Need an application that displays invisible characters

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Corrado33, Jun 22, 2009.

  1. Corrado33 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2008
    #1
    So I work with computational chemistry, and we usually work with files on windows boxes, however we've started the transition over to Mac Pros. I have my macbook pro, and I've installed the necessary software, however I have a problem.

    We use Notepad to make the input files on XP, because it does not inbed any invisible characters (besides returns etc.) However, whenever I transfer a file (.txt) made with notepad over to my mac, the file will not run in the program we use. It gives an error that usually means you have invisible characters in your input file.

    So if I retype the file in Textedit, (NOT copy and paste), the file works fine. The exact same (looking) input file. Does anyone know what's going on here, or know of an application that will let me see these pesky invisible characters? I've tried word, but couldn't find what I wanted, and... well... I hate Word for mac. It absolutely sucks.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. 7seven7 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2009
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    ~/
    #2
    Have you tried pressing Cmd + Shift + T in TextEdit to convert it to Plain Text mode?
     
  3. Corrado33 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2008
    #3
    Yes I have tried that. It is in fact in plain text mode when I open it in Textedit. But just to be redundant, I even tried converting it to Rich Text, then back to Plain text.

    I thought plain text files were just that, plain text files....??
     
  4. angelwatt Moderator emeritus

    angelwatt

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    USA
    #4
    Take a look at TextWrangler (free) as it can turn on invisible characters such as spaces and tabs. Another option is Smultron.
     
  5. dmmcintyre3 macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2007
    #5
    Or bbedit
     
  6. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

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    #6
    TextWrangler is essentially BBEdit without the HTML formatting menus, which for the most part are useless.
     
  7. angelwatt Moderator emeritus

    angelwatt

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
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    #7
    Well the more important difference is TW is free. I use BBEdit, but that's because my work place bought it for me. The SVN integration in BBEdit is also nice.
     
  8. rowsdower macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2009
    #8
    It could be that the line endings are in the wrong format. Traditionally Macs used a single carriage return (CR) character, Unix used a single line feed character (LF), and Windows used CRLF. There is no good reason for this. Macs now normally use LF since OSX is based on Unix. The text file you create in Notepad on XP probably has CRLF at the end of each line, which you won't see because it's interpreted as a newline indicator. Your program is probably expecting just an LF. I think if you open the file in TextEdit, copy it into a new TextEdit window, convert to plain text, and save, you will get the text with just LF line endings.

    Edit: Found a discussion of this on Wikipedia.
     
  9. Corrado33 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2008
    #9
    You sir... are EXACTLY correct. In textWrangler there is an option at the bottom to change the type of line returns and when I change it to Unix(LF) it works wonderfully.

    I figured that out a full 5 minutes before I checked this thread. However you were wrong about one thing. Copying and pasting into a new textedit window does not, in fact, fix the problem. I simply change the type of line return in TextWrangler and I'm good to go.

    Thanks for everything.
     
  10. rowsdower macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2009
    #10
    Yeah, I wasn't 100% sure on that. I tried it and thought it changed, but I must have been wrong.
     
  11. rdowns macrumors Penryn

    rdowns

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    Jul 11, 2003
  12. Fishrrman macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #12
    RE: Need an application that displays invisible characters

    For a text editor that can show invisibles, try Tex-Edit Plus from Trans-Tex software:
    http://www.tex-edit.com/

    Very nice text editing application, with some advanced capacities built right into it.

    - John
     
  13. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2006
    Location:
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    #13
    Yikes, that site looks old.

    ...lol. There is a review from 2008 though, so it might be worth a look.
     
  14. TheShinyMac macrumors 6502a

    TheShinyMac

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2009
    #14
    if there invisible how do you know if you made a typo:eek::eek::eek::eek::eek:
     
  15. Tesselator macrumors 601

    Tesselator

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    Location:
    Japan
    #15
    LOL!!!


    But I like BBEdit the best too! It's also my hex-editor! Lots of support! Active development, etc.
     

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