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TextEdit Q&As


This Technical Note contains a collection of archived Q&As relating to a specific topic - questions sent the Developer Support Center (DSC) along with answers from the DSC engineers. Current Q&A's can be found on the Macintosh Technical Q&A's web site.

[Oct 01 1990]


SetStylHandle bug and workaround

SetStylHandle appears to dispose of only the TEStyleHandle in the TextEdit record and not the handles in the TEStyleRec in system software version 7.0.1. Since my application calls SetStylHandle often, I'm leaving lots of little handles around in my heap. Can I safely dispose of the handles in the current TEStyleRec before calling SetStylHandle?


SetStylHandle does indeed orphan the related handles in your heap, a potential problem for applications using SetStylHandle. This won't be fixed in the foreseeable future. Your application will be fine disposing of the handles itself. Here's a routine you can use instead of SetStylHandle; it correctly disposes of the substructures in the TEStylRec before calling SetStylHandle:

void FixedSetStylHandle(TEStyleHandle newstyle, TEHandle hte)
    This function avoids orphaning the substructures of a
    TEStyleRec by disposing of them before calling SetStylHandle.
    register TEStyleHandle oldstyle;
    /* Get the old-style handle so that we can clean it up. */
    oldstyle = GetStylHandle(hte);
    /* Dispose of the substructures first. */
    /* Now we can install the new style. */
    SetStylHandle(newstyle, hte);

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Extending TextEdit beyond 32K limit

Date Written: 9/16/92

Last reviewed: 11/1/92

How do I get around the 32K limit in TextEdit? For example, if I have a 64K text file and I want to read it in and display it in a window, I can only read the first 32K. How do I make the text display smoothly when I need to read the next block of text in?


Unfortunately, there's no supported way of doing this. In the early days, TextEdit was designed for use primarily with the Dialog Manager, for displaying and editing small amounts of text at a time. Since then, many developers have used it, or wanted to use it for much more than it was intended. See the Technical Note "Don't Abuse the Managers," available on the Developer's CD (path: Technical Documentation: Macintosh Technical Notes: Overview: Managerial Abuse).

The Word Solution Engine by DataPak is a replacement for TextEdit that allows you to go beyond the 32K limit, as well as including many other features. Other packages are available as well. Check the Redgate Macintosh Directory on AppleLink or publications such as MacTutor magazine to find them.

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Controlling TEIdle's insertion point color

Date Written: 7/6/92

Last reviewed: 6/14/93

Is it possible to control the color of the insertion point when I use TEIdle? If I have a light blue background color, the caret is always the invert of that background color and doesn't have enough contrast to see it. I want to make the color of the caret black if possible.


As is often the case, some of the seemingly simplest questions tend to yield the most interesting answers. Succinctly, your question stabs at the wobbly knees of QuickDraw's color model. Sample code to change the color of the caret in a TextEdit record is in the Snippets folder. Here's how to implement the color caret.

You can use the caretHook field of the TextEdit record (IM I-379). Basically, this procedure is called repeatedly by TEIdle to draw the caret. The function calls InvertRect each time. It draws the caret, and then it erases the caret. Unfortunately, this function needs to be implemented in assembly. So there are a few gotchas:

  • The pointer to the rectangle for the caret is passed on the stack (not the whole rectangle).
  • The function InvertRect becomes _InverRect in assembly.
  • You can only use A4 for scratch (A0 and A1 are blown away by PaintRect), and then only if you saved and restore it.
  • Make sure you pop off the rectangle pointer if you do not use it.

The default system function is simply _InverRect because the rectangle pointer is on the stack and _InverRect pops it off. For color, inverting is not the best idea, as you have noted. Inversion, if it isn't black and white, does not give you the most contrast. Thus, we need another idea.

But, remember, we have a requirement to paint once, and then erase on the next pass. Inversion works nicely this way. To meet this requirement, use Xor mode with PaintRect. As you know, Xor mode is "or" mode with the double 1s being set to 0 instead of 1. This trait is ideal in your situation because, always having the same caret pattern, drawing a second time obliterates the previous drawing of the caret. Thus, we get the blinking behavior. And, with the Macintosh II and Color QuickDraw, we get these cool things called pixel patterns (IM V-55). You can use your own pixel pattern as the pen pattern, bring it in from the resource, and then use PaintRect in the patXor mode to achieve the desired effect. Done, right?

Unfortunately, here we run into a major flaw of QuickDraw: It is based on two color models, indexed and direct. And, arithmetic operations are performed on the pixel values, and not the colors. In the indexed model, a pixel value of 0x00 is white. (The pixel value in the indexed color model is really an index into a color table.) If you Xor it with 0xFF, you'll get 0xFF, or black. If you Xor 0xFF with 0xFF, you'll get 0x00 or white again. On the other hand (in the direct color model), a pixel value of 0x00 is black. If you Xor it with 0xFF, you'll get 0xFF, or white. This is a problem.

