Text Clipping…

All we 7.5.x folks have them, and we know they’re cool. But what exactly can you use them for, other than making your desktop look as messy as your other desk or your refrigerator door. Well, I’ve found a couple of things for which they are very convenient, as well as a fairly easy way to keep them under control.

The first is for URL’s, those pesky internet addresses that you run into everywhere nowadays, so useful to take you “right there,” but such a bother to organize. If you’re online, you can just click on a hyperlinked address (or, in NewsWatcher, command. Click). But if you don’t want to go there right then, then you have to save the little bugger. Bookmarking works but then you end up with thousands. And if you’re offline, it’s not available.

So I text-clip ’em. First select a short suitable name (if any) from the surrounding text, and copy it (Command-C). Then select the URL (only the URL), and drag it off onto the desktop. It will become a text clipping. Now click once on its name, “text clipping,” and paste (Command-V). It now has the identifying name you copied. If there is no good name to copy, you’ll have to type one in. I like to add the letters “www” or “ftp,” so I’ll know who to drop it on later. It’s helpful if you have some other color than black as your highlight color, to be sure you’ve got just the name selected; otherwise the name won’t paste.

Now that you’ve named it, you need to put it in a folder right away to keep the desktop clear. I keep one named “Temp. ƒ” right on the desktop. (I actually have a “multi-folder” with five folders in the space of one icon, one of which is News Clips.)
Once in the folder they take up much less room, as small icons, or list views.

These URL clippings are pretty much the same as “bookmarks.” They can be dragged onto the open web page of a browser to go to that address, or they can be dropped on the icon of other Internet programs, such as Fetch. I find it better to store rarely (if ever) used addresses in a folder as text-clippings rather than load up my bookmarks with them.

Another great use for text-clippings is to get and store those little pieces of essential information you run across. You can get a whole pile and read them over until you know everything. And for classified ads: Take off the entire ad with the vendor’s info,
then just copy and paste the name and price onto the text-clipping’s name. Then you can just look in the clippings’ folder and compare prices.

This is the beauty of text-clippings; they are faster and more selective than saving an article, they open in the finder, and they each have their own name. They are kind of like visible clipboards, which survive restarts.

The main drawback is that not all programs completely support them. For example, Netscape 2 doesn’t let you pull words off (but that’s probably because of the HTML); Eudora Lite also doesn’t support them. One simple work around is to launch Apple’s little NotePad, which does. Copy and paste your text or URL into there, then drag it off and name it. And the NotePad quits with a click. There is also small freeware text editor, FinderNote, that allows you to create, save, and edit text clippings, if you should need to.

If you ever decide to put several clippings onto a text page, you can shift-click them, then drop them all in. They will be pasted in the order you selected them, though with no spaces between. If you have two windows open, you can drag-and-drop between them. (Note: this is for system 7.5 only)

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