Build. Hack. Play. It's just what we do.
Build. Hack. Play. It's just what we do.
Illustration for article titled The Text Editor Ive Been Searching For This Whole Time Was TextEdit

I love text. It is central to my work. I write code, I write fiction, I design graphics, and I read a lot. I have a lot of opinions about how words should look. And sometimes, I want my words to reflect the speed with which I wrote them, and similarly, the speed with which they can be retrieved.

Advertisement

Pages is nice, but I want to write my fleeting thoughts in a format that I know I can open on any machine, whether that’s my Mac, a PC, my Android phone, or the old Apple IIgs in my parents’ closet. In other words, .txt files.

I spend a lot of time in TextWrangler — or at least I did, until I discovered Brackets. But even those two open too slowly, or have too many features (hello, syntax formatting!) to be what I’m looking for.

Advertisement

The last straw struck when I saw that someone was selling a simple text editor for 99 cents. “Oh, come on,” I thought to myself. “I should just use the piece of crap that came with my computer.” So I did.

Illustration for article titled The Text Editor Ive Been Searching For This Whole Time Was TextEdit
Advertisement

This is what my braindump.txt file typically looks like (in terms of content), but I hate that aesthetic. The formatting toolbar! Helvetica! That ruler of flags makes it look like the freaking United Nations up there! However, I did notice one thing: It opened lightning fast. Now that was a feature I was looking for.

Advertisement

I opened up the preferences:

Illustration for article titled The Text Editor Ive Been Searching For This Whole Time Was TextEdit
Advertisement

I ended up switching most of these; specifically, the stuff boxed in red.

  • Format: Switch from Rich Text to Plain Text.
  • Window Size: 70 characters wide by 20 lines high.
  • Font: Personally, I like the lovely Inconsolata-dz.
  • Options: I unchecked every one of these, except for “Check spelling as you type.” I specifically do not want my plain text editor to think it’s smarter than I am.
Advertisement
Illustration for article titled The Text Editor Ive Been Searching For This Whole Time Was TextEdit

And that, it turns out, is what I was looking for the whole time — right under my own nose.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter