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Bare Bones Software TextWrangler 3.5.3 review

Mould text with this powerful editor

Bare Bones Software TextWrangler 3.5.3
TextWrangler automatically highlights different elements of HTML code for ease of editing


  • Full set of text-editing features
  • Good PDF documentation


  • Advanced features require study
  • Limited file formats

TextWrangler is a text editor, not a word processor, and there's an important difference.

It's the bee's knees at jobs such as complicated search-and-replaces, sorting, line numbering, and so on, but it doesn't care much about appearance. Changing the display font is about all you can do.

So you shouldn't consider it as an alternative to Word, NeoOffice and the like. Nor is it really an alternative to TextEdit or Stickies for quick-anddirty scribbles.

Where TextWrangler comes into its own is in logically manipulating large chunks of text. For example, through a single dialog you could change a price list order 'SKU, price, product name' into 'product name, SKU, price', and then use just one more dialog to sort that list by price.

There is, of course, a learning curve. Advanced search-and-replace, for example, is based on the Unix utility Grep. But TextWrangler's documentation is excellent, and well-integrated with AppleScript, so you can save processes and call them up.

Other features include multi-file search-and-replace and tools for adding and removing hard line breaks, as well as smartening and dumbing down quotes – tasks that frequently become chores when you're moving text from one format to another. It's difficult to fault.

One welcome addition, however, would be support for opening DOC and RTF files.

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