So, you'll need to perform conditional caret coloring (sounds like a disease). Depending on the depth, you'll need to use a different pixel pattern. One good way is to use DeviceLoop (Inside Macintosh Volume VI, pages 21-23). Though it's included with System 7.0, there's a simulated one as described in the article "Multiple Screens Revealed" on page 57 of develop #10. DeviceLoop lets you provide a routine that is called for each screen that the drawing area touches. In this case, the drawing routine is your PaintRect routine for the caret. This drawing routine gets passed the depth of the screen. So, based on the depth of the screen, you can use a different pixel pattern to draw with. For pixel depth of 32 or direct color mode, you can use one pattern, and for the rest you can use a different pattern.

The drawing routine used by DeviceLoop allows you to pass in a LONGINT of userdata. With this longint, you can pass in the pointer to the rectangle from the assembly routine.

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Resizing a Macintosh edit field for TEPaste

Date Written: 11/27/91

Last reviewed: 6/14/93

I have a small edit field and when I call TEPaste, the edit field contents scroll up. How can I calculate what the height of the edit field would be after the paste, resize the edit field to be that size, and then do the paste?


There are a couple of ways to implement this:

Method #1:

  1. Set the clip region to something other than the viewRect of the edit field.
  2. Call TEPaste or TEStylPaste to insert the clipboard text.
  3. Call TEGetHeight to get the new height of the text.
  4. Set the viewRect of the TERec to the new height. Call TECalText for good measure (and good lineStarts).
  5. Finally, set the clip region back to normal and call TEUpdate.

Method #2:

  1. Call TENew or TEStylNew to allocate a brand spankin' new temporary TERec, and give it a viewRect and destRect that's off the screen but that has the same width as the original TERec.
  2. Next, copy the hText handle of the window's TERec into the hText field of the temporary TERec (good job for BlockMove [IM II-44]).
  3. Call TECalText and TEActivate on it; then paste the clipboard text into the temporary TERec. Since the view and dest Rects are off the screen, none of this will be seen by the user.
  4. Call TEGetHeight to get the new height, then copy the text back into the original TERec.
  5. Finally, call TECalText, then TEUpdate and TEActivate on the original TERec.

Method #1 has less overhead and is a little easier to implement. However, if you have any custom hooks installed in your TERec, then you probably want to let TextEdit do as much of the work as possible. In this case, method #2 is a better way.

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Saving and restoring styled Macintosh TextEdit records

Date Written: 11/26/90

Last reviewed: 6/14/93

How do I save and restore Macintosh records created with TextEdit that contain styles? Where can I find additional information or sample code?


There's no standard for saving text with styles created by TextEdit, so all we can offer is a recommendation that's modeled after the way that TECopy works on styled text. In styled TextEdit, the style information is stored separately from the text rather than embedded within it. TECopy maintains this separation when styled text is copied, so our recommendation maintains this separation, too.

To save the text part, you could make a file of type TEXT and save the text in the data fork of the file, like TeachText does. You could also save it in a resource of type TEXT.

The best way to save the style information is to use the StScrpRec record. Other records used by styled TextEdit contain references to other structures or they contain only a part of the style information, and that makes saving them awkward. The StScrpRec doesn't contain references to any other structures, and it contains enough information to rebuild the entire tree of TextEdit structures. When you call TECopy on styled text, both a 'TEXT' and 'styl' scrap type is placed into the desk scrap. The 'TEXT' type just contains the text. The 'styl' type contains a StScrpRec containing all of the style information for the copied text. TextEdit doesn't maintain a StScrpRec for the entire text buffer, so you have to tell TextEdit to do this for you when you're ready to save the style information.

Fortunately, one call does it all. Inside Macintosh Volume V, page 268, documents the GetStylScrap routine. It creates a new StScrpRec record, places all the style information of the selected text into it, and returns a handle to this StScrpRec. First, select the text you want to save either by calling TESetSelect or by setting the selStart and selEnd fields of the TextEdit record if you don't want the selection to be visible to the user. (If you do this, remember to restore the old values of selStart and selEnd after you get the StScrpHandle.) Next, call GetStylScrap to construct the StScrpRec. You can now save the resulting StScrpRec, perhaps in a resource of type 'styl' or in whatever way you see fit.

Reading the text and styles back into a TextEdit record isn't much more complicated. First, read the text back into a buffer and read the 'styl' resource (or however you saved it) into a StScrpRec. Create a styled TextEdit record (or use an old one), then call TEStylInsert, passing it a pointer to the text buffer and a handle to the StScrpRec. Your TextEdit record should then contain and display your original styled text. That's all!

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Macintosh SetClikLoop procedure and TERec clikLoop field

Date Written: 7/30/91

Last reviewed: 6/14/93

I have had some problems with the SetClikLoop procedure that don't appear when I set the clikLoop field directly (in C). Why does TextEdit's SetClikLoop procedure create a special procedure to call my clikLoop routine, rather that just installing the clikLoop directly? Inside Macintosh says you can set the clikLoop field directly in assembly. Why not in C?


The short answer is that the special procedure is a glue routine for shuttling a result between the stack and the register D0. The larger question is why does installing clikLoop directly work? C, I think, is the culprit.

But, before I get ahead of myself, let me explain the SetClikLoop procedure. As you know, the click loop routine has no parameters but it does return a Boolean result (IM I-380).

