How to Use TreeTag
- Quick Start
- Network Files
- Tree View
- Detail View
- Configure Fields
- Configure the Tree
- Configure Output
- Configure Options
- Undo View
- Settings View
TreeTag shows an empty file list when it first starts. The "+" icon can be used to create a new file that can be modified and re-configured.
But a new file, with its simple structure, is probably not the best way to learn about and understand TreeTag. There are two built-in sample files that are better choices. Select "Sample Files" from the hamburger (three lines) menu on the left. Then either a double tap/click or a long press/click will open a listed file.
In the tree view, tapping/clicking on a title or grouping node (proceeded by small triangles) will expand or collapse the node's children. On a leaf node (proceeded by a dot), it will toggle from showing just a title line to showing multiple output lines.
A long press/click on any node will show details in a detail view. The "+" icon in the top bar can be used to create new leaf nodes. If a leaf node is being shown, the pencil icon will allow its data to be edited.
All leaf nodes are automatically placed into location(s) in the tree based on their data and the configuration of the tree. The "Edit Configuration" command in the hamburger menu will show controls for setting up the leaf node data, how they are arranged and how they are displayed. Please refer to the sections below for more information.
When TreeTag opens, it shows a list of files in the app's private storage folder. It will be empty the first time the app is run. A tap/click on a file name will select the file. A double tap/click or a long press/click will open the file.
In addition to opening TreeTag files (with a .trtg file extension), it can also import files from TreeLine (with a .trln file extension). Double or long tapping/clicking on these files will show a prompt to select a single node type to be imported. Imports should only be done from basic TreeLine files - formatting and complex field types are not currently supported.
If a file to be opened is not a TreeTag or a TreeLine file, it will try to import it as a CSV table. The first row becomes the field names, and every subsequent row becomes a leaf node. The file will have a simple tree structure that can then be configured manually to add more categories.
In the top bar, the "+" icon can be used to create a new file. When a single file is selected, it will instead show an "i" icon, used to show file details (path, modified time and size).
The three-dots icon shows a menu whose commands vary depending on how many files are currently selected. There are commands that can copy a file to or from an external folder, make a local copy of a file, rename a file, or delete a file.
Selecting "Sample Files" from the hamburger (three lines) menu on the left shows a list of available samples. A double tap/click or a long press/click will open a sample. If the sample is edited, a modified copy will show up in the app's working storage folder.
Once a file is opened, the "Close File" command in the menu will return to the file list.
TreeTag can interface with a Kinto storage server to access files from multiple devices or locations. You can either install and run your own server or choose a low-cost cloud provider.
The server information is entered under the Settings item in the hamburger menu. The Network Address is set to the full URL of a specific bucket object on a Kinto server. The Network User Name must also be set. Setting the Network Password item is optional. If not set (the more secure option), TreeTag will prompt you for the password once per session.
Use the Local and Network Storage items in the hamburger menu to switch between network and local storage. The file list and commands work basically the same way under both. The upload and download commands can be used to copy a file from one storage area to the other. Note that only JSON files, such as TreeTag and TreeLine file formats, can be stored in the network.
In the tree view, title and grouping nodes are proceeded by small triangles. These nodes can be tapped/clicked to expand or collapse the node's children. The leaf nodes, proceeded by circles, contain the data. They have no children but they can be tapped/clicked to toggle between showing a single title line (the default) or multiple output lines.
A long press/click on a tree node will show a detail view listing that node's children (for title and grouping nodes) or the node output (for a leaf node). On wide screens/windows (generally on desktops or tablets), the detail view is shown to the right of the tree view. Otherwise it temporarily covers the tree view. The detail view is described in the next section. The tree view will highlight current parent or node in the detail view.
The "+" icon in the top bar will create a new leaf node and show it in an edit view. Once the editing is complete, the new node will be properly placed into the tree. In many cases, it's easier to start new nodes when the detail view is showing a group or leaf node, since at least some of the fields will initially be populated to match the group or leaf.
The magnifying glass icon will show a search view for finding matching leaf nodes. If the detail view is showing a grouping node, search results will be limited to the children of that group. If the detail view is showing a title node or no node, all leaf nodes will be searched. Note that searching is not available if a leaf node is being shown. The search view menu can be used to set the search method to a phrase, keywords or regular expressions. Note that only regular expressions are case sensitive. As a string is typed in the top bar, matching nodes will be shown in the main view. Tapping/clicking on a resulting node will select it and show its full output, with the matching text highlighted. The last node selected when leaving the search view will become current in the detail view and expanded in the tree. There is also a replace option in the menu when searching by phrase or regular expression. When searching with regular expressions, adding "$1", "$2", etc. in the replacement string will substitute matching groups from the search results.
