Ordinary Human Language

by Brian Crane

Templates Are Like Mad Libs

When I was a kid, I loved Mad Libs.

For those who don’t remember, here is how they worked. Someone had a text, which would usually take the form of a story and which was missing important words. The kinds of words needed to complete the text were indicated by blank lines and grammatical or topical descriptors.

To play, the person holding the pad would ask for words to fill in the blanks: “I need a noun…an adjective…the name of a fruit,” etc. When all the blanks were filled in, the person with the pad would read the now complete “story” back to the group. The results were inevitably absurd and, to my 7-year old self, hilarious.

Tinderbox templates function by the same principle.

When making a template, you write your final output, but at key points the information you need is missing and you ask Tinderbox to retrieve it from your notes’ attributes.

Templates are as simple as that.

And if you’ve never done a Mad Lib...

First, my sympathies.

But second and more importantly, maybe you’ve used Text Expander?

If so, then think about its forms with fill-in fields. Templates function by the same principal with one important difference: Tinderbox can fill-in the fields on its own.

Posted July 8, 2017