FUNCTION MyClikLoop : Boolean; { Pascal declaration }

Now, MyClikLoop is called by the TextEdit Manager from inside the TEClick routine. The way the code was written, TEClick expects to get the Boolean result from D0. For assembly programmers, this is no problem. In Pascal, the return value is placed on the stack. So, D0 does not contain your routines' Boolean and what TEClick grabs will be "who knows what" and your program should crash. SetClikLoop will install a glue routine that calls MyClikLoop. The glue routine will move the result from the stack to D0. By the way, this information is documented on pages 237-238 of Volume Two of Macintosh Revealed, Second Edition, by Stephen Chernicoff.

Now why is your program causing problems when you use SetClikLoop? You might have declared your MyClikLoop as a C function. Since MyClikLoop takes no parameters, nothing is put on the stack. But C, unlike Pascal, places its return value in D0. So, for C, the glue routine is not needed. On the other hand, if you use the SetClikLoop routine with a C routine, you will take the top 2 bytes off the stack and clobber D0 with the wrong answer. Thus, you might get problems.

Though the C routine may work by setting it directly to the clikLoop field, doing it that way is not the supported method. You should declare your MyClikLoop function as a Pascal function and use SetClikLoop.

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Special handling for Control-P keyboard input in a Mac dialog

Date Written: 6/5/91

Last reviewed: 6/14/93

Under System 6, when Control-P is pressed, a DLE character (hex 10) appears in a Macintosh dialog's editText field. Under System 7, pressing Control-P produces no change in the editText box. The character is fed in via a normal (unaltered) keyDown event fed to DialogSelect. Does Control-P have some special meaning to DialogSelect or TextEdit now?


Believe it or not, and it took several of us scratching our heads to figure this out; yes, it does, and this is by design! What you are running into is the Dialog Manager and TextEdit working together to make Cut, Copy, and Paste function keys work on an extended keyboard. The function keys on the top of an extended keyboard return $10 as their ASCII keycode. Thus, when TEKey detects that it is being called from dialog select, and the key you pass is a $10, it then looks for the event record on the stack and gets the raw keycode to determine which edit operation to perform. The bottom line is that it will not then enter the $10 in the edit field.

There is a simple workaround, and that is to install a filter proc in your dialog that detects keystrokes (actually it could always just look for this certain keystroke) and passes them to TEKey itself, thus skirting the whole issue.

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Dimming and disabling a specific TEditText object

Date Written: 8/8/91

Last reviewed: 8/13/91

How can I dim and disable a specific TEditText object in my TDialogView so the field is not editable?


The trick is to use the TView methods Dimstate and ViewEnable to disable and dim the TEditText Views, and then do a TEditText.StopEdit (which disables editing in the TEditText box), and in the other case enable dimming and the view itself and use the TEditText.StartEdit (which enables editing in the TEditText box), as shown in the C++ example below:

            anEditText2->DimState(TRUE,kDontRedraw);        // disable

            anEditText1->DimState(FALSE,kDontRedraw);        // enable

MacApp sample code using this technique is included with DTS's Snippets files.

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Get TEHandle from DialogPeek, not GetDItem

Date Written: 1/17/92

Last reviewed: 6/14/93

I want to show all characters in my Macintosh control panel as bullets where the password is typed in. I cannot get the TECustomHook to work properly, it crashes before it gets to my hook routine. In the following Think C example, CPtr is dereferenced from the handle used in the control panel's cdevValue field:

   GetDItem(DPtr, ADMINPWTE+NumItems, &theType, &theItem, &theRect);
   CPtr->myTEProc = (ProcPtr)TEPWHook;

GetDItem does NOT return a TEHandle; it returns a handle to the current text of the edit item. You must get TEHandle from DialogPeek and must always monitor and change the TECustomHook on the fly. There is only one TEHandle for a dialog, no matter how many edit items are associated with the dialog. See the description of the DialogRecord data type in Inside Macintosh.

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Cursor flicker while using Macintosh TextEdit

Date Written: 5/6/92

Last reviewed: 6/14/93

The cursor flashes when the user types in TextEdit fields in my Macintosh application. This is done in TEKey. I notice that most programs hide the cursor once a key is pressed. I don't care for this because then I have to move the mouse to see where I am. Is this a typical fix for this problem and an accepted practice?


There's very little you can do to avoid this. The problem is that every time you draw anything to the screen, if the cursor's position intersects the rectangle of the drawing being done, QuickDraw hides the cursor while it does the drawing, and then shows it again to keep it from affecting the image being drawn beneath it. Every time you enter a character in TextEdit, the nearby characters are redrawn. Usually this is invisible because the characters just line up on top of their old images, but if the cursor is nearby and visible, it will flicker while it's hidden to draw the text. This is why virtually all programs call ObscureCursor when the user types. Also, most users don't want the image of the cursor obscuring text they might be referring to, yet they don't want to have to move it away and then move it back to make selections. Because it's so commonplace, hiding the cursor probably won't bother your users; in fact, they might very well prefer the cursor hidden. This, combined with the fact that there's very little you can do to help the flickering, suggests that you should obscure the cursor while the user types.

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