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scotty321

(Archived) Formatting in Evernote is worst Mac experience ever

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Hi there,

Evernote for Mac's handling of text formatting leaves a TON to be desired. I can NEVER predict what in the world Evernote is going to do when I apply some formatting to some text. Here's some examples:

- I hit the return key after a line, and all of a sudden Evernote adds extra blank lines in between EVERY LINE in my entire note!

- I hit the return key after a line, and all of a sudden Evernote adds an extra blank line ABOVE the paragraph, not below the paragraph.

- I go to bold a piece of text, and it bolds the entire paragraph.

- I highlight some text and choose "Simply Formatting", and it suddenly bolds all of the highlighted text.

- I try to remove some bold from some text, and then it puts extra blank lines in between the lines.

What in the WORLD is going on with this program?

I'm not kidding when I say that the Evernote team just needs to scrap the entire Mac product and start from scratch.

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scotty321 - June 6

I am really enjoying using Evernote... these Evernote guys have really done a great job.

I currently have 4 devices syncing with my Evernote account:

2 Macs, 1 iPhone, 1 iPad

scotty321 - June 11

What in the WORLD is going on with this program?

I'm not kidding when I say that the Evernote team just needs to scrap the entire Mac product and start from scratch.

Wow - what a difference a week makes!

Sorry, but I only use a PC, but I'm sure some of the Apple users will respond with helpful comments.

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Thanks so much. Yeah, I may have been premature in my praise of Evernote for Mac. The SYNCING is still fantastic and very reliable, but everything else (on the Mac side) is a big thumbs down. :)

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Yeah, I agree completely (although I'm not sure if a rewrite is necessary -- certainly a lot of work to formatting is though).

Especially when pasting things in and then trying to edit, I see all sorts of weird behavior. For example, sometimes it seems like some pasted text adjusts the line spacing of the note, but there's no way in the GUI for me to adjust the line spacing to what I want (to fix the note if nothing else).

This seems related to the general issues with bulleted lists that we've been discussing here:

viewtopic.php?f=38&t=13117

I hope a general formatting fix is in the works for the Mac client!

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Yes!! I've seen the exact same behavior when pasting in text from other programs. Evernote is the ONLY program on my entire Mac (and I have almost 100 apps in my Applications folder) that acts in this crazy manner! It's really enough to get someone to pull out their hair -- and switch to another product instead. :-x

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Thanks for the feedback. We do have further improvements in the Mac text editing planned. The core editing engine (WebKit from Apple) has some odd behaviors that we need to work around to give the expected results.

Thanks

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Thanks for the feedback. We do have further improvements in the Mac text editing planned. The core editing engine (WebKit from Apple) has some odd behaviors that we need to work around to give the expected results.

Thanks

Thanks for letting us know; looking forward to it!

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Thanks for the feedback. We do have further improvements in the Mac text editing planned. The core editing engine (WebKit from Apple) has some odd behaviors that we need to work around to give the expected results.

Thanks

These Mac formatting issues are driving me crazy.

When can we expect to see the improvements rolled out?

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Besides all that, I really miss the strike-through text.

I use (the old Windows) Evernote 3.1 portable from a USB-Stick at office - and I use strike through text a lot. Also, I would like to have ink notes as well on the Mac :-)

Thanks for listening,

SuAlfons

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Thoughts for the Powers That Be:

If you're using Webkit and the underlying format of these notes is just a slightly enhanced HTML (which is what I'd already suspected) then you shouldn't need to develop and maintain your own editor. The Web is full of excellent, open source, highly extensible rich text editors for HTML. TinyMCE, CKEditor, WYMeditor, YUI2, et cetera. All of them would support the features that are being asked for here: more consistent paragraph formatting, proper table editing, better font and embedded media control, and so forth. Many of them have also put extensive work into the fiendish "Paste from Word" problem. For things that are Evernote-specific (the "To Do" checkbox, for instance) they have simple extension hooks as well.

