Easy Workaround for Missing BBEdit Feature

I use BBEdit (v8.x) just about every day for all my text-editing tasks.

I just completed a website redesign for The Company which involved a lot of cutting and pasting into various design templates followed by a couple of conversion scripts and a shitload of manual cleaning up of old markup, links, text, etc. (It’s not live yet.)

One feature that appears (at least to me) to be missing from BBEdit is the ability to mark a location within a text file, and select (highlight) all the text between that point and either 1. the current cursor position, or 2. another pre-defined location in the file.

BBEdit has these things it calls “Markers”, and you can put them anywhere inside a text file. It places the Markers into a nice little drop-down menu at the top of that document for the utmost in user convenience. Check it.


When you access the drop-down menu and select one of your Markers (e.g., Marker Two), BBEdit will place the cursor at its exact point in the text document. But that’s all it does. Sure, it’s nice when you’re dicking around with thousands lines of code and want to jump to-and-fro, but it seems inadequate as a “feature”.

It’d be frickin’ sweet if BBEdit gave you another option in that drop-down menu: “Select All between…” which would kick up a little dialog box where you’d choose two of your pre-defined markers… and you know the rest.

But all is not lost.

Fortunately, BBEdit does have another nifty little feature that can help you circumvent this lack of functionality. If you double-click on one in a pair of enclosing characters (i.e., a paren, square bracket, curly brace), then it will select both enclosing characters and all the text in between them. For example:

{ primary text [ secondary text ( tertiary text ) ] }

{ primary text [ secondary text ( tertiary text ) ] }

{ primary text [ secondary text ( tertiary text ) ] }

So, instead of taking the time to locate spot #1 and set a Marker, simply put an open paren there, do the same for spot #2—but put a close paren. Then double-click either of those parentheses and hook it up.

Of course, this technique only works if all of the enclosing characters within this block of text are closed and pair up properly.

Posted in Mac