Textpad... SO MUCH MORE than "just" at text editor

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I love Textpad. I've written various plugs for it for it. (It is free, with full features, forever, and doesn't keep talking to home. If you are too mean… or genuinely poor… to pay the modest license fee, you only need to click "continue" from time to time. (I have paid for a single user/ multi-machine license, but sometimes it takes a while to get around to putting the details into a new machine. The nagging isn't enough to overcome my inefficiency.)

This page is as much for my own use as for anyone else's. It has random bits and pieces about Things You Should Do that I haven't time/ inclination/ discipline to put into a "proper" webpage. Maybe they'll get there eventually, but in the meantime, here they are, rough… but mostly ready to be of use…

Quick access to Search And Replace

Use f8! (It opens "search and replace"). Why not the button on the toolbar? No reason… if you are already interacting with the app with your mouse. It does the same thing. But, if at the moment you are typing on the keyboard, use the f8 *key*!

That's a general rule. Acquire the habit and you will be more productive. Swap back and forth between mouse and keyboard only when you need to.

Comparing files

The "Compare Files" tool is brilliant if you have two versions of something and you want to morph one of them to be constituted of the best bits of both, if you simply need to check what differences are present.

Several "tricks" to using it…

-In a moment, you will see the two files side by side. Let's say you want to compare files MyFileA and MyFilesB.

  • Close one of both if they happen to be open at the moment.
  • Open MyFiles*B* first.
  • Open MyFiles*A*
  • "Restore" them both (click on the middle icon in the upper right of the SUB-window, within the main Textpad window, so that the file's window does not take all of the available space within the app's panel set aside for the user's view of the document.
  • Rearrange the sub-windows showing you two main files so that MyFilesA is on the left, MyFilesB is on the right. Arrange them so that they fill the width of the Textpad window, got all the way to the top, nearly to the bottom… leave perhaps 2cm at the bottom unused.
  • Click Tools/ File Compare. That should bring up something very like what you had before… but in a single sub-window, with a divider down the center. Arrange that to use the full width of the screen, go nearly to the top… but don't quite cover the tops of the two side-by-side sub-windows showing your files. Use the window all the way to the bottom of the available space.

You're good to **GO!*

You closed the files first, then re-opened them, because the File Compare tool compares the two most recently opened files by default.

You opened MyFileB first, to put it on on the right-hand side of the File Compare tool's output.

Right… Now… USING what you've done so far…

You can scroll the File Compare tool's output in the usual way.

Anything in blue is present in both files, in similar… but different… forms.

If you see something in red, it is present in the left hand file, missing from the right hand file. On the right-hand side, blank lines with a "-" (minus sign) in front of them are inserted to "push down" the text below. This ensures that resumes lining up with the identical text in the file on the right after we get past the section where the left-hand file has extra material.

If you see something in green, it is only present in the right hand file. Blank lines with a "+" (plus signs) are inserted in the left-hand side to "push down" the text below for the same reasons as the minus sign lines.

But! You can't change what is in either file… in the output of the Files Compare tool's output!

However, because of the way we laid things out, it is easy to bring the display showing that file up in front of the Files Compare tool's output, make your change, and then, as easily, go back to the Files Compare tool's output.

By the way… you can have line numbers in the output of the File Compare tool. At the moment, me? Sometimes I get them, sometimes I don't. I don't know the secret yet. In the meantime, I just use search to find the right place in the file I want to edit.

When you've done your first revision, you can just carry on finding, dealing with, further differences, or you can run the Files Compare tool again. The results presented report the differences in the files as the stand *on the hard drive*. If you didn't save the file you edited, you will be asked if you want to. You should probably say yes. You made a backup of it was before this began, anyway, didn't you?


Don't overlook the "down arrow"/"up arrow" buttons in the upper left of your screen, slightly below "File" in the menu bar… The will jump you to the next place where there is a difference in the files.

Next topic…

You can't edit the files by making changes to them within

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