Why not just drop in one of those mature editors and let this functionality be someone else's problem? If the answer is "Because we offer a superior user experience and we want to keep control over that," I could see the logic, but... Well, to be blunt, you really don't.

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The choices (i.e.- CC, BCC, signature, etc.) and formatting (None) when sending a Note via the email feature is also very primitive.

I send notes and attachments to my lawyer, etc., they should have a refined caliber, since that reflects on me, and I want to be professional.

Some work on that would be nice.

Thx,

LGV

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I agree with the previous threads. I do especially miss the sub-/superscript formatting option (and the keystrokes do not work either). In addition, I think the possibility to resize images would be a nice feature too.

I love Evernote but the lack of formatting options on the Mac application bothers me.

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Just want also to voice my concerns with formatting. I just discovered Evernote and am working on migrating some very basic text documents / notes into Evernote. First issue is that all of my tabs were converted to spaces and I noticed that any new tabs are automatically converted to spaces, ouch. Obviously this is due to html being used as the storage format (took me a minute to figure out that was the case).

The formatting issues I'm running into so far are seriously making me wonder if Evernote is an option for me. If it's going to drive me mad while doing simple text editing, I'm not sure it's an option.

Other features are awesome, but I had just assumed basic text editing wouldn't be an issue. How about the ability to create plain text notes? Or something equivalent to the "pre" element in html? I feel like I'm missing something, but seeing this post made me realize I'm not.

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It is very disappointing to have found this thread in the Mac forum. :(

I just ordered the new MacBook Air and was looking forward to using EN on the Mac.

Now it appears there are just as many rich text formatting issues on the Mac as there are on all of the other clients (including the new EN Win 4.0 Beta) except maybe EN Win 3.5.

It seems that EN struggles with rich text editors across the board.

I'm not sure what this means, but it might suggest a pattern that needs examining.

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It seems that EN struggles with rich text editors across the board.

I'm not sure what this means, but it might suggest a pattern that needs examining.

It'd be an easy fix if the developers cared: just use a standard open source Javascript editor with minor customizations, and deploy it across all platforms, instead of trying to build their own in each client. That they haven't responded to that suggestion suggests to me that their priorities are about trying to capture new markets instead of focusing on their core product.

In the meantime I've stopped using Evernote. (I'd forgotten that I was watching this thread until I got a notice that it had been updated.) Google Documents fulfills most of the same needs for me at this point, and Dropbox with its iPhone client fulfills the rest. They already have my yearly payment so they may not care for a while that they've lost me as a customer, but I won't be renewing.

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I have 550 notes and I've stuck with plain-text for all of them. The rich-text is such a hassle that I don't even bother. If I want to edit a note on my iPad that I've created on the Mac, I can't use rich-text anyway.

edit: I should note that when I say "all of them" I mean all of my text notes.

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And my 0.02 — formatting really works in a terrible way. There are all sorts of weird effects here, and the text created on Mac can look significantly different when viewed on the iPad or in a browser.

I'm not sure if it is possible to fix the way Webkit editor works, but maybe you can give an option to prohibit arbitrary formatting and limit the allowed styles to some very basic HTML constructs (paragraphs, headers, lists, emphasized text blocks, etc). It's simple and good enough for lots of cases and works identical on all platforms.

Also guys there is an annoying bug with the list of notes in the mixed view: when notes are sorted by Date Updated and you switch from the current note to any note that is higher in the list then the app will actually open the wrong note, because it reorders the list before switching the note, placing the current one on top of the list and shifting all the other notes down.

