(Semi)Panther Review: Part 2-Text

Panther Text Abilities:

For 3650 owners, two of the coolest new features in Panther are the “Send file to Bluetooth Device…” and “Send to Bluetooth Device…” options in the Services menu which is available in all Cocoa applications. This means any file you select in a Finder window can be sent to your 3650 quickly and easily using the “Send file” option. This also means that any text that you select in any document or on any web-page that you happen to open in Safari, can be highlighted and sent to your 3650. Pretty friggin’ cool! Of course, the Services menu doesn’t work in Microsoft Word or in Open Office, so I was really looking forward to using TextEdit.

TextEdit: Good, Bad, and VERY UGLY:

I wanted very badly to love the new Panther TextEdit. As it is I like it quite a bit. I will most likely be using it as my primary word processor from now on, but simply save everything in rich text format always. If I ever need anything in Word format, I will be opening the rtf that I created in TextEdit in Word and converting from within Word.

Hearing that TextEdit would be able to read and write to Word file format, I was overjoyed, as I dislike Word, and while I like Open Office, it is still very ugly, rather large, and slow to launch in comparison to the nice little TextEdit. Also, TextEdit is the only one of these programs that supports the nice bluetooth services mentioned above.

Unfortunately, TextEdit is absolutely refusing to save the formatting that I apply to any file that I try to save in Word format. If I use Rich Text Format, it will keep all the formatting. If I open up a file in Word format and try to fix the little odd formatting problems and then re-save in Rich Text Format, it will keep all the formatting except for the margins. For some reason, even though I have one inch borders defined across the board for when it opens new documents and in my page setup, if I work on a document for a while, save it, close and reopen, inevitably it has changed from 1-inch margins to 1.25 inch margins (must be a default setting in the Word conversion process). There would appear to be no way to get it back to 1-inch margins even if you save the file again in rtf (with the exception of opening a new document with my default 1-inch margins and pasting the entire document into that new document. Of course, this is rather ludicrous, as these settings are lost once again whenever I close the new document and reopen it.) Also, Word documents opened in TextEdit aren’t as nicely formatted as they were in Word, and Word documents created by TextEdit inevitably have some of the same formatting problems. In short, as far as Word compatibility is concerned, TextEdit is very much like a Mac port of Windoze’s Wordpad (in other respects it is much more powerful.) UPDATE: There is also a bug with saving in RTF, where the last lines of paragraphs do not remain after saving, closing, and reopening. I discovered it first with the bibliography page for a paper I have been writing, where all the hanging indents reverted to flush with the left margin after re-opening (even though the ruler shows it still set to drop). The solution is to delete a space at the end of the line before the problem line, and then it will suddenly line up properly.
Here’s a screenshot of the problem. Notice in this 3 line bibliographic entry how the last line returns to being flush with the left margin, even though the ruler settings are correct. I could highlight the entire works cited page and choose the correct style that I previously defined for my Works Cited page, but I would lose the underlining in each entry, and I would have to redo this each time I open the file. Not fun.


Here, you will notice that the last line of the paragraph inexplicably indents itself to match the first line. You can fix it, but once you save, close, and restart, the problem returns.

I have to ask why Apple is more concerned with TextEdit opening Word documents than it is with it opening AppleWorks files. TextEdit can open all my old AppleWorks files, but not as cleanly as Microsoft Word’s Appleworks converter plug-in. When I open an AppleWorks file in TextEdit, there is a lot of useless header and footer information book-ending the actual meat of the file. This seems like a huge oversight on Apple’s part, as a native Macintosh program cannot handle reading files from another native Macintosh Word Processor, when a Micro$oft product can do so nicely.

Also—and this is a rather scary occurrence—while working in TextEdit, I decided to choose the “Allow Hyphenation” in the Format menu, just to see what it would do…. Bad idea. Not only did TextEdit give me the spinning-beach-ball-of-death, but I could not manage to Force Quit. There was no kernel panic. Everything else was working fine. But no matter what I did, there was TextEdit in the background, refusing to close. I tried logging out, only to have log out time out because TextEdit refused to quit. Same thing happened when I tried to shut down. Ultimately, I had to force the computer to shut down by holding down the power button for 10 seconds until it powered off. I will be submitting a detailed bug report to Apple about this and I sincerely hope that Apple resolves these issues in the next release.

About C.K. Sample III

I am a father, a husband, a blogger, a parrot owner, a pug owner, and the Chief Product Officer for YouEarnedIt. This site has no comments. If you want to talk to me, send me an @cksample on Twitter. If you like this post, feel free to buy me something off of my wishlist.
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