Friday, July 8, 2022

Disable Live Text for Easier Selecting in Preview

Adam Engst:

Alas, cropping, which is one of the most common things I do in Preview, became harder in Monterey, thanks to the addition of Live Text. That’s because Preview sometimes thinks I want to select text in the image rather than drag selection handles. Annoyingly, this problem is not predictable—I can run into it with a particular screenshot but have trouble reproducing with the same screenshot later. Plus, the frequency with which I experience the problem has been falling, perhaps due to Apple improving the logic behind selecting.

If you’re suffering from a click-and-drag giving you a text selection when you want a rectangular selection, I’ve found a trick for increasing your chances of being able to use the selection handles. Resize the window so you can see the canvas on the edge where you need to grab the selection handle. Then, approach the handle from the canvas side so macOS sees your click and drag as happening just outside the area where there’s text.

Or you can turn off Live Text entirely from the Language & Region pane of System Preferences. It seems like this should just be handled with a modifier key, though, like you can hold Shift to select a square or hold Option to select from the center.

I still miss how the iCab browser would let you hold a key to select text within a clickable link…


Update (2022-07-08): Joe Groff:

In Preview specifically, you can also pick between text vs. rectangular vs. auto selection in the Tools menu.

Update (2022-07-12): Steve Troughton-Smith:

Having Live Text on by default is a mistake in both Safari and Photos. It breaks decades of expectations for drag and drop for a fairly niche purpose that should be modal. I’m consciously having to try to avoid it every time.

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> I still miss how the iCab browser would let you hold a key to select text within a clickable link…

Firefox has this. Clicking Option lets you select parts of a clickable link.

@Dan It turns out that the Option key also works in Chrome, but it’s not obvious because the cursor doesn’t change to the I-beam.

I use TextSniper a lot, and thus I rarely need to use Live Text, I can easily disable it if that would start bothering me.

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