Tinderbox Forum

Tinderbox Scholar - preview and export documents using Pandoc

This is somewhat experimental and still a work in progress, but there is a lot it can do already.


  1. Start by downloading and installing Pandoc.
  2. Once you have done this, go to Pandoc Preview 1. It is already set up to convert to HTML (this is what we need for previewing our work in Tbx). Now…
    • If you have a bibliography file in JSON or BIBTEX, change the path to the correct location, otherwise, just leave it blank.
    • Again, if you have a bibliography style file of your choice, change the path, or leave it blank.
    • All paths must start with ~/ instead of /user/YourUserName/
  3. Should you need multiple settings to be available for experimenting and working with different markup-languages, we’ve got you covered. There are 5 Pandoc Preview configuration notes and one does not affect the other in any way.
    • If there is, however, any attribute value that should be shared by all of them, you can modify the prototype directly (Pandoc Preview) for all of them to inherit it.
    • It is important to note that the $HTMLPreviewCommand that you see in Pandoc Preview 1 is just for testing the stamp (Stamps>Pandoc>Use Pandoc Preview 1 to update HTMLPreviewCommand) and making sure everything checks out. For the setting to have any effect, apply the stamp to the prototype or note of your choice.
    • You could, of course, take the stamp code and add it to the prototype as an $Edict, but I prefer not to have $Edicts running unnecessarily.
  4. Once you have set up Pandoc Preview 1 go ahead and apply the corresponding stamp (Use Pandoc Preview 1 to update HTMLPreviewCommand) to the Pandoc MD prototype and then head over to Thesis. You should be able to preview the content of the whole outline branch now. There are 9 CSS styles to choose from. Enjoy.
    • Sidenote: over here we call “thesis” the work you need to get a Ph.D., while a dissertation is for a Master’s Degree. This seems to make more sense to me, seeing that a thesis assumes a new and original position to be argued for, while a dissertation just fulfills the need to prove that you are able to dissertate observing strict scientific and academic rules. But go figure…


The same goes for exporting: there are different notes with settings to make sure you have ready-made export options (e.g. to docx, latex, pptx, HTML, and so on). You can export any note and its children using one of five pre-configured export settings.

The YAML header in the thesis note is only relevant if one is exporting to LaTeX or PDF. It was set up to work with a LaTeX template I prepared/adapted for my own Ph.D. thesis. If there is interest, I can do an English version of the template, but, in principle, it should be more relevant only within the Brazilian academy as it conforms to its standards and regulations.

The File

Here is the file: Tinderbox-Scholar.tbx (495.3 KB)

For the latest version, check the github repository instead:

I still have much to learn, so suggestions to improve upon this are more than welcome.

@abusch and @satikusala, perhaps this could be useful to you.


LOVE THIS!!! Can we schedule a time to do an recorded interview for the YouTube channel on this? You can walk us through a demo.


Of course, Michael. Just let me know what you have in mind and when would be a good time for you. (Friday and weekends work best for me).

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Many thanks, Bernardo - this looks fascinating and for me opens up a whole new area of possible use of Tinderbox. I look forward to integrating the documenting / exploring / thinking parts of my work with the jotting down / writing parts.
And I wish you the best of luck with your thesis - fingers crossed!

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Can you explain in a bit more detail how the export works? I am stuck trying to export your example to pdf or docx. If you could add similar steps as you did for preview that would be great - many thanks!

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@abusch, I just pushed some changes to the github file with several improvements to make setting things up easier. Let me know if it makes sense and if you managed to get it to work.

This is so kind of you, Bernardo - many thanks! I hesitate to say that although I tried (even installed MacTeX in the course of it) I do not get it to export anything. Also, I do not understand how I can pick between the various CSS styles…

Just published the interview with Bernardo. We go through his process in detail. Enjoy!


Thanks - I look forward to it! Can I express my thanks again for your work and the many videos? A real service for the Tinderbox community.


Thank you. The support and recognition mean a lot. The undersung hero of all of this, however, is @mwra. Without Mark’s steadfast tutelage none of this would be possible. And, we can never forget all those that show up for the Saturday meetups, including yourself, that inspire so many ideas.


I tried to load the tinderbox file Tinderbox-Scholar into TBX9 and may be the tinderbox file needs updating? Also the link to github leads to an error (not found).

Try this one Release New Pandoc-Tinderbox 2.0 · bcdavasconcelos/Pandoc-Tinderbox · GitHub

Thanks a lot, this was fast!

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