The hamburger (three lines) menu includes commands for the configuration editor, the settings view and the undo list, all described in subsequent sections. There is also a command to merge the data from a second file. The second file should have similar fields, but any missing fields will be added as necessary. Otherwise, the configuration of the current file is kept. Finally, there are commands to export the current data to a TreeLine file, to a CSV file or to an indented text file. The CSV export gives options for field text to be as output (same as displayed) or as stored (better for re-import). The indented text export gives options to include titles only or all node output lines.
If started from a title or grouping node, the detail view shows a list of that node's children. Child title or grouping nodes show the same line of text as is shown in the tree view. Child leaf nodes show the lines that are configured in the output configuration.
Tapping/clicking on a child title or grouping node will show a new detail view with that node's children. Tapping/clicking on a child leaf node will show a new detail view with that node by itself. Tapping/clicking the left arrow above the view will return to the previous view.
Tapping/clicking the "+" icon will create a new leaf node and show it in an edit view. If started from a view of a grouping node or a leaf node, at least some of the fields will initially be populated to match the group or leaf.
A detail view showing the children of a title node or a grouping node will have a three-dots menu. This menu includes commands to edit or delete all descendant leaf nodes. The edit command will show an edit view filled with data that is common to all nodes. The edits from adding or changing any fields will be applied to all of the nodes. The delete command will remove all of the descendant leaf nodes. Deleting with a title node as the current parent will remove all leaf nodes from the file.
A detail view with an isolated leaf node will show edit (pencil icon) and delete (trash icon) commands. The edit command will show an edit view for this leaf node. The delete command will remove all instances of this leaf node.
Also, text can be selected and copied from an isolated leaf node in a detail view.
The Fields tab of the Configuration view lists the fields that are defined for leaf node data. Tapping/clicking a field name toggles its selection. There are icons above the list to create a new field ("+"), edit a field (pencil), delete a field (trashcan), or move a field up or down (arrows).
Editing a new or existing field shows a form with the field name, type, initial value, and default prefix and suffix. When done editing, use the left arrow at the top to finish editing. There is also a reset button on the upper right to restore previous settings.
The available field types include Text, LongText, Choice, AutoChoice, Number, Date and Time. The default type is Text. LongText is the same except for showing more lines in the edit view. The AutoChoice type allows prior values for the field to be selected from a pull-down menu, or a new value can be typed.
The Choice, Number, Date and Time types add a field format definition editor to the configuration edit form. Tapping on the format will show an edit view with oval chips for each segment of the format. The chips can be tapped/clicked to select them, and can be edited using the icons above the chips. The Number, Date and Time types show a format sample preview below the chips that formats an arbitrary value.
Configure the Tree
The Tree tab of the Configuration view shows how the title and grouping nodes are arranged in the tree. Tapping/clicking a node name toggles its selection. There are icons above the tree to create a new node ("+"), edit a node (pencil), delete a node (trashcan), or move a title node up or down (arrows). The new node button shows a menu for adding a title node as a sibling or child of the selected node, or for adding a group node as a child. The delete a node button shows a menu for deleting just the node or deleting the node along with its children.
Title nodes function as static headings in the tree. They form a scaffold that organizes and arranges the grouping nodes. The top level of the structure must consist only of title node(s). When adding and editing title nodes, a dialog box prompts for the title text. Deleting a title with the node only option will move any child nodes up by one level.
Grouping nodes contain rules that categorize the leaf nodes into groups. The rules consist of a field, sometimes combined with other fields or extra text. In the main tree view, the data from each leaf node is used to fill in the fields, and the resulting text strings become headings. Leaf nodes that match are placed under that heading. Group nodes can be nested to further subdivide the leaf nodes, but they cannot have any siblings and cannot have title nodes as children. Adding a new child title or group when there is an existing group node will move the existing group down by one level.
Nested group nodes can also contain the same field as their parent but with a different field format. For example, a group node with a date field could have a field format showing only the year, and a nested group could have a field format showing months as lower level headings.
