More Clipping Chatter

Written and published July 14, 1999

I've been impressed by the uses of clippings that some of you have been writing about so I decided to take one more week to share them. And there's a simple little app mentioned here too.

Movie Editing

This use of clippings amazes me.

Hi, I've been reading your clipping features on; I think they're great!

My name is Michael Critz. I'm a professional graphic artist at KVIA-TV in El Paso, TX. I've been using clippings since OS 7.5 to edit movies. It's a snap to select portions of movies to drag into a folder, then create a new movie, and insert the clippings. The best thing, is that the clippings reference back to the original files, so they don't take up much space.

Math clippings

Then Ken Kashmarek wrote about Math clippings.

You can create special clippings. For example, Graphing Calculator can create something called a Math Clipping. Select the formula that Graphing Calculator is working on, drag it to the desktop, and release. You get a Math Clipping file.

What makes this a Math Clipping file?

It is actually a PICT resource, but that resource has comment field that is special, but undocumented. Apple Computer won't admit that it exists, yet AppleWorks recognizes it. Apparently, some versions of FrameMaker work with Math Clippings, but you can't get them to talk about it. I contacted the author of Graphing Calculator and he has no documentation.

Now this one I could try. I opened up my copy of ClarisWorks, choose Edit->Insert Equation, and made up an math formula. (OK, I confess, I made up a concoction of a bunch of signs, not a real formula.) It couldn't be dragged from Equation Editor, but after inserting it into the page it was draggable as a picture clipping. But then, we already knew AppleWorks/ClarisWorks is fully drag and drop. Only that's not what Ken meant. So I opened my Graphing Calculator. Sure enough you can drag math formulas out of there too. Not the graphs though. In both cases, the Graphing Calculator and Equation Editor, the result is a Picture clipping, which means you can place it as a picture but you can't edit its characters after dragging it back into a document. (I'd show you the clippings just to give you a laugh at my so-called formulas but I have too much respect for the scientific origins of the Internet.

And now a new application for you

Will Rhea wrote to reminds me to make it clear to you that some programs that you might consider drag aware don't support clippings. For example, he cited Netscape Communicator 4.6. He wrote:

"But there is a great little shareware CMM called Acme Widgets, that has a clipboard to clipping feature that works great. It is a great workaround for apps that don't do clippings." I used to be a fan of Netscape but in the past year I've begun to get annoyed at some of its limitations, draggability being one. So I made the trek to and about a minute later had Acme CMM Widgets. It's a Contextual Menu Item so to install it you just drop it onto your System folder, then Restart.

Here's how it works in Netscape:

Visit your page of choice and when you see something you want to make a clipping out of, select it and copy it. Here's my selection at my web site of choice.

Then move your mouse to the Desktop and Control-click (press Control as you click) somewhere on your empty desktop. Move your mouse down to Acme Widgets, then over to Clipboard to Clipping, as shown here.

Then release the mouse. The clipping appears on your Desktop named Clipboard 7/12, Clipboard 7/12-1, etc. The clippings always land on the Desktop, not just when you Control-click there.

Next I tried this magic gadget in good old, not-kosher-clipping Word 98. I did the same thing as with Netscape &Mac220; copied some words, then Control-clicked on the Desktop choosing Clipboard to Clipping. And then... the moments of truth: I dragged that clipping into Adobe GoLive to see if it would come it as real text or as a picture. And Acme did it! A real text clipping from Word.

Acme Widgets is a handy dandy little gadget. It takes up virtually no room, is a cinch to get to, and it is even totally free. But Office 98 guys and Netscape guys... that doesn't mean you shouldn't be doing drag and drop and clipping ability the right way.

Next Week

There were more letters and software suggestions that rolled in about clippings and saving yourself from typing. I'll continue to share them with you.

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