MacMost Now 379: Using TextEdit For Casual Word Processing

Before you buy a professional word processor consider using TextEdit, a program that comes with your Mac and can handle most non-professional word processing needs. You can format and style text, add images, lists and tables, and even open Word docs.

Video Transcript
Hi, this is gary with MacMost Now, on todays episode lets take a closer look at TextEdit and how you can use it as your main word processor.
So a lot of people dismiss the program TextEdit that comes with your mac as a very simple text editor. now remember, programs like SimpleText on the mac, or notepad on windows and indeed TextEdit can do simple text editing but its much more powerful than that, and if you dont need a professional word processor like word or pages, it may fill all your word processing needs.
When we first start TextEdit you may get a screen that looks like this and it doesn't look too much like a complex word processor as a matter of fact it may look even worse, it may look like this, just plain text, see TextEdit has two modes you change between the modes by going to format and either make rich text or make plain text, of course we want to be in the rich text mode to set ourselves up for some real word processing in addition to that you also want to go and set up wrap to page wrap to page will then create something that look more like a modern word processor where we actually can see the page boundaries right here. now put some text here just to test out some styling notice all the red dotted underlines they're misspelled words since im pasting in sample text here, of course theres lots of words that aren't real english words but i could select here the title, i could centre it, i could make it bold command b, or just go into format here, select fonts bold style all sorts of things like that i can increase the font size, im doing it with command and plus (+) and you can also use, in here make bigger and smaller you can even bring up show fonts here to bring up the default system fonts window and you can more control there, and for the rest of the text you can select that and assign styles to it as well for instance if you want indentation you can do that on a regular word processor, you can also set line spacing for instance single double other, bring it up, we're in half spacing, back in episode 172 i showed you how to do things like creating lists and indeed you can do that as well. you have the pulldown menu here to create this like that you can also create tables as well. go to create tables go to format and table and you have a little table crater here if you want even more advanced style control, you can go to font, styles bring up this window here, and you can add the current style to a list of favorites, you can even do some things like for instance inserting page breaks into your text, cant do headers and footers, but when you print, you can select print header and footer which will do a default page number document title and date, you can even insert images into your document by dragging them from the finder, into your document. you can even adjust them a bit by indentations, or by centering. you could also create links in your document by choosing edit add link and these link will persist when you save your document as say a pdf or something that can be clicked
and thats just scratching the surface of which you can do with the formatting and styling inside of text edit, so keep in mind its not the same as word or pages which are far more powerful but for a lot of casual users, TextEdit can fill the need for a word processor without having to go and purchase additional software in addition did you know you can actually open up microsoft word doc files using TextEdit so if your need is simply to open up a document somebody else sent you to read it. you should be able to do that in TextEdit without having to go out and purchase microsoft office, so if you have the need for some casual word processing before you drop some serious money on word or pages or install something really big like open office, give TextEdit a try and see if you does everything you need, hope you find this useful this is Gary Rosenzweig with MacMost Now.

Comments: 12 Responses to “MacMost Now 379: Using TextEdit For Casual Word Processing”

    3/31/10 @ 11:33 am

    Thanks Gary for the podcast. I use TextEdit everyday.

      P. Hill
      8/7/11 @ 8:35 am

      I have just discovered TextEdit and I have left a question on the site but I thought you might be able to give me a faster answer. As you will see below, I want to use TextEdit but how do I access it in the first place without a lot of keying. I’d like to have it in the dock if possible. Thanks for yur help.

        8/7/11 @ 8:56 am

        I answered your question yesterday (see the comment you left down below).

    Luke Thomas
    4/6/10 @ 7:06 am

    I had no idea that TextEdit was so powerful. Thank you as always. You are the Mac Guru! I love your videos!!

    Robert Poland
    5/7/10 @ 10:57 am


    If you are not going to maintain the MacMost videos, you should remove them from the archives.

      5/7/10 @ 11:02 am

      What? What do you mean by that. I come out with several new videos each week. Uploading one now. What do you mean by “not maintain?”

    Sue Larson
    9/18/10 @ 6:12 pm

    Thank you! You are so clear and easy to understand! Just what I needed as I get to know my new Macbook Pro!

    P. Hill
    8/6/11 @ 9:47 pm

    Thanks for your clear explanations and the breadth of coverage of Mac operations. I want to use TextEdit but how do I access it in the first place without a lot of keying. I’d like to have it in the dock if possible.

      8/6/11 @ 10:55 pm

      Just drag and drop it into the Dock to create an alias there for it. You can find it in your Applications folder. Or, run it and then drag it from the right side of the Dock to the left side to leave it in the Dock.

    7/9/12 @ 6:32 am

    Anyway to set margins in Text Edit Top & Bottom / left & right ?

      7/9/12 @ 9:13 am

      Try File, Page Setup.

        7/9/12 @ 8:08 pm

        Found it, not perfect but much better than b4… Thank you :-)

Comments Closed.