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This is absurd. I literally cannot even bold my text without having to go into the web interface of Evernote to do it. I cannot underline text either. Furthermore, pasted text is horrific. I was planning on switching from MacJournal to Evernote today and imported all of my notes. Once I got done, I went to edit them in Evernote and noticed the crappy functionality. Now I have no choice but to ditch Evernote. I have a couple of suggestions... before adding ANY MORE FEATURES, fix your bread and butter before you lose all Mac users. We need to be able to edit our notes properly before we even think about using Evernote. Text editors have been designed and developed since the dawn of computer guys. This shouldn't even have been an issue. Also, sub-notebooks, fullscreen? I am a computer scientist. I know these features don't require rocket science to develop and they are clearly widely requested.

Sticking with MacJournal for now... perhaps I'll check out Evernote again in a year or so. Not gonna recommend this editor to anyone until you can ACTUALLY EDIT.

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I am a computer scientist. I know these features don't require rocket science to develop and they are clearly widely requested.

Okay, I don't normally do this, but seriously, you need to chill out.

Just because you were a CS major in college (no one has the title "computer scientist", so don't give that BS) doesn't mean you get to boss around other people, especially those you don't pay. It also doesn't mean that you understand how every piece of software works, even though you think you're special. And if you know it's not that hard to do, why don't you go make your own, superior version of Evernote?

If you want to re-engineer how Evernote integrates Webkit, by all means go for it.

But until you have something constructive to say, please just don't say anything.

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If you want to re-engineer how Evernote integrates Webkit, by all means go for it.

Good idea! Now just point us to the Evernote source code and one of us might be willing to give it a shot.

I won't speak for TopRamen, but his post wasn't out of line. Evernote is a commercial product. Some of us did pay for it. (I did.) It's had a subpar interface for a long time now and the developers don't appear to be responding to these customer concerns. This isn't minor griping -- these are real functionality problems that keep customers of the product from using it as advertised.

If it was open source, you might have a point about its users helping to improve it, but it isn't. We rely on the company to deliver value. Saying "Don't like it? Write your own!" is disingenuous. If I complained that my car was great except that it was missing window controls and the steering wheel only turned left, would you tell me to chill out and build my own car?

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No, I wouldn't expect you to build your own car (although since Mr. Computer Scientist is bragging about how simple these things are, I might expect him to).

But I would expect you to take advantage of the [infinitely long] trial period they gave you before you paid for the car so that you would know what issues exist before paying for it. And then respectfully requesting those issues be fixed.

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. . . (no one has the title "computer scientist", so don't give that BS) . . .

You might find a quick Google search to be instructive:

Computer scientist

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer_scientist

A computer scientist is a scientist who has acquired knowledge of computer science, the study of the theoretical foundations of information and computation and their application in computer systems

Computer Scientists

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics | Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections

http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos304.htm

The widespread and increasing use of computers and information technology has generated a need for highly trained, innovative workers with extensive theoretical expertise. These workers, called computer scientists, are the designers, creators, and inventors of new technology. By creating new technology, or finding alternative uses for existing resources, they solve complex business, scientific, and general computing problems. Some computer scientists work on multidisciplinary projects, collaborating with electrical engineers, mechanical engineers, and other specialists.

Let's all try to get our "facts" correct, and to be more tolerant of how each person expresses his/her needs, sometimes when he/she is very frustrated with how things are not working.

Clearly a lot of people are having problems with how the EN Mac client handles rich text formatting, while at the same time fully appreciating all of the other things EN does well. I dare say that few if any people selected EN because they needed a rich text editor.

However, having a decent, reliable, rich text display and editor on all EN Clients along with the other features is what many of us need.

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No, I wouldn't expect you to build your own car (although since Mr. Computer Scientist is bragging about how simple these things are, I might expect him to).

But he's right. I suggested upthread that Evernote could be improved quickly and simply by using an established third-party editor control instead of rolling its own. No one from the development team has spoken up to suggest it would be hard. By building their own idiosyncratic editor on each platform they've reinvented the wheel a few times over -- but they've gotten the shape wrong in different ways each time. Using an mature open source Javascript editor would allow for a more consistent experience, eliminate these weird gaffes, and free them up to spend more time on the features that make Evernote different.

