Tinderbox Forum

Why is this happening? Image inverts itself in Map view

I’m creating notes with images in the text and sometimes as soon as I add any text before the image, the image becomes inverted in the view in the map. I’ve spent 2 hours just trying to reliably reproduce it. It’s unfixable as far as I can tell in my “main” tinderbox.

Cutting and pasting between them results in the image in the map turning upside down in the main file, and the upside down image remaining upside down in the test.

What is happening??

I need to figure out how to attach a file to this post too.

Sample Crime Map.tbx (3.4 MB)

I now know how to add files!!

Whatever is wrong it is affecting like every other new note in my project. I am at a loss and I do not want to start over.


Trail and error tells me that in my main file, reducing the image size to 4" or less on the longest side seems to take care of the issue. It should do for my project, but WOW was that frustrating!

I took a look at your test file. The type of data you have in test is screaming for the use of attributes. Also, do you really need the image in Tinderbox?

You could use the $Fill feature to pull the image into Map view and an Markdown or HTML reference top pull it into preview. You can then create a prototype to swap the view of the different character attributes. I played around with a bit to try the Profile and Abilities attributes. check it out.

Profile view:

Abilities view:

This would leave you the text to write a profile about the user.

Breaking it out this way would give you so many options.

Here is the test file, I did not complete it.

Sample Crime Lab.tbx (2.7 MB)

Although you may insert images in the $Text of a note, this isn’t Word or indeed Photoshop; using Tinderbox as a visual graphics tool is building on sand. IOW ‘backwards-designing’ using what you can ‘see’ on a map won’t get you usefully to where you want to go.

It’s hard to comment on your image issue as the test file doesn’t contain images that cause the same problem (at least, not on my Mac here). As a rule of thumb:

  • use PNGs or JPGs (if you want a pic of a PDF, take a screen-grab rather than dump the PDF file into your TBX).
  • Use a file as small as possible. For instance, don’t ‘just’ dump a diginital camera photo to use as a 32 pixel x 32 pixel thembnail. This isn’t a graphics app. It’s not designed to scale/crop/whatever your images. That is our task, as the user.
  • Using map icons as a ‘viewer’ for mixed media $Text content is not ideal, from my experience. But, if it works, it works, otherwise you’ve hit the feature’s limits (indeed such usage was (as I recall) never a deliberate feature). Thus test if it works for you before committing to that as a workflow/style: for most uses.
  • Beware issue of scale. If a usable image+text icon takes most of your 13" laptop view pane space, how useful will the approach be when you have 50, or 100, such icons. There are no limits, no right/wrong, here except if it becomes unwieldy it is essentially the wrong overall choice (given other more scaleable approaches are available).
  • If possible, leave images until last in your document planning, as the other necessary layout, atrtribute, etc., choices will help indicate how images may help or hinder your task.

IOW, don’t get hung up on how things look before you’ve figured out what you’re trying to do.

@satikusala is on the right track here, I believe. Pretty much everything here wants to be an attribute. Numeric items like ‘Acrobatic’ skill want to be in a Number-type attribute so you can do mathematical operations on the number.

In something Acrobatics 2 (+5) it is unclear what the ‘(+5)’ is but likely it is a general limit or transform to apply to the first figure so might be stored in the same attribute (a Number-type user attribute Acrobatics) but in different notes.

Anyway, figuring that out will get you a lot further towards your goal than fiddling with the graphical glosses of images, at this stage in the project.

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Hi Michael,

Honestly I DON’T want the image files in Tinderbox. I envision Tinderbox as where I put my story ideas, session notes, and details about the people, plots, and organizations for the setting, and ideally images like for these criminal profiles are fulled from an image repository and displayed in the map.

I just don’t know how to get Tinderbox to play well with external files. One of the problems I’m having is not knowing what all is even possible with the application! Thank you for this. I will try to get it working as you suggest.

