Thursday, November 09, 2006

Cookie-stamping Files

The "Get Info" window is one true hidden gem in Mac OS X. One of the features you will find in Get Info is an option called "Stationery Pad", which basically allows you to create a template out of virtually any file. You can imagine how useful this will be, especially if you always have to create new documents using the same style and formatting, or do calculations in Excel with the same old set of predefined formulas and cell relationships.

Opening the "Get Info" window

You can select any file and type command+i to bring up its "Get Info" window. For more details on working with this and the related commands, see It's about getting the right info.

Creating a template out of any file

To turn a file into a template, just select the "Stationery Pad" option in the Get Info window. Unfortunately, there is no visual sign on the file icon telling you that a file has been turn into a "Stationery Pad".

Using "Stationery Pad" files

The next time you double click to open a file marked as "Stationery Pad", the program responsible for this file will actually open a new untitled file but with all the content in "Stationery Pad" file. If you do a "Save" command, you will save a new file while leaving the original file untouched. How great!

Yet another Mac tip is on the web!


Anonymous said...

Liking the tips a lot. Just tried this one out, as think it could be v useful, and noticed that there is a visual marker for a stationary-pad word file. The icon gets a blank sheet behind the word doc image (and the bottom right, rather than top right corner of the word doc image is curled). Not sure if it's the same in excel etc, but would guess it would be.

Keep up the good work!!

Anonymous said...

Won't work with an omnigraffle file. I know that I can save it internally as a template, but wondered why it won't save as stationary?

Anonymous said...

Is there a way to set this flag via CLI?

Anonymous said...

Can this flag be set via CLI

Anonymous said...

This is an awesome feature but for some reason,when I do pull up the file info, there is no option for the "stationary pad", only "locked". Does anyone know what I am doing wrong?

Todd March said...

The Get Info Window is a great feature, and not that well known among newer Mac converts. It also the easiest way to change icons with a simple copy and past back and forth from each Get Info window (you click the tiny icon at the top and it shows a shadow to signify it's been selected. Then just copy, and past into the Get Info window for the file/folder that you want the new icon in. Voila!)

Gary Little said...

Regarding omnigraffle: The ability to save as stationary (template in omnigraffle speak) is a feature of the paid-for (pro) version. I expect that this is why the tip doesn't work for omnigraffle.


Ashley said...

Is there any way to start with a PDF and use that as a template to open in Word or somet other word processing program?

EJ said...

Been doing this for 20+ years in System 9 for my music lyrics in AppleWorks 5.04 and with other AppleWorks files for slide shows, drawing, etc. Thanks.

Biggest pain in the butt is when they "improved" to AppleWorks 6. When you do this and hit one to open it makes a copy in the folder where the file is located, then when you hit save it makes another copy??

Somewhere along the way Apple lost its focus.