Textedit on OS X
February 13, 2017 4:27 AM   Subscribe

Why must the save dialog obscure the document?

I often leave a bunch of textedit windows open on my Mac. When I reboot, textedit jumps in and says: would you like to review unsaved docs? If i say 'yes', it unhelpfully puts the save dialog over the window. Often these are short disposable notes, that I now can't see. I can't seem to move the dialog out of the way.

Am I doing something wrong or is this just shithouse design?
posted by pompomtom to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I've run into this problem myself, and I'll be interested to know if anyone else has a good solution for it. I have discovered, though, that if you "collapse" the save dialog by clicking the small arrow near the filename entry box, and widen the whole TextEdit window (which you can do while the save dialog is active), you can usually reveal enough of the text in the first line to remember what you were doing with that particular document. It's a bit of a hassle, but it's less hassle than canceling out of the save dialogs.

Mac OS used to have "normal", draggable save dialogs, but that default behavior changed a few versions ago. Perhaps there's still a vestigial setting somewhere in the OS that allow that original behavior to be re-enabled.
posted by Johnny Assay at 4:47 AM on February 13, 2017

I have no answer to this question, but I thought I would echo your irritation -- I have the same problem twice a week. I'll be curious to see if anyone else has a good workaround.
posted by crazy with stars at 6:03 AM on February 13, 2017

It's not super on point, but for "short disposable notes" I use the Stickies program. It saves automatically, and so never interrupts with "do you want to save" dialogs.
posted by uberchet at 6:06 AM on February 13, 2017 [2 favorites]

Welcome to the world of modal dialogs.

You might find nvAlt or SimpleNote good alternatives for quick simple notes you don't want to think too hard about saving.
posted by Nelson at 7:25 AM on February 13, 2017

If I'm remembering the run-up to OS X 10.0 correctly, the original reason for the slide-out save dialogues was to demonstrate that the boxes were no longer restricting access to the entire app/computer: Now they were explicitly attached to the window they addressed, and could be ignored as long as you were ignoring that window. It was genuinely pretty exciting at the time, if that's the kind of thing you got excited about.

As to why they have maintained that slide-out idea after the removal of almost all its skeuomorphic/Aqua design cousins... no clue. I join everyone else in recommending nvAlt, though—the autosave/one box functionality has made note-taking way more pleasant for me.
posted by Polycarp at 7:41 AM on February 13, 2017

Don't know how to fix your Textedit issue, but the OSX's own 'Notes' application saves automatically and as a bonus syncs beautifully with the iOS Notes app as well. I think if you're satisfied with what Textedit offers you, you will be satisfied with Notes.
posted by Skyanth at 8:04 AM on February 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

(I used to use nvAlt as well, but since Apple's latest Notes overhaul I made the jump. I do miss tagging, but if Textedit was your go-to app for notes, Notes.app will be an improvement.)
posted by Skyanth at 8:06 AM on February 13, 2017

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