HACK / MAKE

Clippings in BBEdit

I’ve been learning new things about BBEdit ever since I started using it but this article pointed out something called Clippings and it is magical. I love TextExpander just as much as BBEdit but it doesn’t work well with text selections.

Here’s a great use-case for Clippings: I’m writing in Markdown (as always) and go back to something that I want to add a link to. In apps like Byword (which I also love) you can easily select the text and hit ⌘ + K. This will wrap the selected text in standard Markdown link syntax and put your cursor right where you need it to be. I wanted to do this just as easily in BBEdit. Sure, BBEdit supports scripting but I want something as easy to create and manage as TextExpander snippets and AppleScript is clunky. With Clippings, you use commands like #SELECTION#, #INSERTION#, #CLIPBOARD#, and whatever snippet text or code you want to build your clippings. The simple one I needed for wrapping text as a Markdown link is:

[#SELECTION#](#INSERTION#)   

My selected text will become the link title and the insertion point will be where I paste in my link. You could also use #CLIPBOARD# in place of #INSERTION# if you regularly copy the link you’re adding first.

To create a clipping, type out your clipping, select it, right-click, and “Save Selection As Clipping…”. Add it to a set and it’s ready to use by choosing it in the Clipping (the big C) in your menu bar. To add a keyboard shortcut to your clipping go Window > Palettes > Clippings, to see a list of your clippings. Select the one you want, and click “Set Key”. Your clippings will live in ~/Library/Application Support/BBEdit/Clippings/[setname] and you can simply add more clippings to this set by saving a new file in that folder.

I’m curious to hear your ideas for Clippings; let me know on Twitter. And if you’d like the clippings I’ve made and use for writing in Markdown, you can download them here.

Thoughts or comments? Let's talk on Twitter or send me an email.