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Grab text with Stickies service Apps
At times you'll want to grab a selection of text different apps for any number of purposes. For example, you may be viewing a post in this "Tips" forum and want to keep a particular paragraph within a particular post.

Previously, you would have selected the text and dragged it to the desktop as a "clipping." This still works, but it clutters up your desktop.

Here's a better way:

Select the desired text -- in any Cocoa application -- and choose "Services" and then "Make Sticky" under the menu with your applications title in it (the menu just to the right of the Apple menu; it will have the same name as the application you're in). Stickies will launch if it's not already running, and create a new note with your selected text.

[Editor's addendum: In my opinion, system-wide services are one of the coolest and probably least publicized features of OS X. Take a look at the Services menu (under the application's name in the menu bar) for examples of what you can do.

Most services seem to be available even if the service app is not running; the application will launch when the service is selected. "Grab" services appear broken, at least in my 10.0.3 - it doesn't work with or without Grab running.

At present, only Cocoa apps can take advantage of services; hopefully, Carbon apps will gain the ability at some point in the future. I personally think services could turn into one of the most useful features of X]
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DO NOT need to launch app first...
Authored by: joshuajabbour on May 11, '01 02:44:05AM

Yes, services are the best-kept secret of X, and I wish more apps would provide more services (I could think of a few more for Fire and OW, plus some apps that don't currently have services, like xFiles....

BUT the wrong info in this hint is that you need to launch Stickies (or whatever app) first to use its services, really you DO NOT need to! Select any text in OW, and choose Make Sticky...and it launches Stickies and makes one (even keeping formatting!)

Awesome stuff!

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Authored by: robg on May 11, '01 09:06:30AM

Thanks for the feedback; I've edited the hint to reflect the correct behavior.

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Panther broken this
Authored by: venosa on Dec 11, '03 05:29:03AM

I was a heavy user of stickies anf mail services in jaguar, but... panther broken this.
If I don't have stickies or mail already opened panther tries to launch stickies and whatever email application in CLASSIC!
I can't figured out how it happens and how to fix it.

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Services recommendations
Authored by: robh on May 11, '01 09:09:10AM
If you like the idea of Services, grab a copy of OmniDictionary. It's free and comes from the folks who brought us OmniWeb. See: This service allows you to highlight a word and then hit 'command =' to look up the definition of the word in an online dictionary. I find the choice of the '=' key to be very intuitive and therefore easy to remember. As has been noted, you don't need to be running an application for its 'Services' to be available, but I think you might need to logout and login again for the new service to be detected.

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Services recommendations
Authored by: Anonymous on May 11, '01 07:35:23PM

Yes, you need to logout and login.

Don't bother Omni about changing that; I already did, and Greg told me that it's a limitation in Mac OS X, not Omni's expertise with Cocoa. =D (Not quite his words, but you get the idea).

OmniDictionary is really very cool; another cool usage for Services would be instant translation (French-English, English-Spanish, etc etc). Doesn't look like anyone's done this yet though.

And it's Command-Shift-Y to Make Sticky, if you want to save the mousing around.

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Services recommendations
Authored by: sven on May 12, '01 02:26:49PM

Oh, yes, there's a language dictionary available: "WordLookup". It sports translation for a couple of languages, among them English, German, and Latin. It's free, you can find it on versiontracker.


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Bleak outlook for carbon
Authored by: _merlin on May 11, '01 10:29:45PM

The Mac OS X services system is based on the Cocoa DO messaging system. Carbon applications use a completely different runtime environment, and cannot send or receive these messages. I know it would be nice to have this feature in Carbon, just like the Cocoa spell checking service, window model, event model and dynamic loading and linking system. Implementing these things in the Carbon runtime environment would just be too difficult and inefficient.

Speaking of the command-= combination, a lot of service modules try to use it (including three of the ones I have), and there's no way to define which one gets it. WordNet has got it on my system, but on other peoples' machines I've seen the OmniDictionary and CalcService take it.

Vasantha Crabb

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