it hides its data in iCloud so you cannot watch the data folder in Tinderbox on your Mac. For that, there are friendlier options. Even Notes app.

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