Find not Global

I don’t know if I am missing something - or if this will be a feature request. When I hit the find command in Taskpaper, it only searches for what is currently expanded.

I have learned that if I want to search globally in TaskPaper, I first have to select all, Menu - outline - expand all completely, and then the global search will work.

I would prefer that the global search worked without having to use expand all first.

I use Taskpaper a little different from others. I use TaskPaper to organize my writing projects. As I have just started on a new project, I have a lot of information to pull together into my TaskPaper writers draft document. I will do a global search from time to time when I can’t remember where a certain phrase is in my document. Naturally as I progress in organizing all my notes and getting clear on the direction of my writing, this will happen less and less. But now at the beginning, it helps to have this.

Have I missed how to do this, or is this a feature request? Thanks.

Yes, this is going to be one of the key features of TaskPaper 3. There were several discussions about the implementation and such about a year and a half ago. Jesse is going to write everything from the ground up, but I think that he will use a lot of what he is doing for his other program to implement most of those requested features. So… That means that it will be a while before this happens.

Thanks. I find it ironic that, I use TaskPaper for my writing and yet, Jessie offers a different app for writing that I am not at all attracted to. Please forgive my comments in advance as this is not intended as a slight to Jessie’s other program. It’s just that, it seems to be more focused on, a. what some see as a distraction free writing environment and, b. using Markup syntax. Neither of those things are things that I use or am likely to use.

I have a background in professional technical writing and editing. Word processing documents are something that I have mastered and that I enjoy using. Therefore Markup is never going to be of much interest to me. Again, please don’t take offense as I am not putting down Markup - only expressing my own personal preferences. I know some people really enjoy using Markup and in fact, that is one of the main features to all Jessies apps - just, not for me.

Distraction free writing is precisely why I love using TaskPaper in my writing process. But, when I say distraction free I mean I can option right arrow and only focus on a single heading for a while. When I say distraction free I mean I can go through my document and put in different tags to gather my document’s parts for focus in searches for the parts that I need to refine. I believe when Jessie uses the term distraction free it means seeing a document with limited distractions from menus and the screen. Again, not arguing against that, just observing what I use Taskpaper for.

TaskPaper is great for what I am doing now, assembling a book. Its a great plain text outlining tool. Yes, it was made for todo lists which, in another ironic twist, I hardly every use TaskPaper for. I regret that Jessie is going to focus on his writing program first as, to me, Taskpaper is a far superior writing program. Perhaps in his rewrites, Jessie would consider joining TaskPaper with his other writing program? Just a thought.

I will be delighted when his new changes trickle down to TaskPaper.

Again, in case anyone is misinterpreting my comments here, I am in no way criticizing Jessie’s work with his other programs. I am merely, humbly, reporting what I see from my own perspective from my seat at the Hog Bay TaskPaper table.

TaskPaper is an essential app for me.

Yeah. At the same time, I understand that Jessie makes a living selling software and that although Writeroom program is not as essential to one subset of his users, he still has a very ardent following there too. I am looking forward to see what he will produce and will surely purchase a license to support his one man effort. Several of the things you have been asking for have a writing emphasis that TaskPaper wasn’t supposed to have. The idea of working on Writeroom and create a strong foundation and libraries that can be used by TaskPaper and give it new writing superpowers :wink: is really good. Because adding those features almost required working from the ground up, redoing WriteRoom and using those parts will help TaskPaper keep moving and adding features in the future that are simply not possible today.

Yes, I totally respect that. I hope that Jessie does well with his business and my possible naive comments were only geared toward what I see from my seat at the table.

I have this idea in mind that, Jessie sells his apps for a certain price, a fair price, OK. Then I imagine, what if some of these ideas were combined in to a HogBay SuperApp? I don’t even know enough about the programming required to make everyone happy in a single app, and I don’t want to insult the ardent users of WriteRoom.

In my thinking, if Jessie had all the features in a single app, then perhaps he could charge more for the app. I have been finding my way with Mac Software since the mid 80s. Software titles come and go. I still miss FairWitness. As a Mac user I scratch my head why more people are not aware of how great TaskPaper is in the way I am using it. Then I think, if it had a few more tweaks it could be sitting higher in everyones work load. That was not me complaining that Taskpaper is missing features other than what has already been said.

TaskPaper is most definitely a writing app that also does very well with todos. When you write a lot of ideas out, whether for presentations, or publication, having the tools to write, organize your thoughts as you write, and also tracking calendar items, you have a very useful and professional writing tool.

I thought the current version was TaskPaper 3 … Is global find already in there?

You have to first select all and then select Outline/ “expand all completely”. Or perhaps just select Outline/ “expand all completely” is necessary as “select all” may not be necessary, it’s just how I do it.

Otherwise, if you are working in a section and the entire outline is not expanded, no, you won’t find what you are looking for if it is not in the currently selected level that you are expanded to.

