Way back when, back when I was new to the Mac, back in the last century, I encountered a problem I could not solve. I was copying email messages but each one had all those crazy thread indentations and arrows. What a pain.
You know what that’s like, right? It was a tedious pain to remove– manually– all those little arrows and embedded formatting. Once I finished the job I showed my finished formatting to my wife– a longtime Mac user– who promptly did much the same cleanup job in seconds using one of her go-to Mac utilities. If you’ve got dirty, messy, convoluted text, here’s how to clean it up.
Text Needs Soap
Any Mac or Windows PC user who’s ever tried to reformat a messy document encrusted with multiple layers of digital cruft knows the problem. The solution is TextSoap. It’s an elegant Mac utility which reformats messed up text so it’s pristine clean.
TextSoap is straightforward to use and comes with more than 100 cleaner options already built-in to address most text cleaning operations. There’s also a built-in text editor just in case you need to tweak some text after it’s been scrubbed.
Text can be copied into TextSoap to be scrubbed and cleaned, but it also works well within other applications, integrated to make working on longer documents much easier. The text editor adds line numbers and special wrapping options.
The real work is handled by the dozens of cleaner options which can be layered to solve and clean even complicated and mis-formatted text. Custom cleaner definitions are color coded so they’re easier to view and remember between cleaning episodes, and so you’ll know exactly what cleaning is being applied to your text.
Even complex, complicated, and convoluted text with multiple layers of embedded formatting can be cleaned, but may require a customized solution (which can be saved and used again).
For the Mac user with an understanding of regular expressions and more complex tools, TextSoap provides live text matching as well as RegEx, including syntax highlighting and a built-in expression validator. Regular expressions are a good way to find matching strings within a document or pages of text.
TextSoap is an indispensable app for Mac users who work with messy text formats day in and day out, and there are few applications which do the same thing and have been around for many years and get updated regularly. The learning curve is modest; simple enough for new Mac users, but with enough tools for even the most hardened veteran.