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How To Use The Clipboard And The ScratchPad


We are all used to our computer's Clipboard - that handy facility that allows us to cut, copy and paste text or other data from one place to another. The disadvantage of the clipboard, though, is that we can't see what is in it, or change its contents in any way apart from over-writing everything completely. The Tab-List Tools program opens up the concept, and allows a bit more versatility that is very handy when working with tab-indented lists.


Of course the usual Cut (Control+X), Copy (Control+C), Paste (Control+V), and Select All (Control+A) commands work as expected from the keyboard. In addition there are commands to 'Copy Page to Clipboard', 'Replace Page with Clipboard', and the very useful 'Swap Page with Clipboard', where nothing is lost and the two sets of data are simply exchanged. You can also 'Append Clipboard', which adds the contents to the end of the current page, and 'Insert Clipboard' at the current caret-position. All of these commands can be found in the 'Edit' section of the main Menu.


Right-click a page in the Workspace for Undo and Redo commands, if needed.


The ScratchPad expands the clipboard idea even further, providing you with a clipboard that you can actually see and alter before you use it. To access the ScratchPad, look in the Extensions section of the main window. The buttons at the bottom of the ScratchPad work directly with it, not with the clipboard, so, for instance, if you already have some text-data in your Clipboard, you can paste it into the ScratchPad by clicking the ScratchPad's 'Paste' button. You can also click the ScratchPad to type in it, alter things, select and cut, copy or paste as you would in a normal text-editor. But there's even more to come!


If you click 'Tools > Edit' you will see a section marked 'Smart Editing', with buttons marked 'Smart Cut', Smart Copy', 'Smart Paste', and 'Smart Delete'. These buttons work directly with the ScratchPad. Why are they 'Smart'? - because they take into account the number of tab-indents that a section of text contains, and then match the text with the number of indents at the destination. When cutting or copying to the ScratchPad, they omit the indents, making it easier to edit text in the ScratchPad.To see this in action, click 'Tools > Testing > Load a Test List of Wedding Guests' to open the Wedding Guests list, then select lines 4-8 by clicking and dragging over them.


Click 'Smart Copy' and those 4 lines will be copied to the ScratchPad, but without any indents at all. It is a lot easier to work on text when you don't have to worry about the indent count!


Now position your caret on, say, Line 12: anywhere on the line will do, then click 'Smart Paste', and the contents of the ScratchPad will be inserted at that line with the correct number of indents included to match the existing text.


Here's an easy way to select lines: left-click the 'Error Margin' in the Workspace - that's the third margin in from the left - level with line 4, then drag down the margin. As you do so, whole lines are selected without you having to worry about exact start and stop positions. It always selects complete lines, including a trailing carriage-return/linefeed.


Clear the ScratchPad by clicking its 'Clear' button, then select lines 3-8 this time.


In the Edit Tab, click 'Selection > Selected Text', then click 'Smart Cut'. The text is now moved from the Workspace to the ScratchPad, and the indents are removed as before. A message box also appears, letting you know that the indents of the text before your cut and the indent of the text after your cut do not match. This isn't a problem in this example, but it might be an issue some times so its good to be aware of the disparity. Try Smart-Cutting lines 5-7 instead and you will see the issue doesn't arise there.


'Smart Delete' is like 'Smart Cut' but it abandons the data after checking before and after indent-values. For information on other 'Edit' tools, see the 'Edit' section.