Scratchpad App for Mac
October 14, 2018 12:31 PM   Subscribe

Need a scratchpad solution for jotting super temporary text on a Mac (an email address someone dictates over phone, a clot of text copied from Safari to be cleaned up before cut/pasting into a Calendar entry, etc.). Stuff that won't be saved, doesn't need to be catalogued or tagged or synched or searched. Simple and ergonomic, going in and out (don't ask me if I want to save, etc.)

App should always open a white rectangle at fresh launch, with none of the stylings/checkings normally applied to MacOS text files. If it also facilitates the outbound routing, sort of the way Loopback does for audio, even better. If it can config to always float above all other windows, better still.

BBEdit's scratchpad is the right idea, but too clunky.

Stickies are useful for long-term usage, so launching opens a plethora of them...and I want just a nice simple empty rectangle.

Notes isn't for quick temp work

TextEdit performs too much styling/checking, plus it's a pain to kill an unsaved window ("command delete" from the save box irritates me).
posted by Quisp Lover to Computers & Internet (15 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Here’s a post with a couple options, one free and one paid. I love the app Drafts on iOS, and I’ve heard rumors that they’re working on a Mac version.
posted by bluloo at 1:06 PM on October 14, 2018 [1 favorite]

Have you tried choosing "Float Selected Note" in Notes? You can then close the main Notes window and you're left with a lot of what you've described: single white window, no save prompt, no toolbar, no styling/spell checking/substitutions. But there's no outbound routing
posted by not_the_water at 1:07 PM on October 14, 2018 [4 favorites]

In TextEdit if you create a new document and save it as Scratchpad.txt in plain text format, that will kill the toolbars.
If you don't like the monospaced font it uses for plain text, you can change that in preferences.

So then rather than opening TextEdit you open the blank Scratchpad.txt.

To close it without saving, just close the window and hit the spacebar.
posted by Lanark at 1:44 PM on October 14, 2018 [2 favorites]

I use spotlight for this sometimes (command space) but that is very emphemeral.
posted by freethefeet at 2:04 PM on October 14, 2018

freethefeet, if you're settling for that rather desperate move, you might want to try this, which at least has some panache:

Go here for a way to create a notepad in a browser tab/window (sorry, but MeFi won't let me paste the link). You can also save it as a bookmarklet.
posted by Quisp Lover at 2:08 PM on October 14, 2018 [1 favorite]

To clarify....

sorry, but MeFi won't let me paste the link

I can't directly link you to a browser notepad page, but the link I've provided does!
posted by Quisp Lover at 2:23 PM on October 14, 2018

Tyke is the most minimalistic scratchpad app for the Mac that I know of.
posted by adamrice at 2:30 PM on October 14, 2018 [2 favorites]

I have a friend who uses a browser-based notes that launches a persistent note window when you open a new tab:

It’s nice because chances are, your browser is already open and it’s not another program you have to remember. Unlike your link above, it’s persistent and you see your notes every time you open a new tab.
posted by suedehead at 2:32 PM on October 14, 2018

Now introducing: Quisp Notes! I wasn't sure what you meant by "outbound routing" but I think it hits all the other boxes.
posted by panic at 2:45 PM on October 14, 2018

Panic- Dying to check it out but if you're geeky enough to throw together an app, you understand why I'm hesitant to launch an app from an unidentified developer!

adamrice - Tyke looks cool, but won't launch from hotkey. SwiftText and TmpNote seem to fix that.

suedehead - I love browser notepads (see my posting above), but it's the Stickies problem: too many browser tabs already open. My scratchpad needs to deliver blank serenity at a keystroke.
posted by Quisp Lover at 3:22 PM on October 14, 2018

I just use a text editor. Specifically, I use Notepad++ which isn't available for OSX so far as I know, but any text editor that supports multiple tabs is fine. Need to make a note? Make a new tab, type note, done. You can save 'em if you want, and you can write more involved things if you want, but mostly I just type 'em in there and then by the time I need them they're usually still somewhere near the front of the tab queue.

My text editor does not clear its cache if I close it or shut down my computer either, so even stuff that isn't actually saved (most of it) will persist across multiple sessions. Mine has little gray words on a black background but could just as easily have huge black words on a white background if that's more your speed.

It's versatile, effective, simple, and free. Text is text.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 3:24 PM on October 14, 2018

OMG that browser thing is gold. Thanks for posting!
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 5:46 PM on October 14, 2018

I love Unclutter. Mouse up and down, and there's your notepad.

...and it does two complementary things:
1. provides a shelf for files
2. provides clipboard history
posted by Jesse the K at 3:34 PM on October 15, 2018 [2 favorites]

Thanks, JtK. Very sleek and thoughtful app. The feature creep nearly puts it out of contention, but I think it will work. I set it up to launch via keyboard shortcut, which fits my workflow a lot better.
posted by Quisp Lover at 7:20 PM on October 15, 2018

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