Submit Hint Search The Forums LinksStatsPollsHeadlinesRSS
14,000 hints and counting!

Tofu - A unique way of reading chunks of text Pick of the Week
Tofu iconThe macosxhints Rating:
8 of 10
[Score: 8 out of 10]
Tofu is an interesting application -- it's basically a column-oriented text reader. Basically, Tofu will work with text (pasted, grabbed via a service, or in an opened file) and reformat it to display in multiple columns, all fully justified. This can make reading long, text-heavy documents much easier -- many websites (some would say including macosxhints!) display text on a few long lines, instead of multiple shorter lines in columns. Magazines and newspapers use shorter lines and columns because they're much easier for the reader to follow, especially in long, multi-page articles. Tofu provides a similar service for any text you care to feed it.

I use Tofu quite a bit when reading articles that are long on text and light on images (Tofu can display them, but since the layout gets modified, they may not make much sense where they show in the reformatted text). Just copy and paste a bunch of text into Tofu, and you're ready to go. The text flows into justified columns, fitting the window size you've chosen, and you're ready to read, scrolling left to right as you go.

Tofu includes a "live search" feature, too, so you can jump directly to any spot in the text just by typing a few characters that you'd like to search with. And if you use services-aware applications like Safari or OmniWeb, there's a service available (View in Columns) to make the process even quicker (though it opens the new window behind any existing Tofu windows, which might make you think it didn't work at first). You can set your preferred font, background color, and other options in Tofu's prefs, and there are a variety of keyboard and mouse-based scrolling shortcuts. If you find yourself with tired eyes after reading long articles on the web, give Tofu a try...
  • Currently 2.44 / 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  (9 votes cast)

Tofu - A unique way of reading chunks of text | 10 comments | Create New Account
Click here to return to the 'Tofu - A unique way of reading chunks of text' hint
The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Authored by: rgray on Jul 01, '04 01:00:19PM
if you are a fan of the Project Gutenberg, then Tofu is a 'must have'.....

[ Reply to This | # ]
Authored by: Occam on Jul 01, '04 05:47:56PM

The problem with Tofu is that when the last column has been read and the arrow key is pressed only this last column contains new material which defeats the object of the application. If iKey is used to create a sequence consisting of pressing the arrow key the same number of times as there are columns on the screen and this sequence is triggered by command arrow then all the colums are new which is exactly the same as turning the page of a book, magazine or newspaper and then the application is magic

[ Reply to This | # ]
Tofu - It's about the columns
Authored by: cj69collins on Jul 01, '04 05:18:26PM

I knew there was a reason I wanted my weblog the way I did. Tofu will be good for long reads.

If God wished us to use Windows, he would allow us to come back from the dead...frequently.

[ Reply to This | # ]
Tofu - A unique way of reading chunks of text
Authored by: petey on Jul 01, '04 07:04:46PM

Don't forget about the wonderful "Full Screen" view.

I use DEVONthink for storing snippets, and have a QuicKeys macro set up to copy the front DEVONthink item, open Tofu, paste it in, and view it full screen.

[ Reply to This | # ]
Tofu - A unique way of reading chunks of text
Authored by: Auricchio on Jul 01, '04 09:51:17PM

You should send this idea to the developer: cmd-arrow moves all new columns into view.

Also, you might suggest an "n-1" mode, where all but one column are new. I like to keep the prior column in view, which is like having the advantage of glancing back. This is somewhat like being able to look at the bottom of the left-hand page while reading a right-hand page in a book. When you finish the right-hand page, however, you have to flip back to re-read the prior page.

EMOJO: mojo no longer workin'

[ Reply to This | # ]
Tofu - A unique way of reading chunks of text
Authored by: on Jul 02, '04 02:04:21AM

You can also drag and drop text onto an open window in tofu. In addition, if you select text and then look in the services section on the menu bar, it is actually a service where you can view the text in column view.

Pretty neat

There is no script editor dictionary for the application so any scripting will have to be done with GUI scripting.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Bug bugs bugs
Authored by: jiga on Jul 02, '04 05:11:49AM

You can set a favorite font, including font size, and you have the option to "always format text this way" - but unfortunately the size setting is disregarded :-(

Otherwise, quite a fun tool, but to be really usable, it should be able to affect every text chunk in the whole OS. Of course there are no APIs for this, but wouldn't it be cool anyway? :-)

[ Reply to This | # ]
Bug bugs bugs
Authored by: osxpounder on Jul 06, '04 06:22:35PM

Yep, I find that the "Make Text Bigger" and "... Smaller" menu items do nothing, nor do the associated key commands. I did learn something helpful:

1. If you specify, in Tofu Preferences, a Fixed Width font, you will be able to use these keyboard shortcuts to enlarge and shrink all text, selected or not.

2. Some other fonts [in my case, Geneva], can cause the text to vanish completely, I think [still not sure I can recreate that one -- you try, too, and let us know].


[ Reply to This | # ]
Tofu - A unique way of reading chunks of text
Authored by: Faux Plastic on Jul 02, '04 05:13:14PM

This is a great recommendation I was not aware of, and I will be using it. But what it most dearly needs is some sort of bookmark. Although Tofu will remember where you were when you last had the document open, there is no way to mark the precise point in the text where you stopped reading.

[ Reply to This | # ]
Tofu - A unique way of reading chunks of text
Authored by: thochman on Jul 04, '04 01:11:49AM

There's a lot of requests here for a "new content in all columns" keystroke. Well, if you use Page Down and Page Up, you get exactly that. :) It seems to work for any number of columns, windowed and full screen.

[ Reply to This | # ]