Tinderbox Forum

Re-using choice of columns in an outline

When I set up columns in an outline is there a way to get those same settings to persist after that tab is closed or the view changed? If not, then I assume best practice is to tweak a given outline view and keep it open, but wondering if there is an alternative to that. Thanks!

I believe that the set-up of tabs – with columns, checkboxes, any other customization – does not persist or get stored if the tab is closed. Therefore I just keep all customized tabs open all the time.

There’s no drawback to doing that. And if you don’t want them “cluttering up” the space you’re working in, you can create a whole new window for the same file and work in that – leaving the other window in the background as the storage site for your customized tabs.

(There is another way, but it’s baroque: You create the tabs you want; you open the TBX file – rather, a copy of it – in a text editor and copy out the relevant XML that defines those tabs; you save that somewhere; and you paste it back in when you want to recreate the tabs. Simpler just to leave them open.)

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I’d add to @JFallows’ suggestion that if you want the column setup to apply to a different level of the outline hierarchy then setup columns at the root level of the document in an outline view. Then navigate down to the level of the outline that you want to hoist or focus, and choose “Open in New Tab” from the contextual menu. You’ll get a new tab, focused on the selected level of the outline, and with the same columns set as in your original tab.


I had not known this trick; useful to understand, thanks!

One other thing I discovered that seems helpful is that when I select Outline view a second time, the most recent columns I used appear. In some cases, this is enough for me, but the suggestions above are very helpful.

One think that I would like to see added is a way to save these customized outline views. I’ve have a couple of different outline views with customized columns that I use regularly. I’ve been following the practice of leaving the tabs open but every now and then, I’ll close one by mistake. Then, I have to go back and reset my columns. It would be so much nicer to have a “Save this outline view” as a menu option.

You’d also need a way to name the saved views, and a way to choose which of the saved views you want to restore.

If you close a view in error, you know, you can undo it!

Yes that’s for certain with the save and restore. Some other programs have this option. Autocad does I believe and InDesign has a save workspace which is similar. There are other settings that would be nice to be able to quickly changes as well, i.e., fonts, colors, text size, etc. I find I need bigger fonts when working at my desktop vs working on my portable. Maybe a prototype for tabs?

I absolutely want to save tab setups, and not have to leave tabs open to keep their configuration.