12/6/219:00 am Mac Basics: Simple Documents With TextEdit TextEdit is an app that comes with your Mac and allows you to create and edit simple text and word processing documents. You can use it to create notes that exist as files, to record information, to start writing, edit code, or open Word documents. Video Transcript: Hi, this is Gary with MacMost.com. Let's take a look at the TextEdit App that comes with your Mac. MacMost is brought to you thanks to a great group of more than 1000 supporters. Go to MacMost.com/patreon. There you can read more about the Patreon Campaign. Join us and get exclusive content and course discounts. So TextEdit is an app that comes built-in to macOS. It allows you to create and edit simple word processing and text documents. It's a very lightweight, easy to use quick tool that's actually pretty powerful. One of the things that makes it so powerful is the fact that it doesn't use a special format. There is no TextEdit document format. Instead you use a standard cross platform format like Plain Text or Rich Text files. These could be opened in almost any platform. By default you won't find TextEdit in the Dock on your Mac. But you can launch it like any other app. You can use Command Space to bring up Spotlight and search for TextEdit and then launch it from there. You can bring up Launchpad and search for TextEdit and launch it from there. Or you could go to a New Finder Window to Applications. You'll find TextEdit right there. You can drag and drop that to the Dock to add it there for easy access. So when you launch TextEdit it will prompt you to open up a new document or you can click the New Document button right here. You can also go to File, New to create a new document. Or in the Dock you can click and hold and select New Document there. You can also see recently opened documents above that. The most important thing to know about TextEdit is that it has two modes. They are Rich Text Mode and Plain Text Mode. It's like having two apps in one. In Rich Text Mode you're actually using a simple word processor. You can tell if you're in Rich Text Mode because you'll see at the top lots of styling buttons. Things for changing the font, the size, bold, all this stuff here as well as Ruler here at the top. Also, if you go to Format if you're in Rich Text Mode you'll see Make Plain Text. So you can switch to the other mode. So we'll switch to Plain Text. Now in Plain Text Mode you won't see any of that at the top of the window. It's a very simple window. You could set which one of these is the default by going to TextEdit Preferences. There under New Document you can set Rich Text or Plain Text as the default mode. In Plain Text Mode you can type as you want but there's no styling of formatting information at all. So it's just regular text here. But in Rich Text Mode you have the ability to select fonts, style things, change the font size, and all of that. So I can make this Bold, change the color, change the font, change the size. In fact most of the things you would expect to find in a word processor are here in Rich Text Mode. You have all the basic text styles. You can change the justification. You can change the line spacing. You can have Lists, like bullet lists, numbered lists. Under Format here you can see even more options that you have. You can even insert Tables like this and have simple Tables there. They're not really spreadsheets. They are more for laying out the information in the document as you want. In fact, you can even drag and drop images into a Rich Text Document. Now when you do that it's going to switch between one of two types of Rich Text Document. Either RTF, which stands for Rich Text Format, or RTFD which is Rich Text Format with attachments. D stands for directory because it's creating a file that's basically a directory of the Rich Text document and any attachments. You'll see it as just one file. When you insert an image you don't have any options here. Notice I can't resize this or anything. So if you're going to use images inside of a Rich Text document make sure there's they're sized appropriately. Edit them in Preview or another app to get them to be the proper width and height first before bringing them in. Another thing is you could also add other files here. A pdf, for instance, will actually appear imbedded. You wouldn't normally imbed a full pdf document. But if you have, say, a small piece of clipart saved in pdf format you can actually bring it in here to have that piece of art inside your document. Other files will just appear as attachments as icons in there. You could even add links. So you can have a html link like this inside of a Rich Text Document. When you go to Save a document, since this is Rich Text and we converted it to Rich Text with Attachments it will save like that. If you didn't have attachments you would save as a regular Rich Text Document, a RTF file. But you could also save in a variety of other formats including html, Open Document Format, and a variety of Microsoft Word formats. Now when you Save a Plain Text document it's going to give you just a .txt extension. But if you wanted to save it as something else nothing is going to stop you. So if you're going to save it as a code file or something with html you can. Just change the extension there. Those are all just types of text documents. Another thing is you can't get a much smaller file than a Plain Text Document. If I select a file here, do Command i to get info, you can see this is 44 bytes. Hardly anymore than the number of characters in the actual document itself. There are many uses for Plain Text Documents. For instance maybe you just want to