Use Text Edit As A Quick Outlining Tool [OS X Tips]

TextEdit Outlines

I use TextEdit all the time to jot down notes, phone numbers, and any time I need to just get some info down super quick.

I forget, sometimes, that it’s a fairly robust text editor (hence the name, I suppose), and there are a lot of great features to be had.

If you need to make a quick outline, TextEdit can be pretty helpful. Though it’s not as extensive as an outlining feature in something, say, like Word or Pages, it can be useful. It’s also extremely easy to use.

Launch TextEdit and create a new document in the File menu. Choose File, New, and a new window will open. Next, head up to the Format menu, and choose the List option. You’ll get a little window where you can choose a prefix, suffix, bullet type, and where you want the outline numbering to start.

Hit OK and type your first item. When finished, hit Return, and TextEdit will automatically place the next list item in order. In other words, if you start with A, it will print out B for the next list item. If you begin with i, it will place a ii on the next line.

If you want to create a sub-item, simply hit the Tab key on your keyboard. You’ll get an automatic dash character and an indent, which is as extensive as this outliner will get. Hit Return and Tab twice, and you’ll get two indents and another dash. There won’t be any of those outlining sub-items like you learned in school here, but it’s still fairly useful if you’re jotting down notes and need some simple organization.

You can also select the outlining format from the menu in the upper right corner of the document window.

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About the author

Rob LeFebvreAnchorage, Alaska-based freelance writer and editor Rob LeFebvre is Cult of Mac's Culture Editor. He has contributed to various tech, gaming and iOS sites, including 148Apps, VentureBeat, and Paste Magazine. Feel free to find Rob on Twitter @roblef

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