It's those features that make "Build your own!" such an unhelpful battle cry. The editor would be easy, sure. But everything else -- the syncing, the text recognition, the mobile integration -- is much harder. That stuff is good. That stuff is unique, and it really does make Evernote special. That's why it's tragic that the editor sucks so much. The part that isn't hard or special is so broken that it keeps the hard, special, and good parts from being usable for many purposes.

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I'm not saying a good editor isn't important.

I just take issue when everyone says "EVERNOTE MUST DO THIS NOW" - it seems rude and unnecessary.

Clearly Evernote has a list of priorities, and they understand this is an issue.

Who is to say where they put it on their list of to-dos, over say, shared notebooks being integrated into the desktop clients, and tag control? Just because you think it's a top-priority doesn't mean that is where the Evernote team has decided the app should be focused.

As for the Computer Scientist thing, I'm not saying he/she doesn't really work with computers, I'm just saying that you shouldn't assume something is easy because you think it is. The fact that Evernote has proprietary code (as mentioned above) means that you haven't seen their code (as was also discussed), so you can't say what is/is not easy to do.

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I'm not saying a good editor isn't important.

I just take issue when everyone says "EVERNOTE MUST DO THIS NOW" - it seems rude and unnecessary.

Clearly Evernote has a list of priorities, and they understand this is an issue.

Who is to say where they put it on their list of to-dos, over say, shared notebooks being integrated into the desktop clients, and tag control? Just because you think it's a top-priority doesn't mean that is where the Evernote team has decided the app should be focused.

As for the Computer Scientist thing, I'm not saying he/she doesn't really work with computers, I'm just saying that you shouldn't assume something is easy because you think it is. The fact that Evernote has proprietary code (as mentioned above) means that you haven't seen their code (as was also discussed), so you can't say what is/is not easy to do.

Absolutely. I don't know why so many people are quick to say "this is easy to do" and (apparently) assume EN dev team is asleep at the switch or too busy eating pizza & drinking beer to implement whatever item it is that person wants. Everything (and I mean everything) that EN does has to be carefully considered b/c it has to be compatible with all the clients. Not to mention other bugs or requests by users of other EN clients. Jefito also stated it well in

this post.

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I have a couple of suggestions... before adding ANY MORE FEATURES, fix your bread and butter before you lose all Mac users. We need to be able to edit our notes properly before we even think about using Evernote. Text editors have been designed and developed since the dawn of computer guys. This shouldn't even have been an issue. Also, sub-notebooks, fullscreen? I am a computer scientist. I know these features don't require rocket science to develop and they are clearly widely requested.

Some really good points on this thread, including this one. I agree wholeheartedly with this sentiment. I have been a paying customer for two years, and have become incredibly frustrated at the lack of progress on very basic functionality. I gave up on Evernote for managing anything but simple text notes long ago because of its disastrous formatting issues, and use it as a container for scans, web clips, snapshots and other things. It's a wonderful tool, with great syncing. But these text formatting issues are terrible, and really should be remedied asap. They severely limit the potential of the tool. I'm really hoping that the 2.0 version of the Mac client which should be out in the next few months is going to address some of these fundamental issues.

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. . . I don't know why so many people are quick to say "this is easy to do" and (apparently) assume EN dev team is asleep at the switch or too busy eating pizza & drinking beer to implement whatever item it is that person wants. . .

This is a gross exaggeration. No one is assuming, nor have they stated, that the "EN dev team is asleep at the switch or too busy eating pizza & drinking beer ...".

The issue and concern here is not for a new feature.

It is for making the basic feature, that was released many months ago, work properly.

Let's get off discussing people's motives (as Dave Engberg says repeatedly) and focus on the real technical issue: Formatting on the Mac is not working properly, and this has a significant impact on a number of users who actually use the EN Mac Client.

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It is for making the basic feature, that was released many months ago, work properly.

