The Document Escalation Path

It was not until recently that I realized something about my workflow. Please forgive me if this is all “Big Duh!” to you. I have a document escalation path. – a definitive point of creation for the most basic needs and a progression of steps for when the item outgrows those needs. My flow generally goes something like this (links to other posts here where appropriate):

  • TextEdit – All writing on my Mac begins here. I have it set to default to plain text, 90 characters x 50 lines, Menlo for my font (after a long flirtation with Droid Sans). If longtime readers here have not caught on yet, I am a big fan and think this is one of the most underrated programs on the Mac. This can do the job I need to get the words down on a blank space. If I need to do more than that then the escalation path continues to…
  • TextMate – If I need to do some markup to the content, for instance, to publish to the web, then this is the next stop. I usually format in Markdown and then use the convert to html tool from there.
  • Bean – If I need to format into Rich Text for print or PDF, here is where I turn. I’ve discussed Bean here before and it had a few added and very useful features for RTF creating that do not exist in TextEdit. These include full screen mode and word and character count.
  • Pages – If I really need to do some advanced word processing, including style management, headers and footers, inserting images, etc. I use Pages. That said, I rarely have to do so because the options above are enough for me. That said, as word processors go, and despite it’s shortcomings, I really think it is the most elegant word processor available today. I have created some stunningly beautiful work with it.