Global find, as I am understanding this term, would mean that you would not have to expand all before searching for an item in a TaskPaper document.

Thanks for these hints. Is there a way to select the whole file (other than dragging the cursor through the whole thing)? And, when I search, it’s hard for me to know from which area of the file each finding has come - is there a way to number the lines or otherwise identify them?

My copy of Taskpaper is Version 3.8.4 (341) – is this the same as “TaskPaper 3”?

You can use Command-A to “Select All” in the current view.

Also use Command-Shift-H to “Go Home” that is go to the root of your document, so that you are not just focused into a subproject.

Also if your end goal is to expand all items see the command Outline > Expand All Completely.

And yes, Taskpaper is Version 3.8.4 (341) is version “3”. Though the very latest release of version three is currently 3.8.5 released on May 5, 2019.

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Understand its hard to implement global find. BUT WE NEED IT! Maybe a quick hack would be a save/restore to open close setting over whole document. So the work flow would be:

Push Open/close settings. ^A to open all tabs, then ^F to search. when done
POP Open/Close settings.

If you have a large document (exactly when you need FoldingText) it is critical to not loose all of your tab settings. Push/Pop is needed.


Reminded of this by most recent comment, thinking more…

First, I think the current behavior is right with respect to focused projects. When you a focused on a project search should search within that project.

Second, I’m not sure that the current behavior right with respect to folded items. If you a focused into a project, but that project has some folded items then it does make sense to me that the search should probably go into the folded regions. Other editors do this, and Command-Shift-F “Editor Search Bar” does this. I agree Command-F “Find Panel” should do the same thing. One drawback of this is that it will automatically expand areas of your outline as you jump through results. Maybe not always what you want.

Third, I also think it would be nice for an easy way to do a global search… ignoring any focused or folded state. For this I think a new “Go to match” pallet UI could be used. It would start out with just a text box, as you type matching lines would be displayed. Select a matching line to jump to it in your actual document. This would allow for searching entire document, but only changing current view if you find a match that you like.


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I think the real question is, how are people using TaskPaper? I love using focus to concentrate on a particular area. But honestly, I use TaskPaper for the most part for assembling long documents and for assembling many thoughts. Often I know - or I am pretty sure, that something is already in the document and I need to find where it is. That means a global search. For me this is true probably 99% of the time.

The way I see it, if I am searching globally I will certainly find what I am looking for in the current focused area.

TaskPaper is great for organizing my thoughts and beginning to structure my writing process. I need global find. Otherwise I will have to create a macro using Keyboard Maestro that first selects all, then expands all outlines, then triggers a search dialog.

From my perspective, global searching should be the primary function of all searches with TaskPaper. For one thing, it is very easy on a Mac to select find next, and find previous. The find and search process on a Mac is already easy. The Taskpaper environment to focus and unfocus is also very easy. Why over complicate the process by limiting searches to only being inside of a focused area since a global search also finds items within the focused area?

Added: I think that if you are using TaskPaper as it was designed to be used, for keeping todos and calendar dates and other tasks in a time relevant order, you would want to limit the searches to your immediate focus area. I can see that argument too.

But, once again, it all comes down to how you are using TaskPaper, doesn’t it?

ADDED MORE: What about combining TaskPaper with FoldingText? I understand that FoldingText is no longer being developed. I have always preferred the many features in TaskPaper to Folding Text. But, there are some things that I wish TaskPaper had such as bolding items within a block of text. Or, global searching. I would also love to see the possibility of adding a graphic in TaskPaper. But, TaskPaper is a plain text oriented environment which many people like very much.

Perhaps it would be an idea to develop a hybrid of TaskPaper and FoldingText that could go beyond plain text and implement styled or rich text - and graphics. Not trying to rock the TaskPaper world. I already know that I use it differently than others use it.

I am wondering if this might be a solution? Taskpaper is so very good at combining many ides, folding sections out of the way when you don’t what to focus on them, and then only focusing on sections you want to work on to the exclusion of everything else.

You can still expand the other parts and review your whole document. I am a complete and total fan of TaskPaper for allowing me to work in this way. Not to mention using the less files to change my working environment to suite my moods and to ease my eye strain with different font sizes, styles and paragraph spacing when I want to do that.

TaskPaper rocks!

P.S. I just tried FoldingText again and, it is not what I was looking for so perhaps combining TaskPaper and FoldingText wasn’t such a great idea. FoldingText doesn’t use less files and there appears no way to adjust line spacing at all so … no.

Thanks again for the comments.

I think what I’ll try to do next is just make find work as it does now… except make it search within folded items. That current behavior where is doesn’t seems clearly confusing. Assuming I get that working then I’ll consider other options after that.

Thanks. If you are putting lots of information into TaskPaper, which is after all the point of using taskpaper, it does make sense to easily find anything, anytime you need to find it, that is hiding somewhere in the TaskPaper document.