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Making Sections In Text Files With SubEthaEdit

In the newly-minted tradition of pointing out Tiny Little Things you can do that will Change Your Life, here’s a tip for SubEthaEdit users, found in a comment left on Living in text files, a piece by Giles Turnbull (who shares my addiction to text editors).

Giles has been experimenting with keeping everything he needs in one huge text file, rather than the lots and lots of small text files most geeky folk prefer.

My first thought, not being a user of one of the wildly powerful text editors proper geeks use, like vim or emacs, was, ‘How in the name of crikey would you find anything?’.

One answer, for SubEthaEdit users, is to divide your file into sections as follows:

  1. Open a text file.
  2. Go to the Mode menu and switch to LaTex mode.
  3. Start a section by typing \section{A nice descriptive name for your section}
  4. Look at the SubEthaEdit menu bar - you can jump right to your newly-made section from there!

I don’t think I’ll be switching to keeping all my todo lists, URLs, wee chunks of writing and suchlike in one ginormous file, but this little tip has already made my life easier: just after reading about it, I was comissioned to write an overview of the Edinburgh Art Festival and Annuale, which involves seeing an awful lot of stuff, and I now have one easily-navigable file stuffed with a list of shows, events and associated URLs, notes from the shows I’ve already seen, and my reviews of those I’ve already written about. Very handy.

Posted at 6pm on 17/08/05 by Jack Mottram to the mac category.
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  1. You could also use the Conference Notes Mode which would allow you to make sections just by typing caps. For a small syntax overview chose “File/New/Conference” in a recent copy of SubEthaEdit. Using the extension “.notes” will automatically trigger that mode.

    Posted by map at 6pm on 17.08.05

  2. Thanks for the tip Martin - I must confess I hadn’t even looked in the Mode menu of SubEthaEdit before now or investigated templates - I use it along with various Services as a sort of stripped down word processor, so haven’t really had to.

    (Also, isn’t the interweb just fabulous? I post about SubEthaEdit, and within the hour one of the developers has told me a better way to do what I want to do with the application!)

    Posted by Jack Mottram at 6pm on 17.08.05

  3. hehe. Thank Feedster, BlogDigger and Brent Simmons (NetNewsWire) for that. ;-)

    And I might add that if conference mode is to colorfull for you, it’s quite easy to make your own mode that just recognizes some form of syntax for navigating to. It’s quite easy if you know XML and regex:

    Posted by Dominik Wagner at 9pm on 17.08.05

  4. hehe. Thank Feedster, BlogDigger and Brent Simmons (NetNewsWire) for that. ;-)

    I thought it’d be something like that. I’ve had more luck with PubSub than BlogDigger, myself…

    it’s quite easy to make your own mode that just recognizes some form of syntax for navigating to

    Wow, powerful stuff! I’ve been remiss in not tinkering with SubEthaEdit at all, preferring, you know, just working in it. I have a feeling I’ll now spend a good deal of time today tinkering away making my perfect Mode, instead of actually working. Meta-efficiency…

    Posted by Jack Mottram at 11am on 18.08.05

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