Text Format Tool (TFT), is a program born out of the desire to be able to quickly reformat received email (which has been sent as plain text and forwarded quite a few times), text from web pages, and old DOS text documents. All of the mentioned text sources usually consist of separate lines that make up paragraphs and often have quote's (> > > ), leading spaces, trailing spaces, multiple spacing (to justify and align). With TFT such text can be reformatted to usuable text for modern applications in seconds.

The program itself works as a little word processing program. It accepts drag 'n' drop in both ways.

Click here to download Text Format Tool!

How it works...

    When you receive a message from someone that you want to use in a text processing system or to create a new message to send to other people:

  • Start Text Format Tool (TFT)
  • Go to the message in Outlook, Netscape Messenger or whatever e-mail program you use.
  • Mark the text from the original message you want to use.
  • Either copy+paste (Edit->Copy in your e-mail program) & (Edit->Paste in TFT) or drag 'n' drop the text.
  • Make sure TFT is active.
  • Hit <Ctrl+A> which selects all the text.
  • Perform the options from the "Format" menu, thus:
    • <Ctrl+A> Format->Remove Leading Spaces.
    • <Ctrl+A> Format->Remove Trailing Spaces.
    • <Ctrl+A> Format->Reformat Paragraph.
  • If you see that the text has more than one space between words: <Ctrl+A> Format->Single Space.
  • If the message has quotes: "> > > > " (one or more "> ") at the beginning of lines, make sure to do <Ctrl+A> Format->Remove Quote before you do Reformat Paragraph. Reformat Paragraph will incorporate "> > > > " as words in the text and Remove Quote does not recognise "> > > > " if it is not at the beginning of a line.
  • <Ctrl+A>, <Ctrl+C> (select all + copy)
  • Create a new message in your e-mail program and do Edit->Paste, most likely <Ctrl+V>

As you might have noticed for every command from the Format menu the text the command will be performed on has to be selected or marked. Text not selected or marked will not be changed by any of the commands.

The way an e-mail message is formatted can be preserved much better when a message is not being sent as
Plain Text, but as Plain Text and HTML.

In Netscape Messenger this can be selected by clicking
Options in the tool bar.


Next, change the choice after
Format.


Sorry for those using Eudora, Outlook or anything else. messages probably can be sent as HTML with any modern e-mail program.



An example of an e-mail
Sensible Bill of Rights which could be reformatted before being send again.
As you can see, the whole text of the e-mail has been 'quoted', the "> > " at the beginning of every line do not make the e-mail more readable. Next to that paragraphs consist of lines separated by hard line breaks and paragraphs seem so be separated by two hard line breaks. Who ever wants to reuse this text is going to have to go through a lot of work in an e-mail program, text or word processing system.
> > The following was written by State Representative Mitchell Kaye from GA.
> >
> > We, the sensible people of the United States, in an attempt
> > to help everyone get along, restore some semblance of justice,
> > avoid any more riots, keep our nation safe, promote positive behavior,
> > and secure the blessings of debt free liberty to ourselves and our
> > great-great-great-grandchildren, hereby try one more time to ordain and
> > establish some common sense guidelines for the terminally whiny, guilt
> > ridden, delusional, and other liberal bedwetters.
> >
> > We hold these truths to be self-evident: that a whole lot of people are
> > confused by the Bill of Rights and are so dim that they require a Bill
> > of No Rights."
> >
> > ARTICLE I:
> > You do not have the right to a new car, big screen TV or any other form
> > of wealth. More power to you if you can legally acquire them, but no
> one
> > is guaranteeing anything.
> >
> > ARTICLE II:
> > You do not have the right to never be offended. This country is based
> on
> > freedom, and that means freedom for everyone-not just you! You may
> > leave the room, turn the channel, express a different opinion, etc.,
> but
> > the world is full of idiots, and probably always will be.
> >
> > ARTICLE III:
> > You do not have the right to be free from harm. If you stick a
> > screwdriver in your eye, learn to be more careful, do not expect the
> > manufacturer to make you and all your relatives independently wealthy.
> >
> > ARTICLE IV:
> > You do not have the right to free food and housing. Americans are the
> > most charitable people to be found, and will gladly help anyone in
> need,
> > but we are quickly growing weary of subsidizing generation after
> > generation
> > of professional couch potatoes who achieve nothing more than the
> creation
> > of another generation of professional couch potatoes.
> >
> > ARTICLE V:
> > You do not have the right to free health care. That would be nice, but
> > from the looks of public housing, we're just not interested in public
> > health care.
> >
> > ARTICLE VI:
> > You do not have the right to physically harm other people. If you
> > kidnap, rape, intentionally maim, or kill someone, don't be surprised
> if
> > the rest of us want to see you fry in the electric chair.
> >
> > ARTICLE VII:
> > You do not have the right to the possessions of others. If you rob,
> > cheat or coerce away the goods or services of other citizens, don't be
> > surprised if the rest of us get together and lock you away in a place
> > where
> > you still won't have the right to a big screen color TV or a life of
> > leisure.
> >
> > ARTICLE VIII:
> > You don't have the right to demand that our children risk their lives
> in
> > foreign wars to soothe your aching conscience. We hate oppressive
> > governments and won't lift a finger to stop you from going to fight if
> > you'd like. However, we do not enjoy parenting the entire world and do
> > not want to spend so much of our time battling each and every little
> > tyrant
> > with a military uniform and a funny hat.
> >
> > ARTICLE IX:
> > You don't have the right to a job. All of us sure want all of you to
> > have one, and will gladly help you along in hard times, but we expect
> > you to take advantage of the opportunities of education and vocational
> > training
> > laid before you to make yourself useful.
> >
> > ARTICLE X:
> > You do not have the right to happiness. Being an American means that
> you
> > have the right to pursue happiness - which, by the way, is a lot easier
> > if unencumbered by laws created by those of you who were confused by
> the
> > Bill of Rights.
> >
> > If you agree, feel free to forward this to as many people as
> > you would like. No, you don't have to, and nothing tragic will befall
> you
> > should you not forward it. We just think it is about time common sense
> is
> > allowed to flourish - call it the age of reason revisited.