record some simple information with a group of files. So you have a folder here for a project. You've got images, audio files, spreadsheets, all sorts of other things and you just want to have some basic information there. You can create RTF files or Plain Text files that sit in here with notes and information about the project itself. This is particularly useful if you're going to be sending a group of files to somebody. You could include all the files in the folder and include a simple Text Document, like a readme.txt file and include notes about how to use the files and what they contain. A dot txt file can be read by anybody using any type of computer. RTF files are actually very similar to what you get in the Notes App. The difference being you're getting an actual file not a different page in the Notes App. So if you want to have some notes that exist alongside a group of files create a Rich Text Document in TextEdit. Save it with those files. You have Formatting, Lists, Links, all sorts of things inside of that file. They exist in the Finder as a file and will move along with the other files in that folder rather than being separate from them as a note in the Notes App would be. Another great use for TextEdit is to start some writing. Start in TextEdit as a Rich Text Document and begin you're writing there. You could always, later on, open up that Rich Text file in the Pages App. Pages will read RTF files and, in fact, txt files just fine. It will even let you export Pages' documents to them, of course removing some of the more advanced Pages features. Also a lot of people use both Plain Text and Rich Text files for pieces of text that they are later going to include in an email, message, or some other form of communication. So you may want to write that long email in TextEdit, Save it, Edit it, go back to it, and then when you're ready you could Copy and Paste from TextEdit into an email window. So you saw how you can save TextEdit documents in Microsoft Word format. We can also open up Microsoft Word Documents. So if you get a .doc or .docx file like this and you need to open it up on your Mac and you don't have Microsoft Word you could always Control click on it, choose Open With and choose TextEdit and it will open it up in TextEdit. Now it's going to loose a lot of the advanced features that Word has. So this isn't ideal for business documents and the like. You should probably open those up in Microsoft Word or maybe in Pages. But I know a lot of us receive emails with Word documents in it from schools or different organizations that for some reason they think it's a good idea to actually write out the body of the message in a doc file and then attach that and then email. I don't know why people do this but it's very common. Well, you don't have to get Word to open those up or convert the document in Pages. You can just open that up in TextEdit and read the text inside. If TextEdit has one drawback I'd say that there's no iPhone or iPad version of TextEdit. You can certainly view text in RTF files. Just look at them in the Files App and you could read the text that's there. There's just no way to edit them. I wish Apple would create a TextEdit App for iOS. But of course you can use Pages and you can use a variety of third party apps to open and edit Text and RTF files. So if you haven't been using TextEdit on your Mac give it a look. I think that just about every Mac user can get some use out of TextEdit. Either making notes that exist as files rather than the Notes App, including information with a group of files, or opening up text documents to read them without having to convert them to something else. It's a really useful app. It's very powerful and lightweight. Hope you found this useful. Thanks for watching.Related Subjects: Mac Basics (34 videos), TextEdit (27 videos) Related Video Tutorials: No related posts. Comments: 7 Responses to “Mac Basics: Simple Documents With TextEdit” Razvan Mihai 2 years ago Gary, thanks for the tutorial. It was nice to rediscover the simplicity of the TextEdit app. You mentioned there is no Apple iOS app. Is there any third-party iOS app you would recommend? I would be mainly interested in editing simple plain text. Gary Rosenzweig 2 years ago Razvan: I usually just use Pages or the Notes app. But I'm sure there are some you can use. Search the App Store. Melvyn Halbert 2 years ago Another TextEdit trick: While typing an RTF document in my favorite choice of font and size, i may want to include text copied to the Clipboard. The copied text might be the wrong size or in an ugly font or color. To remove all that unwanted styling, I Paste the text into a new TextEdit file, choose Format/Make Plain Text, and then Format/Make Rich Text. Presto-Change-O! The copied text is now in my favorite font and size. Copy it and then Paste it into the document that I was typing. Gary Rosenzweig 2 years ago Melvyn: You could also just use Command+Option+V to paste with the style. pw 2 years ago I was so hopeful that I would be taught how to get rid of the default tabs in the "open new document" file. Is there a way to create a default document without all the tabs?? Gary Rosenzweig 2 years ago pw: Not sure what you mean by "tabs" here. You just get a normal File Open dialog when you start TextEdit. I don't see any tabs involved. pw 2 years ago ...tried shift command 4 to get a photo from my desktop but it didn't go there (how does one find where a screen shot goes?) so instead I thought I could tell you "visit 3:19 in the above video and note all the right pointing pyramids across the top of the "new document." Anyhoo, thanks for your responses!!! Comments Closed.