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Character Cleaner

If you’ve ever had a problem with transferring text from an application like Microsoft Word to an all-text medium, due to Word’s fetish with “smart quotes” and other silliness, check out The Character Cleaner, which will convert the special characters into straight-text suitable for using on webpages.

(Found via jimhenleyrss)


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  1. You just handed me a potential *major* increase in work productivity. I have to do this every day, and although I’ve grown very good at “search and replace,” it’s time-consuming as hell.

    Thank you!

    • You’re welcome! I have a lot of apps on my Linux box that absolutely choke on a lot of special characters, so I try really hard to make sure what I do publish on the web is ASCII.

      Or, as I instafilked on (to the tune of “Cecilia” by Simon and Garfunkle):

      Oh cedillas
      You’re breaking my screen
      My character set won’t support you

      No cedillas
      Avoid umlauts too
      I might die a critic, but please
      use ASCII

  2. You can actually turn off the smart quotes and other hullaballoo.

    • Oh, sure, and that’s a good thing to do for your own documents. But if you’ve ever had to deal with someone else’s documents and make them presentable for an ASCII medium, it’s a PITA.

      • True. What does Word do if you just save it to text?

        • Saving Word docs as text leaves in the fancy stuff. It’s a real pain in the butt for those of us who, for instance, spend our days transforming other people’s Word-generated copy into Web pages. I swear, I spend more time cleaning up junk characters than I do on actual copy-editing.

          I’ve tried to teach people to turn off the fancy formatting, but most of them don’t even know what I’m talking about.

  3. Sweet. I’ve been putting off (for ages) trying to make a set of vim macros to do that.

  4. I use notepad…

    I’ve gotten into the habit of cutting and pasting into notepad and then copying out of notepad to whatever else I am doing. That seems to get most of it.

    Does this preserve bolding and italics?

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