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In a large tab-indented list, it can often be useful to be able to assess the levels and sub-levels of hierarchy that the list contains, to be able to step and jump between the beginning of each branch, or to be able to collapse or hide particular branches of hierarchy so that it is easier to concentrate on the branches that remain visible. The Tab-List Tools program provides all this functionality from the 'Tools > Hierarchy' page.


To perform a hierarchy assessment, you will need to clear any 'Blank Line' or 'Excess Indent' errors first. Once that has been done, click the 'Status Check' button. The results for the first level ( those lines with 0 indents) will be shown in the 'Hierarchy' panel. Assuming your file is not just full of Peers, the uppermost drop-down control will now read 'Step' and the label to its right will report how many branches it has found.


So, what is happening here? Well, the program identifies the difference between the start of a Branch, and peers that do not contain any branches. Starting from the zero-indent level, it will find every start of a branch, and add a colored marker in the Hierarchy Margin ( the right-most margin of the four Workspace margins). If you click on one of the colored markers, it will hide the branch, plus any peers, until the start of the next branch. Click the marker again to expand the text again and show the hidden lines.


When a drop-down control says 'Step', this means that you can step between all hierarchies on that level, using the First/Next/Prev/Last buttons, just like a VCR. The step index and the total steps are shown on the label to the right of those buttons.


If you want to assess the hierarchy that is contained within one of the levels that you have previously found, click the drop-down control that says 'Step', and it will open up to show the line numbers of each of the branch-starts that it has found. Select one of those values, and a new hierarchy check will be made: you don't need to click the 'Status Check' button again. The count for the hierarchies contained within that second level, starting at the selected line number, will be shown adjacent to the second drop-down control. The second drop-down control will now say 'Step', meaning that you can step between all hierarchies on that level.


If, however, no more hierarchies were found above a selected line-number, a box will open telling you that the level only contains Peers. Click 'OK' then return the drop-down to read 'Step' again, or select a different line-number to perform a check from that starting point.


You can repeat this hierarchy check for up to four levels of depth. More that this was not felt necessary. At any time, you can change one of the upper drop-down controls to read 'Step'.


To clear the hierarchy indicators, click the 'Clear All Hierarchy' button.


You can also split a file into smaller sections using Hierarchy markers as indicators as to where each sub-file should begin and end. For more information on the splitting process, see the 'How to Split a List into Smaller Files' section. To perform a split, click the 'Status Check' button first to define the hierarchy for your current Workspace page, then click the 'Split File by Hierarchy > Split into Clip-Files' button.