Standards are good. It’s what makes electricity move, it makes the internet work, and makes text so you can read it. Mostly.
The problem with text is that there are many standards, text gets messy looking when moved from here to there, from document to document. How do you clean the mess?
Amazingly, documents that get moved around and saved in different applications, forwarded again and again, eventually pick up all kinds of ugly invisible characters which destroy the original formatting. Hard returns, unnecessary spaces, strange quote marks, and so on.
Even email messages pick up those very annoying forwarding characters (>) when messages are forwarded two, three, four times. Only when you want to clean up a messy document does the truth set in.
The truth? Cleaning text is dirty work. But it’s easy, right? Mouse, arrow key, delete. Mouse, arrow key delete. Repeat.
Sometimes it can take an hour to clean up a messy looking document. Unless you have TextSoap.
As the name obviously implies, TextSoap cleans up dirty looking text. Fast, efficiently, smoothly, simply.
All that’s really required for most text is to paste it into the TextSoap window and select a specific cleaner.
Since some text is dirtier than other text, there are a number ‘cleaners’ in TextSoap; sets of rules that tells TextSoap what you need to clean, so the end result is ‘pure text’ ready for appropriate formatting in a document, or simply to be dropped back into an email message.
Check under your sink in the kitchen. How many different ‘cleaners’ do you have? Plenty. For counters, for glass, for wood, for drains, for ceramic, for stainless steel, for floors, and so on.
TextSoap eliminates the ‘mulitple utility’ syndrome by giving you options, depending on what’s wrong with the text at hand.
Got a document that was done in Word, edited in AppleWorks, forwarded and saved in Apple’s Pages, then saved again in Nisus Express or Word Perfect (anybody still use that?)?
TextSoap has a selection called ‘Spaces’ which takes a document loaded with multiple spaces (some people put multiple spaces after a period), and reduces it to a single space, as God intended.
Other cleaners, like Uppercase, Straighten Quotes (very handy), and Capitalize Words, let you take messy text, apply new formatting and manipulate the text until it looks as you want.
What if you have a document that is really dirty and contains forwarding characters, line feeds, messy paragraphs, multiple spaces, Hex designations, and other really gunky stuff?
Then select the ‘Scrub’ function to apply the extra effort needed to clean the text and produce a pure, neat, tidy paragraph or a full document.
If you work with text on a regular basis, you know what I’m talking about. Even Microsoft Word manages to mangle text from other documents and it takes forever to filter out the resulting garbage.
TextSoap has a feature that lets you create custom cleaners; literally linking different cleaner functions together for common situations unique to your daily needs.
For example, you can Find and Replace predefined text, Apple Existing Cleaner, Wrap Text (according to a set number of characters), remove the ‘Quote’ text found in email messages.
One thing that’s always bothered me about some Mac utilities is the so-called ‘extra step.’ TextSoap, as with many Mac utilities, requires an extra step; copy the messy, dirty text into the TextSoap window, then scrub.
In OS X and some Mac word processors, TextSoap supports contextual plugins, so you never have to leave the application to do the scrubbing. Control or Right click—up pops a menu, select the cleaner, clean it up.
Mac OS X also has a nifty and seldom used feature called Services. It’s in the application menu, usually about half way down. For applications that support Services, TextSoap pops up there, too, ready for use.
The newest version of TextSoap, 5.5, adds new features to help with your work flow, and streamline the ‘scrubbing’ which makes your text life easier.
There’s a ‘Play’ button on the cleaner palette which lets you clean text with one click. There’s also a new ‘Remove Style from Text’ cleaner which simply strips everything but the text.
Got dirty text? Clean it with TextSoap.Click Here for details, reviews, and the download link.
Despite what the financial folks on TV tell us, inflation is alive and well in 2007. It used to take $25 to clean text, now it’s $29, still a bargain which makes TextSoap one of those Mac utilities you will always use if you deal with dirty text.
I’ve used TextSoap for years. It’s worth it. My only gripe is that all Mac word processors, or any application dealing with text, don’t play nice-nice with each other. If they did, of course, there would be no need for TextSoap.
There are about a dozen Mac applications which ‘clean’ dirty text. TextSoap gets updated regularly so it’s obvious the developers pay attention to user requests for features. It couldn’t be much easier.
Got messy text? What do you use to clean it up? Which is the biggest culprit—dirty text email or dirty documents? Share your experience in the Comments section below.