File names and paths when exporting to folders

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Topicscape sometimes changes filenames when importing a file with the same name as one already in that Topicscape. When exporting, it restores the original name (unless to do so would also result in a duplication of filenames).

When exporting topics as folders, Topicscape will replace any characters like \, /, :, ], =, etc. that are permitted in Topicscape but not permitted by Windows in folder names. It changes these to an underscore: "_".

Path length

A filepath is something that looks like this:

C:\Documents and Settings\Al\Desktop\Topicscape Box

If you try to export a large Topicscape to folders, you may come up against Windows' file-path limitations. The function "Export an entire Topicscape to folders" will try to reproduce the structure that you have built in the almost unlimited-levels environment of Topicscape. With deep structures and long topic names, this can easily exceed the 259-character limit for partition plus folder plus filename that Windows imposes.

Examples of a path length problem

Here is one example of a path that is too long for Windows to handle:

C:\Documents and Settings\Joe\Desktop\Marketing 'To do'\Acme Process- Marketing 'To do'\Marketing & Branding\Background reference material\Collecting payment\Payment gateway research\- Forums about payment servicesThe Warrior Forum - Should I choose WA script over 1Shopping Cart.mht

It is 283 characters long. Topicscape will detect that such a path would be created if it exported the current Topicscape with all its levels of topics expressed as levels of folders. It will therefore not try to make the export, but will produce a report. An extract of such a report is shown below. This report uses OPML to provide the convenience of expanding and contracting headings (click on the ► marks). See the section on Viewing OPML files later. The report shows in red the parts of topic or occurrence names that would exceed Windows' limits.


There is nothing Topicscape can do about these potentially too-long paths without breaking the match between the topic structure and the folder structure. And as the whole purpose of this function is to preserve a Topicscape's structure in folders, to make such changes would be pointless.

When this happens, if you really want to see a deep structure in folders as well as in Topicscape, you must shorten the topic names, occurrence names and reduce the number of levels to eliminate all the red text that indicates path length errors.

Topicscape will not export a Topicscape until all path length issues are resolved.

Three routine steps to reduce file path length

The first thing to do is export to a root directory: C:\ or D:\ for example. This is already a big improvement (35 characters shorter) compared with, say, C:\Documents and Settings\Joe\Desktop\

Next you could shorten the name of your Topicscape's 3DT file. If it's "Topicscape in Your Life.3DT" for example, you might rename it "TYL.3DT".

Finally, shorten the name of the Home topic. From the Favorites menu pick the - Home: entry, so that the Home topic will be made into the Current Topic, then change its name. This will be the name of the topmost folder exported, so having a short name here is a benefit throughout the folder structure.

These three steps will shorten the path length of everything else exported from this Topicscape.

Other ways to reduce the file path length

Generally when Topicscape is exporting to folders and files, it uses topic names as folder names and recalls original filenames. When only a filename breaks the 259 character limit, you can shorten that occurrence's name, and select the option at the foot of the Export panel to "Use occurrence names as filenames".

You may need to shorten topic names as well.

Back to: Exporting from Topicscape

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