Tinderbox’s export would surely be frustrating if you only ever needed the standard word-processor style export (called “print”) of the sort we produce automatically in other software. In its latest versions, that sort of output is now only a few clicks away but even these new automated export paths look different from the standard Print windows we’re used to from other applications. And that can be strange.
The trade off for this lack of familiarity though is a flexibility that allows you to produce many different kinds of output from the same notes and, importantly, without having to reformat those notes in any way.
To demonstrate this, I’m going to use the same sample file I used when creating a form letter to generate a simple MLA formatted bibliographic entry. Everything I write here will assume that you know what I’ve explained when showing how to export a form letter.
Create a Sample Entry
The best place to start is with a specific example of the output I want. In this case, I want a bibliographic reference for The English Patient. So I create a note and type out the sample. It looks like this:
Replacing the Specifics with “Blanks”
As in the form letter, it’s easy to identify what information would have to be changed if I wanted to write a citation for a different book. These are the pieces of information that need to be replaced by export code in my template.
What’s different this time around is that everything except punctuation will be replaced. (But that’s not a problem.)
Remember: to create a blank in your template, you use the ^value()^. By putting an attribute name in the parenthesis, you tell Tinderbox where to pull the information needed to fill in the blank.
In the sample citation I’ve written, there are five pieces of information that need to marked as blanks. Listed alongside the attribute that holds that information in my books notes, they are:
- author’s name ($AuthorLastName, $AuthorFirstName)
- title ($BookTitle)
- publisher ($Publisher)
- city of publication ($PublicationCity)
- date of publication ($PublicationYear)
Once I’ve worked through my sample citation piece-by-piece and replaced each of the specifics with the required export code, the sample citation now looks like this:
It’s a big change! But also a simple one to manage if you start with the sample rather than with a blank screen.
Now make your note a template by setting the prototype manually or moving it to the templates container and it’s ready to use.
Formatting the Exported Citations
Formatting matters in citations, so assign the template to a note and check the preview. When you do, you’ll see that the title isn’t italicized but everything else is okay.
So place the HTML tags <em> and </em> around the export code that pulls information from $BookTitle. Then check the export preview. it should look like the original sample.
From there you can assign the template to whatever note you want. Once you do, export will generate a properly formatted citation from that note.
And again as with the letter, this basic citation example can be adjusted and revised to create proper citations for any source you can write a sample for.
For other export examples, go here.