Tips and Tricks

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  • Most things you can do in BBEdit can be done with a keystroke. You can add or edit keystrokes in the "Menus & Shortcuts" Preferences pane.
  • Clippings are little bits of text that you can add quickly to your documents. You can assign a keystroke to any clipping, or use auto-complete. (They will show up in auto-complete if they are in the clipping set for the document type you're working on.) Clippings can also have placeholders (jump points) and run scripts to generate content.
  • The Expert Preferences section in BBEdit help tells you how to change preferences that don't appear in the BBEdit Preferences pane.
  • The BBEdit User Manual contains a very detailed regular-expression reference for grep searches.
  • BBEdit keeps a selection history for every open document. Use "Jump Back" and "Jump Forward" on the Search menu. (See above about editing keystrokes.)
  • Many menu commands have extra functionalities that toggle into view if you hold down the Shift or Option key (or sometimes both) while the menu is pulled down. (e.g. "Save" turns into "Save All" with the Option key.)
  • If you don't want BBEdit to start up with the same state as when you shut it down (open documents and such), hold down the Shift key while launching. Note: This also will skip items in ~/Library/Application Support/BBEdit/Startup Items/.
  • BBEdit supports multiple clipboards (up to six) when you cut or copy. They stack on top of one another until you hit six, and then wrap around, first in, first out, so the last six things you copied or cut are always available for pasting. By default, Paste inserts text from the most recently used clipboard. To see what is on your six clipboards, use Show Clipboard on the Edit menu. Control-[ and control-] cycle forwards and backwards through your clipboards in memory, whether the Clipboard window is open or not. Command-Shift-V pastes only what's in the previous clipboard, and using it repeatedly will replace the previous pasted clipboard with the one before it.
  • To open all the files in a folder as a project, drop the folder onto the BBEdit icon in the dock.
  • You can view formatted Markdown in the preview window, which updates as you type. You can also save your Markdown document as HTML. Also, if you copy the contents of the preview window, you will get formatted text that you can pass into any word professor or other application that supports styled text.
  • If you want to change the default size of your editing window, choose "Save default project window" from the window menu.
  • To manually manage font smoothing for proportional fonts, go to the Terminal window and do the following:
    • defaults write com.barebones.bbedit FontSmoothingThreshold -int N ("N" is some integer reflecting font size)
  • To manually manage font smoothing for fixed-width fonts, go to the Terminal window and do the following:
    • defaults write com.barebones.bbedit FixedWidthFontSmoothingThreshold -int N ("N" is some integer reflecting font size)
  • You can use INI files for global and directory-specific preferences