Tinderbox Forum

Structuring dictated note for import

Admin note: moved to new topic to avoid thread drift

I think that http://www.eastgate.com/Tinderbox/forum//YaBB.cgi?num=1485899207 is asking about what I am trying to do, but can’t describe. He is writing rich text in another program and wants to import that text in tinderbox so that he can organize it and think about it more easily. Anyway. that’s what I want to do. I tried doing it in Scrivner, but it is too focused on the end product of literary production. I am far from producing a polished document. I am trying to organize data and ideas.

I am assuming that TBX will help me with that thought process. But, because the “data” is a lot of text that I am dictating in a normal rich text document, I want a way to break it up, so that I can more easily organize it.

My work process is dictate, then re-organize data.

If it would help, I could put code around the section, text, names of notes… Bullet points are only for each paragraph. I want sections containing many paragraphs. In an outline that is notes within notes (I think). A title/note name for each paragraph might be ok, but cumbersome.

The obvious question to ask here is why not dictate into Tinderbox notes? The wider point in the linked document is the user is expecting Tinderbox to recognise ad hoc styling in an RTF document probably made in something like Word.

Explode is not a parser for Word documents. Rather it is a powerful text splitting tool that supports custom delimiters, but one level of delimiter. It is not designed to guess what the user intended as a second level heading vs a third level heading. If you want Explode to unspool nested levels of outline, you’ll have to explode first all the level 1 items. Then, separately, each level 1 could be exploded to level 2 items. That’s cumbersome and not really the intent of Explode.

If dictating externally, even if into an RTF doc don’t use (visual) styling to record structure. Just speak the necessary structure, then Tinderbox has something you can search for to build structure.

My suggestion is either dictate into Tinderbox notes. Or dictate text elsewhere in a form that it is easy to explode using existing features.

Thanks. That was a clear answer.

Why not dictate into TBX? Answer: Mac dictate is far inferior to the PC equivalent. It also, shows no sign of improving. I use the mac version for simple tasks, but it is not very efficient. I dictate to increase efficiency.

TBX is only for Mac right?

So, what program could I dictate into that would fit the structure of TBX but is available on a PC and could be converted into a Mac document? My PC dictation software will dictate into anything. So I am looking for a program that would allow for titles and text window input into each note?

Thanks. That helps give context - the original question didn’t sate the requirement to start on a PC. The issue isn’t a case of “dictate into that would fit the structure of TBX” because there is no direct map form (Word?) RTF heading and bullet styles to TB. Explode allows you to split a long run of text into many pieces using one or more instances of a single delimiter. In that content a heading level 1 and heading level 2 marker would equate to two discrete delimiters.

If you want to go the explode route, don’t use (or expect to re-use) RTF styling. Instead make your notes so the first sentence of each paragraph is a note. For instance:

This it title one. Text for note one, etc.

This is title two. this is text to note 2.

Then import the text, Explode the paragraphs (the default delimiter of items), using sentence #1 as the title and omitting the title from the text.

If you need to dictate multi-paragraph notes, use a custom delimiter, something you won’t find in your text like 4x#. thus

####This it title one. Text for note one, etc.

This is title two. this is text to note 2.

Now, do as above but specify the note delimiter as #### and tick the both to remove the delimiter.

As to the structure of the notes, if you can’t remember that from dictation to post-import, I suggest you dictate status like heading level or bullet point as part of the text and use that to help you set the Tinderbox outline. Otherwise, just drag/drop (or use keyboard shortcuts) to manage the exploded notes into the outline you want.

To recap. Tinderbox doesn’t parse an outline from RTF styles. You need to place markers in your text to (a) let Explode correctly find the note boundaries and (b) optionally to remind you of the desired outline structure.

Different approach for plain text or RTF _tab-indented_ text outline. If you type your notes as single paragraphs and intend 1 tab stop per outline level, you can copy/paste the text and Tinderbox will detect and honour the outline. It will create an 'imported outline' container with your source outline recreated as sparate outline notes, i.e. 1 tab = 1 outline level lower). _Note: as at writing (v6.6.5) there is glitch where each new note gets created twice. this is already fixed and the fix will be in the next public release)._

Hi Mark,

I think I understand. So if I want to have have notes inside notes (which is the equivalent of level 1 and level two headings/paragraphs, I need to explode the note inside the note again. That is, do the explosion process twice.

If I want to decide me note title ahead of time, maybe that is impossible in an mechanized sequence such as explosion. I just use it to start the paragraph with its title maybe add ---- for clarity and paste it in when I do the clean up.

That sound easy enough. Even notes that were dictated without those symbols to indicate paragraphs etc, can be added later for a document that I want to explode.

I like this because I don’t need to have the mac with me and I can be planning this structure ahead of time.

You are also, saying that hidden text such as a tab mark can serve as a delimiter.

I wonder what you mean by TBX will “detect and honrour the outline.” Since that option suggests that either there is one or two tabs, I have a hard time imagining how TBX could differentiate one tab from two tabs. Maybe my idea that two explosions are necessary is incorrect.

I will try the first option and report back if I have trouble.


Don’t forget the app sees all characters, even no printing ones so can tell apart 1 tab from two as you or I can look at ‘a’, ‘aa’ and ‘aaaaa’ and see the different number of similar letters.

I’ve corrected my post above as it appears detecting a tab-indented outline needs the dropped/pasted text to be RTF. But as you point out the explode method is better for you.

You are correct that to explode 3 levels of outline you’d need to explode level 2 out of the initial level 1 explode. Then, the same for each level 2 note with level 3 inside. As you can see this is a lot of exploding. This not the method I recommend. I suggest you dictate so every would-be note can be exploded as a discrete note. Then you take that flat list and demote items to children as needs be. For the latter, if necessary dictate a marker as to the intended nesting level. In outline view, demoting a note is a simple as selecting one (or more) notes and pressing the Tab key and they more to be children of the note preceding the selection. Made a mistake? either use undo or (re-)select and use Shirt+Tab to re-promote the notes as siblings of their parent.

Try this latter method in a new test document and you’ll see how simple it is - simpler and all these necessary descriptive words may make it seem. Let us know how you get on.

Re the tab-indented outline. After more testing and checking with Eastgate, you can make a tab-indented outline in text (one tab per-level) and either copy/paste or drag/drop it to a Tinderbox view pane. Tinderbox with then recreate the outline in Tinderbox inside a new ‘imported outline’ container.

Earlier confusion was caused by having an ‘orphan’ item in my test text. Due to BBEdit-s auto-indent my level 3 item had 3 tabs not two. In such a case - where one or more items is invalidly nested - the drop/paste action into a view will make a new note with paragraph 1 as the title and the whole imported text as the note text.

The latter makes a good structure check - if the tab-indented outline doesn’t import correctly - check the tab-indents at source!

Personally, for things like this I use Note -> Split. So I’ll type a bunch of stuff into a note, then to process it into individual notes I go through and split it.

I find that the time it takes to insert delimiters and get the explode to work right (I never get it right the first two times), I’m better served by manually splitting at the exact points I want to split.

1 Like

I agree with Pat’s comment, and I do the same in whatever note-taking tool I’m using. The additional time taken to manually split notes is not lost effort (to me); it’s an efficient way to get my mind wrapped around the content of the notes again.

1 Like