Thanks for the feedback. We do have further improvements in the Mac text editing planned. The core editing engine (WebKit from Apple) has some odd behaviors that we need to work around to give the expected results.

Thanks

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Thanks for the feedback. We do have further improvements in the Mac text editing planned. The core editing engine (WebKit from Apple) has some odd behaviors that we need to work around to give the expected results.

Thanks

Since you want to press the issue, the concern is that no visible action has been taken. It has been promised, but no updates to the Mac Client have been released which fixes the problems now being reported.

This is after a long history of EN Mac problems, as acknowledged in this EN Blog in August 2009:

Evernote for Mac Update: Better Text Handling (EN Mac 1.4.8)

August 18, 2009 | Posted by Andrew Sinkov in Product updates

We’re just going to come out and say it: Evernote for Mac has had a history of doing funky stuff when you created text notes. There were issues with text sizes, font switching, double spacing, and a host of other small annoyances.

That’s now mostly in the past. Our latest release (version 1.4.8) fixes a number of these nagging issues.

I think what most EN Mac Users (which you are not) are interested in is some sign of progress, like maybe the announcement of a EN Mac Beta program.

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the concern is that no visible action has been taken. It has been promised, but no updates to the Mac Client have been released which fixes the problems now being reported.

Just b/c there has been no VISIBLE action, doesn't mean they haven't been working on it. Please feel free to second guess the priorities they've chosen. (That are visible to you.)

Also, please feel free to continue to pick apart pretty much every post I make. You're now on my foe list & I will not be reading them.

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We are not really interested in your assumptions, BNF.

We would appreciate it if we could get back to the core subject of this thread.

Thanks.

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Thanks for the feedback. We do have further improvements in the Mac text editing planned. The core editing engine (WebKit from Apple) has some odd behaviors that we need to work around to give the expected results.

Which is exactly why I've been advocating using a third party Javascript editor component. There are dedicated projects that have spent man-years solving these sorts of problems across all major operating systems and browsers. The Evernote team shouldn't be writing code to make basic formatting work. They should implement a tool that solves that problem once, for all their client platforms, so that they can focus on the cool things that basic editors don't do.

"You don't know their code, you don't know if this is hard or not" is not a compelling excuse. These components were written to integrate easily into other projects, and they're used widely in similar projects. From a functional standpoint, there's nothing stopping this. If Evernote made bad design decisions early on that prevent good changes now (the jargon term for this is "technical debt") then they have even more reasons for stepping back and reconsidering their architecture.

This'll be my last post on this topic for a while. I've been staying in this thread hoping that someone from Evernote will eventually check their forums; but users arguing with other users is a waste of time, and this thread is degenerating quickly.

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This'll be my last post on this topic for a while. I've been staying in this thread hoping that someone from Evernote will eventually check their forums;

Without commenting on the any of the technical issues of use of 3rd-party tools (on which you make valid points), I would like to point out that Evernote staff do indeed read every post in their forums on at least a daily basis, even though they don't reply to all of them. There's been discussion on this topic before, with Evernote participation; I found this one: http://forum.evernote.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?f=45&t=17437&start=0, pretty easily by searching on 'rich text editing'. I know that Evernote is keenly aware of the problems raised in this thread, and I'm pretty confident that they're working to address them, whether or not it's as timely or visible as some folks would want.

~Jeff

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. I know that Evernote is keenly aware of the problems raised in this thread, and I'm pretty confident that they're working to address them, whether or not it's as timely or visible as some folks would want.

While I'm willing to defend EN when it comes to the timing of new features, you guys are just wrong on this. It's not a matter of what people may or may not 'want', it's a very basic issue of software quality. Bugs should be fixed before adding new features, and the Mac client's editor is buggy. It should have been fixed before adding the 'Trunk', for example. It probably should have been done before writing an iPad client (which I btw use and like). This is nothing to do with individual preferences, just a fundamental quality rule: fix bugs before adding new features.

