Tinderbox Forum

Setting a specific font for note names in Outline view

Hi, I’m sure there’s an easy way to do this but I can’t think of it. I would like certain views – say outlines – or notes with certain prototypes when viewed in outline, to be of a specific font (mono-spaced) to make dates at the beginning of a name to appear more standard (via fixed-space letters), but I can’t see how to do this without affecting everything else.


I believe you would want to change $NameFont manually or in that note’s prototype. See the example attached.

$NameFont is a font-type attribute meaning that in the DisplayedExpressions panel if you click the “A” symbol the macOS font picker will open up so you can choose font and size for that note – or for a prototype. The way this works is somewhat cranky and you might need to click around with a couple attempts to make the selection take effect – takes some patience unfortunately.

Name Fonts Example.tbx (86.1 KB)

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Thanks, @PaulWalters, much appreciated.

As a result of me tweaking where I probably shouldn’t to try to address the above before @PaulWalters’ kind intervention, I now have an oddity I can’t fix back, when some prototypes align the text in outline higher than is desirable:
I assume it must be stored in a prototype somewhere, but I can’t find anything. I’ve not actually used the $NameFont in this case, so I don’t think it could be that. Thanks for any help!

If you didn’t alter $NameFont, what options/attributes did you adjust? The picture illustrates the problem well enough but offers few clues as to the cause. The image is close cropped to the right, so is outline column view enabled? I ask in case it is another possible factor. Could you upload a small file that shows the problem and/or give the set of steps to reproduce the issue in a new TBX?

Outline titles do have to allow for the ascender and descender of the font in use for titles but this doesn’t appear to be the causal issue here.

Thanks for this, @mwra. Column view is enabled but does not seem to affect it.
A clue maybe is that the same issue can be seen in the Key Attributes pane:
The text of both Attribute name and the data itself is at the top of the field’s space, rather than flush with the bottom, as is the norm:
So perhaps this is a setting that I changed inadvertently in the document properties?

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If you can spare that file, send a copy to Bernstein @ Eastgate.com for diagnosis. Reference this thread.

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Also worth clarifying which Tinderbox version and macOS you are using.

There is a general assumption here that people are using the latest public release of Tinderbox on the current macOS, unless they state otherwise. (On that note I’ve yet to move to macOS 15, and am on 10.14.6)

Sending it off now, thanks. I too am sticking with 10.14.6 for now.

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The difficulty here is that the outline layout must accommodate both different fonts and different font sizes.

I believe the current layout for one-line items sets the baseline to allow for the descender height, plus the font leading, plus the added leading. That would give you different baseline heights for different fonts if the fonts have very different descender heights.

I’m not sure what ought to be done here. A similar issue occurs in notes: if the text is supposed to be visually centered in the note, what precisely is vertically centered? The baseline? The center of a the lower-case “x”? The midpoint of the tallest ascender and the lowest descender? I’m not even certain there is an optimal position in a world where some people use lowercase titles, some uppercase, and some small caps.

Thanks, @eastgate Mark, I think I’ve figured it out. In a moment of madness I tried to change all the fonts at the same time by selecting all in Outline view and then changing the font. That affected not only the Names but also the Key Attribute descriptors and contents. But it didn’t affect, or seem to affect, those notes or prototypes added after the big change, hence (I assume) the odd spacing and placement of fonts. Temporarily fixed it by doing the same thing again, but I guess I’ll likely experience the same problem once I started adding new notes and prototypes.

What action did you take to do that?

Different attributes control fonts in different locales. I’m wondering what you did that would change name fonts as well as “Key Attribute descriptions and contents” (sic).

I’m wondering what you did that would change name fonts as well as “Key Attribute descriptions and contents”

I believe that $KeyAttributeFont defaults to $NameFont.

Indeed, selecting a bunch of notes and changing their $NameFont would change the font for those notes, but not the font of notes created in the future. To change those notes, you would want to change the default value of $NameFont.

That’s strange – especially since it’s not uncommon for name fonts to be larger than Display Attribute fonts.

If $DisplayedAttributeFont is not empty, its value is used for the key attributes table.

If $DisplayedAttributeFont attribute font is not empty, the value of $NameFont is used.

If $NameFont is also empty, the default font — currently Ideal Sans — is used.

The font size for the displayed attributes table is set separately by $DisplayedAttributesFontSize, which is typically set in the Windows menu.

@PaulWalters I did this:

  • Cmd A in outline
  • Cmd T (Show Fonts)
  • Choose a font

When I take those steps, it changes $NameFont but does not changes the font or size of anything in $DisplayedAttributes. I don’t think that’s what is described, above, but it’s what I see here.

When I take those steps, it changes $NameFont but does not changes the font or size of anything in $DisplayedAttributes

I think it will when next you select the note, unless the note has a non-empty value of $DisplayedAttributesFont.


Can you share the document?