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Hex Color Picker and TextClipping

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Most days, I focus on a single product in Mac Gems; today I’m going to cover a couple plugins for Mac OS X that offer simple but useful features.

Pick your colors

Back in October 2005, we reviewed ColorTagGen .01, a standalone utility that makes it easy to find the hex code for a color—the code you use to designate a color in HTML and CSS. (For example, white is #FFFFFF .) But if you’re a fan of Mac OS X’s built-in color picker, Waffle Software’s free Hex Color Picker 1.4 (   ; payment requested) is even better. Hex Color Picker works as a color-picker plugin; drag it to ~/Library/ColorPickers (for use in only your own account) or /Library/ColorPickers (to make it available to all users), and OS X’s color picker palette will magically gain an additional panel. Use one of the standard panels, or the color-picker palette’s Favorites area, to choose your color, and then switch to the new Hex Color Picker panel; the color’s hex code is displayed. Click on the Copy To Clipboard button and you can then paste that code into another application.

Hex Color Picker

You can also choose a color by typing its name in Hex Color Picker’s code box; Hex Color Picker recognizes standard HTML color names. (For example, if you type orange in the box and press the return key, Hex Color Picker will tell you that the code for orange is #FFA500 .) Conversely, if you want to see what color a particular hex code represents, you can type or paste that code into the box.

Granted, Hex Color Picker is accessible only in applications that use Mac OS X’s color picker, but if those apps are part of your workflow, Hex Color Picker is a nifty add-on.

Index your clippings

Although Spotlight is far from perfect, it’s not without merits, one of which is the ability to quickly find files containing particular information. But when it comes to searching file contents, one of Spotlight’s blind spots is text clippings. That’s right: one of the most popular Mac OS features—the ability to drag text from nearly any application to the Finder to create a clipping file that can be opened in the Finder or saved for later use—is incompatible with one of Mac OS X’s most-touted features.

The problem is that every clipping file stores its data—in the case of a text clipping, its textual contents—in the file’s resource fork; Spotlight’s content search doesn’t search resource forks. Enter Hendrik Holtmann’s free TextClipping 1.01 (   ; payment requested). Once installed—the installer places the plugin in /Library/Spotlight—TextClipping lets Spotlight index the resource forks of text clipping files, thus letting you search those contents using Spotlight. Best of all, you don’t even have to wait for Spotlight to re-index your hard drive; the contents of text clippings are immediately searchable.

Hex Color Picker 1.4 and TextClipping 1.01 each require Mac OS X 10.4 or later. Both products are Universal binaries.

UPDATE 5/22/2007: Corrected developer name and Web site for Hex Color Picker.

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