TheBrain 12 expand/collapse mechanics, part 1

More details have emerged here:
Will update this once a new version is out (higher than 12.11).

Just realized that TheBrain 12 could export Notes as a PDF, so I added that. I mean…. I knew that, but I never had a use case before, so I didn’t think of it immediately.
Not exactly interactive, but it certainly looks good now! But for testing/understanding do load the original Note into TheBrain.

about this post:
So I wrote a post trying to figure out expand/collapse in TB12 in TB12 itself. Using all the cool Markdown features. Which of course didn’t nicely translate into this….. WordPress-Gutenberg-Editor thing.
If you’re reading this, just download the zip with the two .md-files and read it in TheBrain 12 yourself.
There’s even a NotesStyle to read it exactly like it was intended!!AnW9DTwVxi8MiPw8dJcojljVs95kxw?e=xGSR89

PDF download:

Downlaod the folder, open the .md-files and paste the content straight into two separate Thought Notes.
Open the Thought-folder of the blog-post Thought to paste in the .data-folder to see the image.
Import the .nstyle-file for maximum viewing pleasure.

If someone could tell me in the comments or TheBrain-forum how I can paste from TheBrain into Gutenberg (or the classical WordPress-editor) whilst also preserving images, checkboxes, center and left-alignment and color, I’d be very happy to hear it.
I’ve just gotten good at using all the bells & whistles it offers, don’t want to use a different editor for blog posts.
Iirc, publication-readiness was a main reason for choosing Markdown for TB11.
Not seeing that yet, but I have no idea what I’m doing here.

Also any way to get this page to look like my NotesStyle specifies in TheBrain?
That would be extremely cool.

Anything below this line is copied over from the Note and looks kinda terrible, because I’m not good at this WordPress stuff yet.



Part 2 would be, all the bugs and issues with it.
I’ll need to write part 1 first as a reference, though.
I’m literally need this reference on screen here, because otherwise I can’t keep them straight.
But I think it may be helpful for others, who are trying to use those too.

I’ll briefly describe all commands and what keybdings I set for them.
I recommend copying them, to follow along easily.

the commands

group 1 (toggle):

ctrl+F7 Notes>Expand/Collapse Toggle
Switch the expanded/collapsed state of the current line

group 2 (local):

ctrl+F8  Notes>Collapse here
Collapse everything possible in the current area of the note
ctrl+F9 Notes>Expand Here

Show everything in the current area of the note

group 3 (all):

ctrl+F10 Notes>Collapse all except here
Collapse all except here
ctrl+F11 Notes>Collapse All
Collapse all top level lines in the note
ctrl+F12 Notes>Expand All
Expand all lines so everything in the notes is shown



1# > 2# > 3# > 4# > 5#
Or in words:
Title>Heading>Sub-heading>”section”>”sub section”
Title, Heading and Sub-heading have various styling options in “Notes Style”.
As of writing sections and sub-sections are no longer listed in the official Markdown reference, but they’re still in the program.
A section is a bit smaller than a heading. A sub-section is the same size as a section, but for the collapse/expand hierarchy it is one level lower.

trivia and cornercases

what about tabbed list elements
  • bullet lists
  1. ordered lists
  • to-do lists
  • checked to-do lists
    • and their indented elements
    • of a different type
      • and their indented elements
        1. and all the other
        2. cases
        3. you could possibly think of

Bullet lists, ordered lists and to-do list-checkboxes work the same way.
You can mix and match list-elements however you like and it won’t matter for expand/collapse purposes.
An untabbed list element is always lower in the hierarchy.
Then you can keep tabbing to decrement a list-element’s position in the hierarchy.
caveat: I think it was more complicated than that, but I don’t want to look into it right now

what about color, bold and italics

Text color and background color does not seem to matter at all.:(style=”color:#ffff00″):

what about right-alined and left-aligned text for list-elements

–: I am unsure, but I think that they don’t
:-: really support tabbing in the first place
:-: ##### …right-alined and center-aligned #-elements
Go away, please. I’m getting a headache 😦
:– ##### do #-elements even support center and left-alignment?!
Center-alignment works for 4-#. Left-alignment doesn’t.
I’ll just assume that’s the general rule for now.

what about pasted-in images

no clue

general expand/collapse rules

Everything collapses to the next highest level.
I tested this without gaps in #-count.
I’ll just assume that’s true generally, though.

how do commands work

Right-click menu in the Note.
Using a keybinding or /command.
Left-clicking on the left edge of Note on the little down-chevron or right-chevron

where do commands work

Group 3 commands work everywhere.
Group 1 and 2 commands work only on the line, that has a chevron.

why can I see group 1 and 2 commands on this non-chevron line?

Because that’s s a bug.


I call them chevrons, because that sounds cooler than caret.

show me a picture!

Happy now?

No. Why is there no chevron at the last 4-# element

Simple, there’s no text below it.

when/how can I see them?

Down-chevrons are only visible when the mouse cursor hovers over the left-edge of the Note.
They show that you can click on them to collapse text.
Right-chevrons are always visible.
They show that you can click on them to expand hidden text.

group 1 (toggle)/left-click on chevron:

ctrl+F7 Notes>Expand/Collapse Toggle does the same as left-click on chevron.
It’s pretty great. Kinda makes the most intuitive sense.
You don’t see the down-chevron on the line with the text-cursor, but that’s not an issue really.

group 2 (local):

They also are only available on a chevroned line. Except this time, it’s way less intuitive.
They collapse everything possible in the current area of the note. And now I know what you’re going to ask….

what on earth is “the current area of the note”

Collapsing the “current area of the note” always collapses the current line’s text. But also collapses all #-elements and above below it, that are of equal #-count. The reverse for expand.


I know. Just play with the example Note, till they seem reasonable. Also play with this Note. There’s lots of things to expand and collapse.

group 3 (all)

Collapse all and expand all work as you’d expect and they work everywhere.
They collapse everything collapsible and expand everything expandable.

what about “Collapse all except here”

I wish you hadn’t asked me that. “Collapse all except here” does…. things.
It is the Schleswig-Holstein question of Collapse-command and probably the single-most convoulted and weird feature in TB 12.
I can kind of intuit what it does and I don’t like it.
To play around with it, press ctrl+F10 and ctrl+F12 in quick succession. Then you try putting it into words.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: