Little things that matter

by Giles Turnbull

Sometimes, the little things make all the difference. Here's two little things I've been playing around with recently.

Every once in a while, TextEdit turns out to be the best tool for the job. There are some customers who insist that their copy is delivered in .doc format, but I just can't get used to using Word for writing in. It just feels wrong.

So in situations like that I'll turn to TextEdit, because it saves in .doc format without any fuss, because it's incredibly simple and swift, and because it has everything I need for almost every job I do.

Except word count. No word count. That can be a problem, when you're dealing with words and you have to reach a certain number before you get paid.


2006-02-06 15:39:25
In my ~/bin:
echo " Lines, Words, Chars"

Gets the job done, and since I always have Terminal open anyway, it's no problem to switch to it after a quick cmd-a, cmd-c.
2006-02-06 16:16:29
In you opinion, where exactly would the best location be for the word count feature be in TextEdit and how would it behave? i.e. an extra little window like Nano Count that you could stick off to the side, or a live count on the document window (or even toolbar?) itself? The source code for TextEdit is available from Apple. My TODO list is always growing, never shrinking, and I have way too many irons in the fire already, but I wouldn't mind adding "add word count feature to TextEdit" onto the ole TODO list. It should be an easy kill if I could ever get around to doing it.
Peter van Impelen
2006-02-06 16:43:08
Both freeware ;)

One trick pony : Word Counter 2.1 at

Multi trick pony ( Services module ) : Wordservice 2.6.1. at

2006-02-06 17:23:55
@ ptwobrussell: Nano Count is perfectly usable as it is, but since you're asking - anywhere would be fine, to be honest. There's no 'status bar' at the bottom of TextEdit windows, but if there was one that would be a good place.
Robert Stainsby
2006-02-06 20:58:20
Is it appropriate to plug my own project here? I am working on Address Actions, another approach to streamlining the creation of Address Book entries.

Address Actions is a service that parses a plain text address, and breaks it into the fields expected by the Address Book.

It is very much a work in progress. However, it already works well with addresses in the required (fairly rigid) formats. It is also open source (Cocoa and Perl), so any readers who feel like helping out are very welcome.

(Apologies if the formatting of this post is not right. The Preview button is not working for me.)

Richard Dalziel-Sharpe
2006-02-07 08:03:50
Why not use TextWrangler? Its free and is much more capable than TextEdit. And word countin is available from the tool bar at the top of each document. It gives words, characters, lines and pages for both selections and the whole document with one click.
2006-02-07 08:46:00
@Richard: I do the *vast majority* of my writing work in TextMate. But as I said above, sometimes I have customers who insist that work is delivered in .doc format - and on those occasions, I'd prefer to use TextEdit+Nano Count than Word or
2006-02-07 20:38:14
You can use tab in Address Book and never have to use the mouse