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July 7, 2011

New Ebooks from TidBITS

Take Control of TextExpander
by Michael E Cohen
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Cohen helps readers take full advantage of the power of TextExpander 3, an award-winning text expansion utility from Smile with a 5-star rating in the Mac App Store. He first teaches TextExpander newbies how to create "snippets" of text (like an address) that can be inserted into text in nearly any application by typing a short abbreviation (for example, addd). Once readers are comfortable with TextExpander's core controls and options, Cohen explains TextExpander's sophisticated options for inserting and working with snippets, including how to use snippets on an iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch using Smile's TextExpander touch app.

Readers will also learn how to:
  • Include the clipboard contents in a TextExpander snippet expansion.
  • Make a TextExpander abbreviation that expands into a fill-in form.
  • Work with formatted text and pictures in snippets.
  • Create snippets that do date and time math.
  • Automatically fix capitalization errors.
  • Make snippets that contain other snippets.
  • Share snippets among multiple Macs using MobileMe or Dropbox.
  • Construct snippets that run AppleScripts or Unix commands.
  • Get and use optional snippet groups created by Smile and others to insert special characters, auto-correct misspelled text, insert HTML and CSS tags, and more.
The book was created in partnership with Smile, enabling Cohen to receive answers to technical questions and get insider insight into typical questions asked by TextExpander users.

Greg Scown, Smile founder, said "We're excited about this new book. He brings the same expertise, wit, and patience to exploring TextExpander as he did for PDFpen 5. Take Control and Michael have produced another great ebook, and we're thrilled to have it available for TextExpander users."


Take Control of Scrivener 2
by Kirk McElhearn
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Using Melville's Moby-Dick as his exemplar, McElhearn pilots writers through the process of using Scrivener for a writing project. Ports of call on this voyage include:
  • Set up: Readers begin their journey by adding reference materials to a Scrivener project for easy access, including videos, audio files, PDFs, and Web resources. They also learn how to import bits of writing from elsewhere using a variety of methods.
  • Organizing: McElhearn guides writers through the capabilities of Scrivener's Outliner, Corkboard, Collections, and Binder to help them assemble content whether they want to work linearly, in a more organic experimental way, or in a combination of the two approaches.
  • Composing: McElhearn shows readers how to eliminate distractions with Full Screen mode, and how Typewriter Scrolling can keep writing focused at the center of the screen, not the bottom. He explains how to work on one section while easily referring to others, and he introduces the powerful Scrivenings view, with which readers can follow and compose one thread of a complex interlocking narrative, no matter if it is broken up into multiple sections, scenes, or chapters in the final manuscript.
  • Revising: McElhearn surveys Scrivener's revision marking feature and its useful snapshot capability, explaining how writers can use snapshots to compare the effect of different revision strategies, while still being able to roll back to a previous version.
  • Submitting and publishing: As the journey comes to an end, McElhearn demonstrates how writers can assemble their work into a final manuscript that can be printed or converted to a common file format suitable for submission to an editor, publisher, or associate (formats include RTF, Microsoft Word, Final Draft, PDF, and EPUB).
Sprinkled throughout the book are testimonials from published authors who have embraced Scrivener, including David Hewson, James Fallows, Jason Snell, Jeff Abbott, and Michael Marshall Smith.

"Take Control of Scrivener 2 provides a great introduction to the program for those just starting out with it, along with advice for experienced Scrivener users looking to dig deeper," said Keith Blount, Scrivener's developer. "If you're looking to get the most out of the program's features, the book summarises the functions you'll use the most, taking you all the way from initial project setup to compiling and formatting your draft for publication, printing, or submission."

For review copies or more information please email takecontrolpr@oreilly.com.

About Take Control Ebooks
The Take Control series is published by TidBITS Publishing Inc. TidBITS co-founders Adam and Tonya Engst have been publishing highly regarded news and editorial since 1990 when they created the online newsletter TidBITS, which covers Macintosh and Internet-related topics. The Take Control series has helped many thousands of readers with high-quality, timely, real-world, cost-effective documentation since 2003.

About O'Reilly

O'Reilly Media spreads the knowledge of innovators through its books, online services, magazines, and conferences. Since 1978, O'Reilly Media has been a chronicler and catalyst of cutting-edge development, homing in on the technology trends that really matter and spurring their adoption by amplifying "faint signals" from the alpha geeks who are creating the future. An active participant in the technology community, the company has a long history of advocacy, meme-making, and evangelism.

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