Help:Plain text editors

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Plain text editors are software programs that save text as a plain (ASCII) text data file. Plain text editors may be contrasted with word processing programs that insert markup codes to indicate special features such as font style, font size, boldface, italics, etc.

Some of the files that you may need to work with in connection with Proteopedia are required to be plain text. Examples include PDB files and Jmol script files. After editing their contents, they will not work unless they are saved as plain text.

Contents

Plain Text Editors

The following programs always save text as plain text. Therefore, it is impossible to change font size, use boldface, etc. in these programs. These are the safest programs to use because you need not remember to specify that your file be saved as plain text.

Microsoft® Windows

  • Notepad: included with all Windows systems, but can't always handle very large files. Windows XP: Start, (All) Programs, Accessories, Notepad.

Mac OS X

Saving Plain Text From Word Processors

Microsoft® Windows

  • WordPad is included in all Windows systems.
    • Windows XP: Start, (All) Programs, Accessories, Wordpad.
    • File, Save As, change Save as type to text document. To prevent automatic addition of ".txt" to the end of the filename, enclose the file name in double quotes before clicking the Save button.
    • To see the real, full name of the file you saved: See notes below for Windows XP[1] and Windows Vista[2].


  • Word:
    • File, Save As, change Save as type to Plain Text (*.txt). To prevent automatic addition of ".txt" to the end of the filename, enclose the file name in double quotes before clicking the Save button.
    • To see the real, full name of the file you saved: See notes below for Windows XP[1] and Windows Vista[2].


  • Open Office Writer (free, compatible with Word):
    • File, Save As, change Save as type to Text (*.txt).
    • To see the real, full name of the file you saved: See notes below for Windows XP[1] and Windows Vista[2].

Mac OS X

  • TextEdit is bundled free with OS X. Before saving, check the Format pull-down menu. If it says "Make Rich Text" then you will save plain text. If it says "Make Plain Text" then click that to convert to plain text. If you are in Rich Text mode, there will be formatting buttons at the top of the window. If you are in Plain Text mode, there will be no formatting buttons. In Plain Text, you can display the entire document in bold or an unusual font (see Format, Font), but that only affects the display, not the saved file. The first time you save a new document, you get a choice of Plain Text Encoding. Unicode (UTF-8) is fine.
  • Word:mac (2008): File, Save As, then change Format to Plain Text (.txt). At the Warning/Conversion dialog, check "Insert line breaks".
  • Pages: File, Export, click Plain Text, and proceed. Pages forces you to name the file something.pdb.txt (or something.spt.txt), so after you save the file, you can rename it. The file type (end of filename ".pdb", ".spt", etc.) is important on servers, so it is best to use the appropriate file type.
  • Open Office Writer (free, compatible with Word) is available for OS X.

Notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 To see the real, full names of files in Windows XP: Start, (All) Programs, Accessories, Windows Explorer. There: Tools, Folder Options, View tab, Advanced Settings uncheck Hide extensions for known file types, OK.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 To see the real, full names of files in Windows Vista: Start, (All) Programs, Accessories, Windows Explorer. There: Organize, Folder and search options, View tab, Advanced Settings uncheck Hide extensions for known file types, OK.

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