I spend a lot of time writing. Not only that, I write in several different mediums and collect bits and pieces of text in different formats. While I have developed ninja-like skills over the years at using arrow keys, delete keys, and the space bar to clean up text for further use, I’ve recently discovered this wasn’t necessary. I could’ve saved a lot of time and sore fingers with a simple tool called TextSoap.
TextSoap, developed by Unmarked Software, takes care of the tedious task of cleaning your text. The day I installed it, I received an e-mail from a colleague that was of the mistaken belief you need to hit return at the end of every line in your e-mail client. Yes, really. When I copied the text into a word processing document, chaos ensued. I ran the text through TextSoap and it cleaned out the extra carriage returns without breaking a sweat. At that moment, I knew I was in.
TextSoap is loaded with tools addressing all of the common text problems anyone who writes on a regular basis has come to dread. It includes over 100 built-in cleaners but also allows you to make your own custom cleaners and, for the daring among you, includes support for regular expressions.
My favorite cleaner is the generic “Scrub” that handles the most common cleaning tasks like removing extra spaces, fixing broken paragraphs, and removing those e-mail forwarding marks “>” that look like they want to stab every line of text. Most of the time, the Scrub filter is all I need.
TextSoap also includes automation support. You can script it in AppleScript or use its very own automator workflow actions. It is a simple matter to build your own custom services allowing you Scrub text without even opening the application. Simply select the text and fire off the service.
If you too have the ability to race through a document removing extra spaces in paragraph returns, maybe it is time did yourself a favor and automate the task. I used to look at improperly formatted text with foreboding. Now I get a sense of glee as I look forward to watching my TextSoap robot tear through naughty text files with abandon. A license for TextSoap will run you $40 or you can get a family 6-pack for $70. You can find out more at unmarked.com.
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