Sassafras4u: Science Article SpreadSheets And Fast Reference Archive System

Text Viewing Options

Tofu, TextEdit, MacGizmo...and now Word

Tofu is a viewer especially designed to make reading text more rapid, less tiring and generally more enjoyable. TextEdit is the Mac’s default text editor. MacGizmo is a handy and quick (pre)viewer, similar to Quickview in the latest OS X Leopard.

Tofu and MacGizmo preserve the font family, character styles and relative text sizes, and allow increasing the text size for the whole article in one-step. Newer versions of TextEdit preserve font families, styles and relative sizes but increasing text size requires the additional step of Selecting All text (Command-A).

The contrast between reading the text from the original article online and from the corresponding text file in Tofu, TextEdit or MacGizmo is especially obvious when the online version uses a wide text area with a sans serif font in a small point size.

Compare them in the examples below (10/16/16 article 60). (The screenshots may be reduced in size so they don’t accurately represent the full-size appearance and actual readability, but I think you will be able to get the general idea of the effect of the difference in layout presentation on readability.)

(New for December 2010: MS Word RTF. See below.)

Workaround for Some Tofu Quirks

Sometimes, when displaying a two-column article, some text will be invisible at the top of the second column. Running the cursor over this area will reveal the missing text, but, also, increasing the text size, then immediately decreasing it will reveal the text. (I use QuicKeys, the macro-creator, to do this in one convenient keystroke.)

Also, sometimes, a ghost image of text from the article that was previously displayed in a window will remain visible after replacement with another article (by dragging its text file into the same window). This seems to be a simple screen-refresh problem that can be easily resolved by minimizing the window and then immediately reopening it, forcing a screen redraw. (I also use QuicKeys, the macro-creator, to accomplish this in one convenient keystroke.)

New for December 2010: Text Files in MS Word RTF Format

The text files are now provided in Microsoft Word Rich Text Format (RTF) so that PC users can finally view—in MS Word or the free Neo Office—the easier-to-read, newspaper-like narrow columns, and the font families, sizes, styles and colors that I have applied to the text to make the articles much easier, faster and more pleasurable to read.

Mac users have been able to enjoy this since the beginning by using Tofu and the SimpleText files but now PC users can see what they’ve been missing all this time.

Mac users who drag one of the new RTF files into a Tofu window will see exactly the same thing as if they had dragged a corresponding SimpleText file, so nothing has been lost or changed from the Mac viewpoint.

See the example below for the appearance in Word compared to Tofu.

Text file (RTF) opened in MS Word (above)
and Tofu (below)