MacMost Now 405: Stationery Pads

Mac OS X allows you to declare a file as a Stationery Pad. When you double click a Stationery Pad, instead of editing this file, you will instantly create a new copy. This is handy for making simple document templates.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: MacMost Now 405: Stationery Pads.

Hi, this is Gary with MacMost Now. On today's episode, let's look at Stationery Pads. This episode of MacMost Now is brought to you by Gazelle is the easiest, fastest way for you to sell or recycle your gadgets. Every item gets and offer and you get paid to be environmentally responsible. Use promo code MacMost for a 5% bonus. So Stationery Pads are something that have been around on Macs since before OS10. Basically, they're a way to lock files so instead of editing the current file, you automatically create a new one. Let's take a look. So as a simple example, let's create a document that can be used for telephone messages. It's a TextEdit document and I just put some basic fields here like who the call's for, the time, the phone number, the message, that kind of thing. And I wanna be able to turn this into a Stationery Pad so when I open it I'm not actually editing the original document, but I'm editing a copy of it. To do that, I'm going to select the file, use Command+I to get info for that file and I'm going to check off Stationery Pad. Now once a document's a Stationery Pad, when I double click it to open it, it won't actually open that document. Instead it will a copy of it. You see, it created the copy here. It will open that copy. You see the names match here with the copied file and document I'm editing. So, if I edit this file and I save it, it's actually saving this copy, so I've got the first one here, which is the message and that's a Stationery Pad. And the second one here, which is not a Stationery Pad, it's just a normal file, and this is the one that has the edits that I made. Then once I have saved the document, I can select it and then edit it's name. Now, I can edit the original by selecting it and turning off Stationery Pad. I can also simply drag and drop it to document editor, TextEdit in this case. And when I edit it in here and save it out, it will turn off Stationery Pad, so I have to go back in with Command+I and make it a Stationery Pad again and once I have saved a change. And now when I create the next version of it by double clicking, I have the changed template that I'm using. So you can do this kind of thing with any application that saves documents as a single file. For instance, here in numbers, I can create a daily sales pad that, perhaps I open up at the end of the day to record all my sales. Now I can save that out, close it, and I have this numbers document right here. I select it, turn it into a Stationery Pad, now when I double click it to open it, I will create a copy of it and have the cells already filled out here, I'm ready to enter my data in, and I can type a new one every day without worrying about overwriting the original. So you can use Stationery Pads with any application that saves documents as single files, like Excel or Word, PowerPoint, KeyNote, Pages, there are lots of different possibilities. An alternative way to do this is, not to use Stationery Pad, but simply to lock the file. This will allow you to open it, but then you can't ... save over the file. Instead you can use, File, Save As to save a new copy of it. Still, other applications have built in template and stationery features, such as Mail, which has an entire set of stationery functionality. Hope you found this look at Stationery Pads useful, this is Gary Rosenzweig with MacMost Now.

Comments: 3 Responses to “MacMost Now 405: Stationery Pads”

    9 years ago

    Nice. Thank u!

    9 years ago

    Very useful – especially for those applications which do not have the ‘template’ facility like iWork has for instance. Thanks so much for this information.

    9 years ago

    Awesome. Thanks.

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