Here in short the steps to reformat this text:

  • Mark the text in the e-mail program
  • Drag 'n' drop the text into TFT
  • Mark all the text in TFT <Ctrl+A>
  • Go to menu: "Format->Remove Quote"
  • Mark all the text again <Ctrl+A>
  • Go to menu: "Format->Remove Trailing Spaces"
  • Mark all the text again <Ctrl+A>
  • Go to menu "Format->Reformat Paragraph"
  • Mark all the text again
  • Drag 'n' drop (or copy+paste) it into the program you want to reuse it in.


The newly formatted text will look like:

The following was written by State Representative Mitchell Kaye from GA.

We, the sensible people of the United States, in an attempt to help everyone get along, restore some semblance of justice, avoid any more riots, keep our nation safe, promote positive behavior, and secure the blessings of debt free liberty to ourselves and our great-great-great-grandchildren, hereby try one more time to ordain and establish some common sense guidelines for the terminally whiny, guilt ridden, delusional, and other liberal bedwetters.

We hold these truths to be self-evident: that a whole lot of people are confused by the Bill of Rights and are so dim that they require a Bill of No Rights."

ARTICLE I: You do not have the right to a new car, big screen TV or any other form of wealth. More power to you if you can legally acquire them, but no one is guaranteeing anything.

ARTICLE II: You do not have the right to never be offended. This country is based on freedom, and that means freedom for everyone-not just you! You may leave the room, turn the channel, express a different opinion, etc., but the world is full of idiots, and probably always will be.

ARTICLE III: You do not have the right to be free from harm. If you stick a screwdriver in your eye, learn to be more careful, do not expect the manufacturer to make you and all your relatives independently wealthy.

ARTICLE IV: You do not have the right to free food and housing. Americans are the most charitable people to be found, and will gladly help anyone in need, but we are quickly growing weary of subsidizing generation after generation of professional couch potatoes who achieve nothing more than the creation of another generation of professional couch potatoes.

ARTICLE V: You do not have the right to free health care. That would be nice, but from the looks of public housing, we're just not interested in public health care.

ARTICLE VI: You do not have the right to physically harm other people. If you kidnap, rape, intentionally maim, or kill someone, don't be surprised if the rest of us want to see you fry in the electric chair.

ARTICLE VII: You do not have the right to the possessions of others. If you rob, cheat or coerce away the goods or services of other citizens, don't be surprised if the rest of us get together and lock you away in a place where you still won't have the right to a big screen color TV or a life of leisure.

ARTICLE VIII: You don't have the right to demand that our children risk their lives in foreign wars to soothe your aching conscience. We hate oppressive governments and won't lift a finger to stop you from going to fight if you'd like. However, we do not enjoy parenting the entire world and do not want to spend so much of our time battling each and every little tyrant with a military uniform and a funny hat.

ARTICLE IX: You don't have the right to a job. All of us sure want all of you to have one, and will gladly help you along in hard times, but we expect you to take advantage of the opportunities of education and vocational training laid before you to make yourself useful.

ARTICLE X: You do not have the right to happiness. Being an American means that you have the right to pursue happiness - which, by the way, is a lot easier if unencumbered by laws created by those of you who were confused by the Bill of Rights.

If you agree, feel free to forward this to as many people as you would like. No, you don't have to, and nothing tragic will befall you should you not forward it. We just think it is about time common sense is allowed to flourish - call it the age of reason revisited.

A few comments:

  • If there are any, always remove quotes first as TFT only detects quotes at the beginning of a line.
  • If there are leading spaces, delete them next.
  • Trailing spaces always should be removed as TFT only determines a new paragraph when after a line break immidiately follows an other line break. If there is anything (like spaces or tabs) before the second line break, TFT will treat it as a line and join the two paragraph together into one.
  • The formatting commands are performed on the marked text only. So you can reformat in sections and can reformat sections in different ways.

Click here to download Text Format Tool!

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