Thursday, April 14, 2016

Applying Styles to the Current, Unselected Word

Daniel Jalkut:

I’ve gone to lengths to preserve “traditional” Mac behavior in MarsEdit’s rich editor, then I see Pages defies it!

Both historically, and for nearly all current Mac apps, the standard has been that the Bold command applies to the text that’s currently selected. If no text is selected, it changes the style at the insertion point, affecting the text that you type next. However, the current versions of both Pages and Microsoft Word make the Bold command apply to the entire word surrounding the insertion point—when nothing is selected.

I guess the idea is that if it detects the word boundaries that you want, it can save you a step. (The Italic command does not italicize the comma after a word, which people often do because it looks better.) And the “smart” behavior doesn’t really cause trouble unless you wanted to start typing a few bold characters in the middle of a word—which seems rare. I could be persuaded that this is a useful feature, but I don’t like the inconsistency with other apps. There is also the question of which types of commands this should apply to and whether the inferred target range should differ for them.

Update (2016-04-15): Andrew Abernathy:

So many people don’t know to double-click to select by word. For them, selecting a single word to style is tedious without this.

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