We’ve all had to carry over text between different places, and it’s really annoying having your text pasted with all sorts of different weird formatting styles and other things that don’t carry over so well like bullet points, which then double your work as you have to correct and re-format what you’ve pasted to make it coincide with the rest of your text.
The app we are reviewing today is called TextScrub, and as its name implies, it can help you tidy up the text that’s in your clipboard so that it’s more easily transferred over. Sound interesting?
TextScrub is a very simple app that lives in your menu bar, and that when invoked, will clean the text in your clipboard from unwanted styling, weird formatting and even tweak a few words if you tell it to. It goes for $2.99 on the Mac App Store, but is it worth it?
How It Works
What’s so great about TextScrub is that it stands by its own and it doesn’t interfere with your Mac’s built in clipboard system and shortcuts. If you want to copy and paste a piece of text while keeping the original formatting and styling, you can just do it as you normally would. If instead you want to take advantage of TextScrub’s clipboard cleaning capabilities, you have to invoke it by pressing its button on the menu bar, or by triggering your customizable shortcut for it.
Let’s exemplify this: if you copy a piece of text, it will remain as it is in your clipboard until you activate TextScrub. Once you do so, the new clean version of your text will be overwritten to your clipboard. So there’s actually three steps to using it: copying your text, cleaning it, and then pasting it to your destination. This way, TextScrub makes sure that it completely replace your regular clipboard, but it only builds on it and improves it.
What Can It Do?
When you first heard of TextScrub you probably immediately thought of removing styling from text (color, size, font, etc.), but there’s actually a lot more it can do. Think of it as a smarter clipboard, one that not only can remove those styling bits from text, but that can also remove empty lines or learn to correct certain snippets.
Under the preferences you can find all these settings to customize your TextScrub so that it fits your needs. Here’s a rundown of them:
- Normalize whitespaces: If your text has any tabulations, double spaces or weird jumps between text, this feature can help you remove them easily.
- Removing empty lines: If there’s a bunch of line breaks in your clipboard text, this feature will remove them, making it more compact and easier to read (in some cases, anyway).
- Removing bullet points: If you’re copying a list (such as this one), and you want the bullet points gone, activating this option will have them removed, leaving each item in the list as an ordinary line of text.
- Text Substitutions: This is where you can give certain keywords or text snippets that you’d like to have replaced with something else. The developer exemplifies this by setting a rule for correcting proper names like “iphone” to “iPhone”, but you can get creative with these and have them do all sorts of things, saving you a lot of time.
Each of these settings can easily be activated and deactivated from the settings window, so you can quickly tweak them depending on what you are trying to copy and paste.
TextScrub vs. OS X Built-In Clipboard System
If you paste something using the ordinary system command (CMD+V or using the secondary click submenu), your copied text will be transferred over as it is, with links and weird font settings. However, you might be aware of a similar system command that is supposed to remove this and paste your text while “matching the style” of your destination. It’s found under the Edit submenu, but you can also summon it with a shortcut depending on the app you’re using (CMD+Shift+V or CMD+Shift+Alt+V).
Then, why would anyone pay for TextScrub? Well, I compared its functionality to that of the “Paste and Match Style” feature, and there’s one deal breaker: while working with word processors, the built-in feature will remove all formatting but not the hyperlinks, which is something that TextScrub does well. That, and of course, the other extra features of TextScrub that the built-in thing doesn’t even come close to: text substitutions, normalizing white spaces, removing tabulations and bullet points.
TextScrub is a pretty good example of how an app is supposed to be done. Despite it stepping on the toes of a system built-in feature, and the simplistic nature of the app, every single detail of it is well thought through and executed. Understanding and swapping settings is quick and easy, using the app feels cool because of the animations and sounds, and even the website of the app is inviting and superbly designed.
Now, justifying spending the $3 bucks for it is up to you. You might think that most of its functionality is covered by the built-in clipboard system, but if you’ve ever felt it underpowered and wished you could tweak it to work a little more for pasting plain text given certain conditions, then give TextScrub a try. Just the sole functionality of being able to paste text to Pages with all the hyperlinks removed has made me a fan. But what do you think?