With Mac OS 8's contextual menu technology and the combination of Apple Data Detectors and Internet Address Detectors (ADD/IAD), you can highlight a block of text in almost any application, then choose actions for any URLs, email addresses, newsgroup names, or other particular items the text contains. (See "Of Mice and Menus" and "More Context on Contextual Menus" in TidBITS 398 and 399.) This week's release of ADD/IAD 1.0.2 optimizes performance, adds more plug-ins for interacting with FileMaker Pro and QuarkXPress, and adds the ability to disable contextual menus in selected applications. Although Apple steered developers away from Control-click combinations for years, Mac OS 8's contextual menus can still interfere with some programs. (When using the Path tool in Adobe Photoshop, for example, Control-clicking brings up a contextual menu instead of changing the Path tool's function.) Under ADD 1.0.2, you can turn off contextual menus in any application by choosing an item from the Help menu when the application is active. Some applications that implement their own contextual menus (such as BBEdit) may not offer the exclusion option under Help. ADD/IAD 1.0.2 is a 1.9 MB download; you'll need DiskCopy 6.1 or Aladdin's ShrinkWrap 3.0 to access the disk image.
Access OpenType Font Features
OpenType fonts (.otf) often have special features, such as swashes and alternate characters, that are accessible in any app that uses the OS X font panel, including Pages and TextEdit. To access them, type and select your text, press Command-T to open the font panel, and then choose Typography from the Actions pop-up menu. That shows the Typography panel, where you can toggle available options for the font and characters you've selected.