Graphics: June 2009 Archives

That Text is Too Rich For Me

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There are a lot of tech trends out there to comment on, but one of the sillier, in my opinion, is the tendency for cut and paste to capture formatting as well as text. Capturing format is useful if you are moving a table or a paragraph from one section of a Word document. The same is true for text blocks in Photoshop and bullet points in PowerPoint.

But what about BETWEEN applications? The truth is that it's rarely so useful. Normally I want the data in the string (e.g. the URL or a portion of a Web page); rarely do I care exactly what font or color it's in. Imagine preserving formatting of text from 10 different Web sites in 1 Word document. It's not a pretty sight.

Yet I find myself constantly reformatting text from Web pages in Word, PowerPoint and even in my database (really - who cares about capturing format there?). Even Stickies - simplest text editor ever (virtual Post-it notes for the non-Mac audience) is not safe. I just had to unformat some text pasted from Word. Somehow, allowing formatting into a document now means it will be preserved in the paste operation.

The complaint of wanting consistent text formatting may sound trivial, but it does speed processing of reading if everything is a consistent font. Plus, it's not as ugly.

I do have a solution though - I just open a copy of BBEdit and paste the formatted text there will all formatting will be instantly removed (Yes!) and then copy and paste into the second application. In case you're wondering why I'm wasting a blog post on this...all I have to say is that 5 minutes here is less time than the cumulative time it takes to unformat or move it through BBEdit.