Copy and Paste, Or How to Think Outside the Text Box

Hey, remember me? I used to write posts here. My apologies. I went away on Paternity Leave and … ahhh, never mind, no excuses. I’m planning to provide regular updates again, but they’ll be spread out a bit more than before. I’ve exhausted most of the topics I wanted to write about and unless you have specific questions, I’ll just post when something strikes me. I’m hoping for once a month or so. On to the topic at hand.

I’ve mentioned before that a huge part of your job as a Planner will be writing. I’ve also mentioned that many of the projects you’ll work on will be similar. The obvious connection here is COPY AND PASTE! While this sounds like a no-no, it’s actually pretty common practice, and a great way to be more efficient and productive. If you or a colleague have written Urban Design Guidelines for a mid-size City in Ontario, and you’re working on Urban Design Guidelines for a mid-size City in Vancouver, go ahead and copy and paste any relevant text. If you wrote an overview of the Provincial Policy Statement for Guelph, and you’re working on a project in Barrie, go ahead and re-use that text – it’s all relevant. In fact, I like this approach because it gives me the chance to refine text each time I use it, making it better and better, until I feel it’s perfect. Of course every City is different, and every project has its nuances, so there will be lots of chances to prepare original text (might as well take the break when you can get it).

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Cool Tools # 3: Text Fixer(s)

As a Planner, you’ll be quoting a lot of policy documents, which means lots of copying and pasting from PDFs. Unfortunately, copying from a PDF often breaks up each line when pasted into another program (i.e. Word or InDesign). I know when someone in the office is doing this, because you here the same key pattern over and over:

down, home, backspace, backspace… down, home, backspace, backspace… down, home, backspace, backspace…

Luckily there’s a solution. Try copying your text into the box here and letting do the work for you. If you don’t want to use a webpage, download AutoUnbreak (a light windows plugin) and create a shortcut on your taskbar (that’s how I roll).

Obviously this is unnecessary if you’re copying a couple of lines, but can save a significant amount of time if you’re pasting a lot of text.