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Tex Edit Plus word cruncher for Mac OS X review

Sections: Mac Software, Reviews, Writing / Publishing

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Provides: Text editing/cleaning
Format: Download
Developer: Trans-Tex Software
Minimum System Requirements: Mac OS 7.1 or newer for the classic version, Mac OS X v10.1 for OS X version
Processor Compatibility: PowerPC or Intel
Price: $15 shareware
Availability: Now
Version Reviewed: 4.9.8

My benchmark “gold standard,” so to speak, of text-crunching applications is Tom Bender’s superb, Apple-Scriptable, $15 shareware-styled text editor and text cleaner Tex Edit Plus. Thanks to its support of text formatting, it can also serve admirably as a lightweight word processor, filling the gap between pure plain text editors and full-featured word processors. TE+ is lean and quick, with the best AppleScript support of any application I’ve ever used and an incredibly deep set of text manipulation tools—easily the most useful and versatile tool in my suite of production applications.

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Another thing I love about TE+ is its backward compatibility. The latest OS X version of the application fully supports documents I created on Mac Classic OS Tex Edit some 15 years ago. The vast bulk of my document archives and much of my research resources materials are stored in Tex Edit documents. Most of my composing, editing, and HTML markup has been done in Tex Edit and Tex Edit Plus for about 15 years now.

Aside from its brilliant AppleScript implementation, Tex-Edit Plus supports grep expressions, Apple’s Automator and Text-to-speech capabilities, and can save documents as audio files. It also supports inline images, and you can simply paste pictures from the clipboard and save them with the document. Tex-Edit Plus is multilingual, based on the WASTE text engine, and can read, convert and save files in a wide selection of international file formats, including Unicode, ASCII and RTF, and can get at the text content of many others, such as Word documents even though it doesn’t support Word files with formatting intact.

Another area where TE+ shines is for cleaning text downloaded from the Web or cut-and-pasted from email. It can virtually instantly remove unwanted text characters and artifacts, both visible and invisible. It’s not quite as powerful at doing this as Bare Bones Software’s wonderful pure text editor, TextWrangler, but does the job most of the time. Another function for which I find TE+ indispensable is instantly purging line feeds and character returns from imported text. It also has very good find and replace support, although again not quite as powerful as TextWrangler. On the other hand, TextWrangler deals with plain text only, unlike TE+’s hybrid text styling, image, and audio support.

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There hasn’t been a whole lot of new development for TE+ since 2007—the last stable release being version 4.9.8 on July 30th of that year. From my perspective, that’s just fine; it’s working great, and it’s hard to think of how it could be improved.

However, while Tex Edit Plus still works just fine in OS X v10.6.6 Snow Leopard, it is a Carbon application with a few Cocoa elements grafted on, and it’s an open question as to whether it will continue to be supported by OS X v10.7 Lion.

Tom Bender tells me that although he’s been quite busy with other developments in his life for the past couple of years and has not been able to invest the quality time he needs to finish Tex Edit Plus’s conversion to Cocoa yet, he says he’s planning on having more time any day now (although those plans could change due to forces beyond his control).

Here’s hoping…

Appletell Rating:
Tex Edit Plus review

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