A Month of TextMate Productivity Tips

Published on Tuesday, November 04, 2008 in productivity and textmate

I’ve had the joy of calling TextMate my editor of choice for almost three years now, and as the The Pragmatic Programmer wisely recommends, my editor has definitely grown to become “an extension of [my] hand.” Often when giving a presentation or pair programming, someone will stop me to ask, “Wait a minute. How’d you do that?” “That” is inevitably in reference to some bit of hyper-productive TextMate keyboard wizardry that eliminated several steps the person was otherwise expecting to see. Of course, a few years ago you were more likely to hear me asking that question. (And I still love it when I get to ask that question nowadays.)

For the month of November, I’ll share one of these “How’d you do that?” tips each day. They’re by no means revolutionary; they’re much more in the oldie but goodie camp. Hence the name: TextMate Oldie But Goodie Of The Day (TMOBGOTD). Each one can shave time - sometimes several seconds - off of common tasks. And if they’re common tasks in your workflow, then that time surely adds up.

You can follow along at twitter.com/jasonrudolph, where the first four tips are already in place.

  1. November 1 - Use Control+Option+Command+V to view your clipboard history. Then hit Enter to paste the selected item into the current document.
  2. November 2 - Use Control+Shift+C to access the Math bundle from any file. Instantly perform calculations, add/subtract selected numbers, and more.
  3. November 3 - With your cursor on any Ruby string, use Control+Shift+' to toggle between single quotes, double quotes, and %Q{}. Also works with Groovy, JavaScript, Perl, SQL, Bash, etc.
  4. November 4 - In HTML (or HTML-friendly) files, select several lines and use Control+Command+Shift+W to wrap each line in a pair of HTML tags.

Whether you’re seeing these techniques for the first time or rediscovering a command that you’d forgotten about, take a moment to try it out. Perform each technique three times, and you’ll be well on your way to committing it to memory. In just 60 seconds a day, you too can train to become a TextMate black belt. Or double your money back. Guaranteed.

Update 2008-12-02 - Check out the full list of tips in the wrap-up post.