Tinderbox Forum

Workarounds for importing notes with special characters or quotation marks

Hi All - just wanted to point out that when you import your text into Tinderbox (as a csv, via drag/drop, or other methods), [edit: updated per @eastgate's clarification below] Tbx MAY not be happy about importing the quotation marks within your text. As @eastgate states, this happens when the host exporting app doesn't encode your text file as UTF-8 format, So please specify UTF-8 format when importing any CSV's into Tinderbox.

[nb: This issue of UTF-8 import is not a concern if you're importing text into a Code-Prototype Note.]

Anyway - if you end up with text containing quote marks that for some reason or another break on Tbx import, one quick way out of this is to search/replace your text for special characters (there many ways to do this, AppleScript and so on; I just use find/replace).

Example - for quotation marks, you can use:
| Dec: 199 | Hex: C7 | « (left pointing guillemet) | Keystroke: Option-\ |
| Dec: 200 | Hex: C8 | » (right pointing guillemet) | Keystroke: Option-Shift-|

The kicker here is that Numbers supports automatically typing your quote signs as guillernets (set this in Preferences), so if you’re typing stuff into Numbers that will eventually end up in Tinderbox anyway, you don’t need to modify your typing habits.

Special Characters:
I have also had issues with other special characters in the past - “” (backslash… you can’t see it here either lol), “Ω” I’m pretty sure of (will append this list as/when possible for future reference).

Hope this is useful.

I’m not sure this is true! In fact, I know it’s not a general problem: I import text with quotation marks all the time.

Tinderbox does assume that your text files are saved with Unicode UTF-8 text encoding; this is nearly universal on modern Macintoshes. Dollars to doughnuts, encoding is the problem.

Here’s an idea: make a sample text file that shows the problem you’re having, and either post it here or email it. I bet we’ll soon get to the bottom of the problem.

Thanks for pointing that out! I did a quick test using both double-quotes and smart quotes, and was chagrined (not really, but…) that neither type of quote broke the Notes on import.

So I need to dig into this a little to find out which source app may be causing the hiccup. I’ll report with findings if/when I have them.

However, to be clear - there ARE some characters that do not come across into Tbx, correct? I’ve faced myriad issues during import in the past, even in some cases semi-colons coming across as “&%” or something. I haven’t had many issues lately, as I thoroughly clean my source content before flowing it into Tinderbox, so can’t back that up atm, but believe it to be so.

I’d be astonished at any document import failing to import a semicolon correctly.

But if a document claims that it is (say) UTF-8 and is actually encoded as MacRoman or Windows, well, that’s tricky. I suspect that’s the issue here.

I’m reassured by your confidence on this.

I have a flurry of Notes (across various Tinderbox project files) that were imported 3-ish years ago, and came in with a host of odd characters in place of punctuation “=&amp” or “=&” or “&gt&gt&gt” - all of these I recognize as html code - but was then (and am still) puzzled as to how hundreds of such characters ended up within my Notes.

To your point on a document falsely claiming its UTF-8 compatibility - I agree, this seems to be close to the source of my issues. At the time, I had mostly been importing csv’s. I spent hours find/replace-cleaning the errant Notes manually. I still have those old Tinderbox project files, and will also search for their import source, as I ought to have some csv’s or similar import-stage data files somewhere.