Plain text format
When you insert a new child node, its article font face, size and color are the values set in Main menu ⁄ View ⁄ Options ⁄ Article ⁄ Font. The background color is determined by Main menu ⁄ View ⁄ Options ⁄ Article ⁄ Color. When you start typing text it is left-aligned, without any extra formatting such as boldfacing or italics, and there is no paragraph indentation. This appearance is termed plain text and is exactly what you would get from a plain text editor such as Notepad.
Plain text is the most basic of all text formats. In the freeware versions of TreePad, all articles are in plain text. In TreePad you have the option of using plain text or rich text in your articles.
TreePad stores the text you type in in one of two ways, depending on whether it considers the current article to be in plain text or rich text format. As you can see by creating a test TreePad file and examining it with a plain text editor, plain text is stored much more economically than rich text because there are no extra hidden formatting symbols, which take up a significant amount of space. An article can be in only one format or the other. To see which one it is, look at the Status bar. If it is in plain text format, you will see the word Text. If in Rich Text Format, you will see RTF instead.
It follows that the default article font face⁄size⁄color determines the appearance of plain text.
Setting default (plain text) article font and color
To change the default article font or background color, click Main menu ⁄ View ⁄ Options ⁄ Article and click the Font or Color buttons respectively. Note that TreePad applies this retroactively, i.e., the font in all plain text articles immediately changes to the new attributes. The fonts of RTF articles do not change, since these are individually determined in each article. However, if the article background color is changed, this affects RTF as well as plain text articles.
Changing from plain text to rich text and back again
As soon as you add boldfacing, italics, paragraph indentation or any other formatting attributes, the article's format automatically changes from plain text to rich text and stays that way unless you convert it back to plain text (see below). Inserting hyperlinks, tables, images or similar objects requiring hidden formatting code to display them has the same effect. Pasting in clipboard text with a different font face or size will also convert the article to rich text, which may be difficult to detect unless you keep checking the status bar to see if Text has changed to RTF. See also Handy hint below.
You can change any rich text article to plain text by clicking Convert ⁄ To plain text in either Main menu ⁄ Format or the Article context menu. This is sometimes useful to remove all existing formats prior to standardizing them. When you do so, though, you will lose any images in the article, convert underlined hyperlinks to plain text hyperlinks (see below), and lose the cell walls of tables while preserving their text. You will see RTF in the status bar change to Text.
Other features of plain text
Note that although the menu items and toolbuttons to carry out case conversion are grouped with other formatting controls, case conversion can be done without the need for special formatting, so will not change plain text to rich text.
Hyperlinks created in plain text are naturally called plain text hyperlinks. However, as soon as you create an underlined hyperlink in a plain text article, TreePad considers it to be in RTF. This is because only RTF allows you to hide unnecessary formatting details from view.
Advantages of Plain text format
- Articles in plain text occupy much less memory and disk space than those in rich text. Plain text is useful for storing such items as news clippings, e-mails etc. where font style and paragraph formatting may not be important
- You can edit everything (such as hyperlinks) directly. No characters are hidden.
- You can easily copy text to and from the Windows Clipboard, and thus to other text applications, without worrying about whether formatting will be transferred correctly.
- You can exchange plain text files with users of other versions of TreePad such as TreePad Lite which handles only plain text.
Disadvantages of Plain text format
- It is difficult to pick out headings and other areas of text. You are reduced to capitalizing them or inserting lines of hyphens or underscores beneath. Plain text lacks the attractive formatting enhancements of rich text.
- Plain text hyperlinks are longer and harder to read since they must include either the full filepath or the node ID.
Handy hint: After pasting supposedly plain text in from another application, check the Status bar in case TreePad detects a slight difference in font size or style and alters the article format to rich text. To ensure that an article is pasted in as plain text, select Copy special ⁄ Copy as text or press ctrl-shift-v on the keyboard. See Copy special and Paste special.