Ordinary Human Language

by Brian Crane

Exporting a Form Letter

When first learning Tinderbox, I thought of my notes as mini-word documents. When they were ready, I expected to be able to click “Print” and that they would just print. When this didn’t happen the way I imagined it would, I was pretty frustrated.

What I’ve realized with time is that this Word-style model is exactly the wrong way to think about what Tinderbox export is doing.

When I select the menu item “export a selected note” from Tinderbox, I’m not actually exporting a note. I’m exporting a template and that template is pulling pieces of information from my note to complete itself and generate the output I’ve requested.

In other words, Tinderbox’s export templates are like form letters.

To explain what I mean, I’m going to write a letter to send to one of the authors in my sample Tinderbox file and then turn that letter into a template that will let me generate a letter for each of the authors in the file.

The steps for doing this are:

1. Write the Letter
2. Make the Letter a Template
4. Assign the Template & Preview the Export
5. Format the Output & Exporting

The first time through, this process may seem complicated, but once you see how it works, it’s actually pretty straightforward (and even easy).

You can find a single page of instructions here.

Posted July 8, 2017