As for the character stats, figuring out how to manage those is a different part of the same project. Ideally I want to be able to format them in such a way that I can export them to a virtual tabletop that can turn them into playable objects. I am far too ambitious for my level of skill!


No disagreement from me on any of this. Thank you!

Good. Leave picture to the end. When that point comes, the relevance or not of pictures will be more evident.

Importing files, or exporting files, or both.

To help with that we need a clearly idea of what you are trying to do. Not the high-level description or what a successful result looks like in your minds eye. Rather more practical suff. Where is the source data. Plain text file? Copy paste for a Web page? Something else? All pertinent info. We know you want XML formatted data as an export, b ut we don’t yet know the format.

Part of the reason you are likely getting lost is you are trying to use as toolbox app (i.e. no one right way or one right tool) to do a task you’ve not yet fully clarified and broken into necessary steps. For instance, if you’ve not actually checked where the source data is and found a description of the format explaining the syntax of the stat’s stored data, you don’t know what to put where in Tinderbox. Once you know that then setting up the Tinderbox is relatively simple but guesswork won’t help but simply cause you confusion and erode your faith in the app.

As noted, that is in large part because this is a toolbox, not a single-purpose app and if you haven’t yet figured out what you need to do (in actionable steps, not overview) it’s basically a rummage in the tool chest. :slight_smile: So understanding what the stats mean (in their stored form) is crucial. I’m sure there will be a product-related or generalised gaming forum that can help you with that.

No a problem at all. Once you get the data in, exporting is going to be SUPER EASY. Have you seen all my videos? Mastering Tinderbox: Training Videos (Complete List).

Feel free to DM if you’re interested in specific project based advisory.

Returning to the original question and skipping the (good!) discussion of its advisability, we should be able to clear this up.

First, is the question of “Image inverts itself” a matter of

  1. The image appears like a photographic negative — white and black are swapped; or
  2. The image is upside down; or
  3. The image is rotated 180°

If it’s #1, this is probably indicating that the image is selected.

If it’s #2 or #3, this is probably a scaling error in Tinderbox. To resolve it, copy the image or note to a new document. Check that it’s still wrong. Then, send that new document to tinderbox@eastgate.com.

This is fair. And probably, I should have read more documentation/watched some of Michael’s videos before embarking on too much.

There are multiple things I want to get out of Tinderbox, and I believe Tinderbox is the right toolbox for them (though it’s possible there are other pieces of software that I could use).

My first and arguably most important use for Tinderbox as relates to my hobby of running tabletop RPGs (via Zoom and virtual tabletop software like Fantasy Grounds or Roll20) is to use it as a note organizer for RPG campaigns. I have several categories for notes that I organize and reorganize arbitrarily and move around. The note categories tend to be things like “Important NPCs”, “Organizations”, “Places”, “Session Ideas”, “Session Notes”, “Brainstorms”. To me it’s like a mind map and a notebook all at once.

I am not disciplined in what ends up as a note. See below for an example. I’m running a game in the Fate RPG system I call “Fringe Victoriana.” It’s set in the 1880s primarily in London, with trappings of supernatural and horror. I had heard about an early 20th century woman named Alexandra David Néel, about whom SOMEONE needs to make a movie, and wondered whether I could fit her into the game somehow and if so, how, and I threw the info into TBX.

If I were disciplined, I would probably learn how to tag all this stuff based on one or more categories so I could make better sense of it and refer to it in the future as needed. I still might. But in general, seeing the related stuff all in once place in a single pane generally helps generate ideas that lead to the creation of more notes, and thus more session material.

So the source data here is largely plain text I cut & paste from the internet or generate from my brain. Because a given plot can span multiple game sessions and pull in lots of elements, I need something like Tinderbox to really organize it in a way I find meaningful. I’ve tried OneNote, Personal Brain, Scrivener, iThoughts, VoodooPad and a few others. They all “work” to an extent, but none of them have the flexibility TBX has. I’d give a lot for VoodooPad style auto linking tho, but robust search almost makes up for that, and overall VP just isn’t visual enough for me.

