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The job of an editor is often unglamorous. In addition to guiding the creative process and making sure writers stick to each publication’s style, there’s the thankless task of cleaning up copy once the deadline has been met. There are several good Mac utilities to make this less of a chore, but only one also works on mobile devices.
Clean Text ($3) is a universal iOS edition of the popular Mac utility for cleaning up common errors in any text. Rather than use a word processor to repeatedly search and replace extra spaces, line breaks, tabs, or indents, Clean Text does it all in a few taps of your finger.
To begin, copy text from another iOS app and paste it into Clean Text. Smart Clean fixes the most common problems in a single tap, while Smart Clean and Compact performs the same task while cleaning up errant formatting to make it look better at the same time.
A third smart tool, Clean Clipboard, works like the former option, but without the need to paste anything into Clean Text. Instead simply copy, apply the desired fixes, then paste the scrubbed text wherever you’d like or use the iOS sharing extension to send a squeaky-clean version to compatible apps.
Unfortunately, Clean Text itself can’t be used to send text from other apps with the iOS sharing extension. This is somewhat surprising, considering the developer embraces other platform shortcuts, such as Slide Over and Split View multitasking on iPad, or home screen Quick Actions on iPhone 6s and later.
Fix, change, convert
Although smart tools are reason enough to buy Clean Text, there are plenty of others. Tapping the wrench button displays a pop-up sidebar full of options sorted by category: Fix, Quotation Marks, Change Case, Convert, and Pseudo Text; there are also robust find and replace tools, including a regular expressions mode for advanced search.
Fix allows users to make granular changes—remove the line breaks or only spaces, for example—while others affect text in various ways. You can easily switch between curved, straight, and angle quotes, adjust indents, or change the case of selected text. Convert HTML to plain text comes in handy for code jockeys, while obscure options like upside down and reverse offer neat text effects for social networking.
Clean Text supports iCloud sync, so text pasted into the app on one device is instantly available on others. However, the current Mac version (which hasn’t been updated since 2012!) lacks the ability to sync; the developer is working on a completely new version which will address this limitation.
Conversely, the mobile version lacks a few handy desktop features. There are no statistics, one-click macros, or text formatting options, for example. This is a decidedly more basic affair, although multiple undo and redo levels are supported, so changes are never permanent.
Not yet as comprehensive as the Mac version, but Clean Text still manages to be a convenient utility for taming text on iOS devices.