Adding a new group node shows a rule line editor. Fields and text that are added show up as oval chips for each segment of the rule. These chips can be edited, deleted and moved to define the rule. Editing a field chip allows the user to define a custom prefix and suffix, as well as a field format for applicable field types. If not explicitly set, these will use the field defaults. Once the rule line contains at least one field, the line editor can be exited by using the left arrow at the top. Then a summary view for the group node will be shown.
The summary view for the group node is also shown when editing an existing group node. Tapping the rule definition at the top will start the rule line editor described above. Group sorting settings are shown below the rule definition. This defines how the group's headings are sorted. The default sorts using the fields from the rule line in ascending order. The custom button can be used to define other sequences. Finally, if the group node has no nested child groups, child sorting settings are shown below the group sort settings. This defines how the child leaf nodes are sorted. The default sorts using all of the fields in ascending order. The custom button can be used to define other sequences.
The Output tab of the Configuration view shows a title line followed by one or more output lines. The title line defines how a leaf node is shown as a single line in the main tree view. The output lines are combined to define how a leaf node is shown when expanded in the main tree view and in the detail view.
Tapping/clicking a title or output line toggles its selection. There are icons above the lines to add a new output line ("+"), edit a line (pencil), delete an output line (trashcan), or move an output line up or down.
Adding or editing a line shows the line editor. Fields and text that are added show up as oval chips for each segment of the line. These chips can be edited, deleted and moved to fully define the line. Editing a field chip allows the user to define a custom prefix and suffix, as well as a field format for applicable field types. If not explicitly set, these will use the field defaults. Once the line is not empty, the line editor can be exited by using the left arrow at the top.
The Options tab of the Configuration view shows an option to enable Markdown text formatting. If enabled, text entries with Markdown syntax will show formatted text in the Tree and Detail Views. Many guides to Markdown syntax are available on the web. TreeTag specifically supports the GitHub Flavored Markdown version. Clickable links to http and https addresses can be entered with the link text enclosed in square brackets followed by the address in parenthesis.
On desktop platforms, right-clicking on field text editors when Markdown is enabled will show a command to add a file link. This will show a file select dialog box to select the link target. Clicking on that link in the formatted tree or detail views opens the default application for that file type. An option in the Options tab is used to toggle between absolute and relative paths for new links.
Undo operations can be essential because TreeTag is continually writing changes to the file. The undo list is also stored in the file. It contains all undo operations that have not been explicitly deleted by the user. The undo items are listed from oldest to newest.
To undo some operations, select "Undo to here" from the three-dots menu on the earliest (highest) item to be undone. That item and the lower, newer items will change color to indicate that they have been selected. Exiting the view using the left arrow at the top will complete the undo operation. The undo can be aborted by selecting "Cancel undo" on the earliest item set to be undone.
Once operations are undone, they are automatically converted to redo operations. They can be redone the same as undo operations, by selecting "Undo to here". An exception is if undo operations prior to the redo operations are also selected to be completed. In this case the redo operations will become gray to indicate that they will be removed to allow the older undo operations to be completed.
Undo operations can be removed to keep the list manageable and to reduce the size of the TreeTag data file. To remove old undo operations, select "Delete to here" from the three-dots menu on the most recent (lowest) item to be removed. That item and the higher, older items will become gray to indicate that they have been marked for deletion. The deletion can be aborted by selecting "Cancel delete" on the most recent item set to be removed. Exiting the view using the left arrow at the top will complete the deletion. Once completed, deleted items cannot be recovered.
In TreeTag Settings, there is an option for the Days to Store Undo History. Undo operations older than this many days are not written to files. This does not remove undos currently in a session - it only affects what is written. So undo operations from the most recent changes will always be available, even if older than this setting. They only disappear after more changes are made (written to a file), and then the file is closed. Setting the number of days to 0 will prevent all undo operations from being written to files. Setting it to a very large number will effectively prevent undos from being automatically removed.
The settings view contains general customization options. Options not previously discussed include hiding dot files, enabling spell checks, tight line spacing, a dark theme, remember window geometry and a view scale ratio. File names that begin with a dot will not be shown if the hidden option is enabled. The red underline under misspelled English words is controlled by the spell check setting (currently, no suggestions are shown for misspelled words on desktop platforms). The tight line spacing option allows more lines to fit on the screen - it is recommended when using a mouse, but may not leave enough space for touch interfaces. A darker theme can be enabled in place of the default light theme. The window size and position will be restored from the previous session use if enabled. The view scale ratio can be set to make the content smaller or larger (useful for high-dpi displays).
On desktop platforms, there is also an option to set the working directory. This is where all files in the main file list are stored.