Tot… a minimal designed, fully capable text editor from the IconFactory

According to the dictionary, a tot is a very small child or a very small shot of liquor. In the IconFactory’s dictionary, though, it’s a very small text editor. That doesn’t mean it’s under-performing. It does mean you won’t be writing the next Encyclopaedia Brittanica with it.

Tot is free to use on a Mac, but costs around €22 if you want to use it on your iOS device. For that money, it will let you write, save, collect and synchronise short notes and thoughts across devices quickly and efficiently in no more than seven documents represented by an equal number of dots in Tot’s unified window.

It’s an IconFactory app: IconFactory equals gorgeously designed.

Editing Tot documents is easy: you write, Tot saves. The only text adornments the app supports are Italic and Bold. No headings or any other such stuff, at least not in Rich Text mode. In Plain Text mode, you can use Markdown to structure your document, but it won’t be rendered unless you run it through an app like Marked 2. In any mode, a shortcut like Command-I is rendered as _italic_; exactly as you would type it in Markdown. Tot even supports shortcuts I had long since forgotten, such as the macOS built-in Control-A and Control-E shortcuts for jumping to the start of a paragraph and the end of it.

Lists are supported in both modes. And, perhaps because many people thought the initial release of Tot was too stripped of everything that sits in the way of text, there is now a list that you can pick symbols, bullets and emojis from to put anywhere in a text — in both modes. Fancy bullets, however, will not be rendered as list “starters” in Markdown.

One of the most elegant use case scenarios for Tot is to quickly drag web page links you want to visit later. The links are converted to the page title with the link alive. You can do this with Bear and DEVONtechnologies’ DEVONThink Pro 3 as well, but doing it with Tot is faster and less convoluted. I, for example, use Tot as a go-between for links I’m not convinced if I want to save really them in Bear or DEVONthink.

In Plain Text mode, the link is converted to a Markdown link, which is a real boon if you want to drag it out later to an editor like iA Writer or Ulysses. Links are not limited to web pages, either. Anything that can be linked from, like an Apple Mail message or an Agenda link, can be dragged to Tot and be linked to from within Tot. This, of course, allows you to use Tot as a sort of lightweight reminder app whereby you set Tot to behave as a floating window and drag links to stuff you should open/read later.

Links also work the other way around. As Tot has its own URL scheme, you can create links that can “automate” tasks, e.g. clicking a link might instantly switch to Tot’s fifth dot.

Dragging or copying and pasting text from third-party documents makes Tot convert the text to match the mode you’re in. For example, I use Avenir Next for RTF mode and when I copy/paste styled text that uses something else, that text will be matched to Avenir Next.

Additionally, when I’m in plain text mode, any rich text I dump into Tot is converted to its equivalent supported Markdown “code”. Bold text will end up as **bold**. More importantly, when you’re in rich text mode, all pasted text with Markdown formatting will be styled accordingly — again, except for structure Markdown such as the “#” heading designator.

What I found most stunning and time saving on a scale that denies Tot’s modesty as a text editor is that when you have a plain text file in the Finder and you copy the file — without first opening it, mind you — and then paste it in Tot, it will not paste the file name, which is what other editors do, but its contents.

With Tot on my iMac and my iPad, everything is available as soon as iCloud syncs. Still, if you need a true document file, you can save as RTF or Plain Text.

Tot’s other features include a lines-words-characters statistic info line in its status bar, a list icon for accessing the symbols and bullets, a share icon and a switch for mouse-induced going back-and-forth between text-only and Rich Text. If those icons distract you, you can hide them.

Finally, if you don’t like the colours used in Tot’s interface, you can change them by Option-clicking Tot’s Preferences menu and creating your own theme. Theme preferences will become available then, and you can change the colours of the dot, the text view and even the text and background of the status bar.

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