Clippings (New & Improved!).
The motivation for this MacTip comes from the combination of the new and exciting features of Clipping files in Mac OS 8.5 and the fact that I've recently come across a number of reasonably adept Mac users who have never heard of text clippings and were really excited to learn how to use them. Interestingly enough, the new Mac OS help included with Mac OS 8.5 has only a single listing about clipping files that covers little more than the fact that they exist. This MacTip desires to educate you about Clipping files, their new Internet functionality and their use.
Dragging a selection of text, pictures, sounds, or movies to the desktop or any Finder window creates a Clipping file. Although there are these different types of clipping files, the primary use of clippings is for text. These clipping files can be used for storing and manipulating sections of text. These sections of text can be easily added to most documents by just dragging them where you want them to be inserted.
To create a clipping file you can simply make a selection in most applications and drag that selection to any Finder window. If the application you are using doesn't support the creation of clipping files usually your attempted drag will result in a new selection. Most web browsers don't support the creation of clipping files so if you are trying this out for the first time in your Web browser, don't be discouraged. The three best places to start with creating clipping files are with Applications that ship with every Mac. SimpleText (usually in the Applications folder), Stickies (usually found in the Apple menu), and Scrapbook (also found in the Apple menu) all support the dragging of selections out as clipping files.
Classically, clipping files have been used for quick access to frequently used sections of text such as an address, phone number, or any other text that you use on a regular basis. Creating a folder to hold these clippings can provide easy access to your most frequently used sections of text.
Mac OS 8.5 provides all the usefulness in clipping files that has existed since System 7.5 and adds a new functionality that makes handling Internet URLs (Uniform Resource Locators) much easier. Mac OS 8.5 automatically examines the content of the text that is dragged from your applications for certain types of Internet Locations. The most common types are Web site URLs and email addresses but most URLs are supported including http (for web pages), ftp (for transferring files), file (for files on your hard drive or local network), email (for email addresses), nntp (for usenet news URLs), afp & AppleTalk (for locations on Macintosh networks).
Both Internet location documents and clipping files can be used as easy ways to share small sections of text, pictures, sounds, etc. with other Mac users. Keep in mind that Internet location documents are only supported in Mac OS 8.5 as they will not function in older versions of the Mac OS.
I've found that most of the URLs that I come across fall into two categories. The first are ones that I am going to want to use long term that I want to add to my permanent bookmark file. The other category of URL that I want to go back and check out but that I likely won't need long term. If I come across a URL that I want to come back to when I have more time I'll just drag it off as an "Internet location document" and double click it later. Once I've had the chance to take a look I just dump in the trash (with command-delete).
In addition to the added Internet functionality, Mac OS 8.5 provides additional functionality for basic text clippings too. Where text clippings previously would have generic names like "Text Clipping1", "Text Clipping2" etc., it now automatically names each clipping with either the beginning of the text being dragged or with the name of the document from which it is being dragged.
Clipping files and Internet location documents can be a useful tool for managing text, pictures, sounds and URLs. While the functionality is relatively basic, If incorporated into your workflow they can really help in handling the bits and pieces of information that come across your path every day. I hope this MacTip helps you understand Clipping files and Internet location documents better and you will find great ways to be more productive with your Mac.
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