A sort of subset of this use is that I also want to be able to use Tinderbox as a sort of conspiracy map/syndicate map for another game. This one is set in a hybrid Marvel/DC/Wildstorm comics universe and as such is very visual. Ideally I would love to have a small image of the individuals or locations on this map. (What is small? IDK; 3"x3"? I have a ridiculous 27" Retina monitor so I don’t think in normal image sizes anymore :D)

My second, less well-thought-out use for Tinderbox in my hobby is as a play aid at the virtual table, as opposed to just a notebook. Let me caveat by saying that as it is, I could use these Tinderbox files in a face to face game and run it competently. The difficulty is working with online RPG tools. I am a huge advocate of putting everything you can in one bucket (or at least being able to view or access it by looking in that bucket). So I want to collect my artwork, props, visual aids, etc, in a folder in iCloud and look at them in Tinderbox. One of the problems with VTTs (virtual tabletops; Roll20 and Fantasy Grounds are the ones I use) is that if you want to provide a handout or visual aid, you have to stick it into the VTT via their method. Similarly, if you want to create an NPC or monster that you can use, you have to input it in a format that system accepts. All this can result in double work. I was hoping to be able to do two things: 1) be able to click on my thumbnail in the crime map or Map view or whatever and open an image in a system viewer I can share via Zoom so I don’t need to mess with the handout interface for a visual aid I already have; and 2) figure out whether TBX can let me export the data in a character to a format I can then import into my VTT. This last point is sort of a holy grail, but not being able to do it shouldn’t prevent me from doing the rest of my stuff.

Oh I gotta go make dinner. Thanks for listening!

Seems like there are a couple French films about her, and some documentary footage too. Good call, though. She seems fascinating.

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My personal take is that your ideal path could begin with attending the Saturday meetups. The first few sessions may seem overly complex and a little cryptic - but all attendees are at varying levels of Tinderbox expertise, and it’s a good time for all!
Over a few weeks, things will begin to make sense; pretty soon you should find yourself making inroads on your own project files, copying and re-purposing bits of code, learning when Map View is more practical than Outline View (and vice-versa), figuring out exactly WHERE the chunk you put in is hiding, and so on.

In your place I would adopt an html-style file/folder organization style as well (folders for /images, /thumbnails, etc) for all external content, and link to it. Thumbnail and image usage - @mwra’s advice is golden on this. Deploy links to your thumbnails, and find an app or AppleScript to drag-drop your images (like LemkeSoft’s Graphic Converter) to generate your thumbnails.

Many of us have traveled the silk route of note apps, mindmaps, databases, and so on to get to Tinderbox.

As @mwra indicates - too many images means a lot of work for the app. What is possible via thumbnails and so on may not be feasible in terms of the time it takes to build something that looks exactly like you want - while still maintaining the eventual functionality you think you’ll need. But it’s a worthwhile exercise!

You could likely code something that does this for you… perhaps not by “clicking on a thumbnail”, but certainly selecting and exporting/emailing selected Notes as data/files. The export process would incorporate your images and so on, so that the final html or pdf or rtf file could contain all you need it to.

Tinderbox allows many kinds of export, you might well find one that works to bring your completed data into your VTTs. The native file format is .xml.

If this is a deal-maker option for you though, I would recommend generating some sample files and doing a test export/import to your destination app of choice.

Among Tinderbox’s great strengths is its leniency to users building and altering the structure of their accumulated data - you’re therefore somewhat free of the pain of re-organizing as you learn. Getting your information into the app in the form of Notes is only the first step, once you become familiar with the manipulation/management options available to those Notes, things get very speedy indeed.

@satikusala’s comment re: Attributes is spot-on - seems like your application will benefit from applying a few and seeing what happens.

Good luck.


I didn’t read that far down the page. /blush