It is, frankly, only its uniqueness which protects Evernote. I can't imagine The Omni Group or Fog Creek Software releasing a piece of software with a broken editor, or a tag selector which only works properly when you click to the left of the tag.

I'm a paying user of EN, and am so because there really is nothing else that quite fits its niche. But the team does seem to display an insouciance about basic software quality which is worrying.

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. I know that Evernote is keenly aware of the problems raised in this thread, and I'm pretty confident that they're working to address them, whether or not it's as timely or visible as some folks would want.

While I'm willing to defend EN when it comes to the timing of new features, you guys are just wrong on this. It's not a matter of what people may or may not 'want', it's a very basic issue of software quality.

Crispin,

I pretty much agree with what you wrote (most of which I clipped as not germane to my point), but I'm not clear on why you wrote it in response to what I said, which I think that you may have misunderstood. When I talked about 'what some folks may want', I was really referring to the feeling that I get some Evernote users don't seem to believe that work is going on if they can't see it in a new release. I believe differently. I didn't say anything about whether Evernote should make working on new features or fixing bugs the higher priority, I was really only saying that I know they're aware of the problems, and I believe they're working on them. Simple as that.

Oh, and unless I've gone MPD recently, my opinions are my own. No need to call me 'guys'. One person rattling around in my head is plenty enough for me. :(

~Jeff

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I was really referring to the feeling that I get some Evernote users don't seem to believe that work is going on if they can't see it in a new release. I believe differently. I didn't say anything about whether Evernote should make working on new features or fixing bugs the higher priority, I was really only saying that I know they're aware of the problems, and I believe they're working on them. Simple as that.

Or...if something isn't fixed right now.

I guess my approach to software is that if it pretty much works for me & I can use workarounds for the parts that don't, then great. Otherwise, I will try to find something that is more suited to my usage. Case in point... I don't use EN for something that needs to be formatted a particular way. My notes about many things don't have to be indented, various fonts, etc. I make my notes & am just really glad I can easily find them using EN's search & that they are available most anywhere thanks to EN's cross platform ability.

Sure, it would be great to do more extensive formatting but I save that for apps that are designed for that. IE Word or Excel for tables. I know EN won't index the Word or Excel documents, so I'm diligent about using any keywords, tags & titles so I can easily find the document in question. And I certainly don't consider EN's text editing ability (or lack thereof) as detracting from it's quality.

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Jefito, I probably shouldn't have quoted you specifically there. Sorry if I misinterpreted your intentions. By 'guys' I guess I just meant in a slightly sloppy way anyone here who is willing to defend the indefensible; and if you don't come into that category, again sorry for misinterpreting.

When new features are being rolled out before developers can get the time to fix what's already known to be broken, it's usually a sign that besuited MBAs are in charge, and that tends to stuff everything up. The bugs with the Mac client should not have been around this long.

I sometimes get irritated (as BnF clearly does) by posts demanding that their favourite feature get implemented, or they'll stamp their little feet and scream and scream and scream. But fixing bugs in basic functionality is a different matter. There just isn't any excuse for not doing so, and much faster than EN is currently managing. Maybe they need to charge more and hire more developers, or say 'no' to management when new features are demanded. Something.

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BurgersNFries: much of what people are complaining about here involves bugs in currently existing functionality. To say that not fixing bugs doesn't detract from software quality is just ludicrous. I'll leave the last word to you as this is getting silly.

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Ok, thanks for the feedback. Text formatting on the Mac is much better than it was two years ago, but there are still a number of things that we want to improve. In particular, copying and pasting rich text between applications on the Mac is always a bit of a challenge due to the combinatorics of originating application + clipboard encodings. We appreciate detailed reports about specific applications and operations (since they're easier to turn into specific bug reports than more diffuse venting).

Closing overheated thread, but please feel free to open another thread with specific details of text handling errors that aren't covered elsewhere.

Thanks

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