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Nisus and Expressionist

Oops, I blew this one big time, writing last issue that Expressionist was from Macreations and not Prescience, the company that actually makes Expressionist. Sorry about that, Prescience. In addition, Mel Martinez passes on this useful information on how to link the current versions of Nisus and Expressionist.

Mel writes:

Expressionist and Nisus XS should be able to communicate seamlessly through Apple events. Although Expressionist might end up bundled with Nisus XS, I doubt it will be incorporated into the program. With Apple events, there is no real need to do so.

Keep in mind that it is not necessary to wait for Nisus XS in order to tightly integrate Expressionist and Nisus. Using QuicKeys, you can easily set up hot keys that let you edit an Expressionist equation that you pasted into Nisus earlier.

Linking Nisus and Expressionist — In Nisus, select the equation by double-clicking or click-drag. Then press a QuicKeys key-combination to move the equation from Nisus back into Expressionist for editing (I use command-option-E).

The QuicKeys sequence macro looks like this and will do the following:

  • Change the Nisus clipboard to a designated ‘equation’ clipboard. (This saves the current contents of the clipboard. I use clipboard 9 for equations.)
  • Use command-C or Copy to place the equation in the clipboard.
  • Call up Expressionist using an application QuicKey. (You could also use a Apple menu item via an alias.)
  • (optional) Create a new Expressionist window by using command-N or New. This ensures that a window is open and that you don’t overwrite any existing equation.
  • Use command-V or Paste to paste the equation into Expressionist.

Now that you’re in Expressionist with your equation, edit it to your heart’s content. When you finish, press your QuicKeys combination to copy the equation in Expressionist, return to Nisus, and paste it in over the old version of the equation (I use command-option-N).

This second QuicKeys sequence macro looks like this and will do the following:

  • Command-A or Select All to select the equation in Expressionist.
  • Command-C or Copy to copy it to the clipboard.
  • (optional) Command-W or Close to close the window (you must also then include a step to decide not to save the equation in Expressionist. If you have Escapade or a similar tool installed, a simple N will suffice.).
  • (optional) Command-Q or Quit to quit Expressionist. Not recommended.
  • Bring Nisus back to the front using the application menu in the upper right-hand corner (this is the best way, believe me).
  • Command-V or Paste to paste the equation at the current selection point in Nisus. If you haven’t monkeyed around, the old version of the equation should still be selected and will be overwritten by the new version.
  • (optional) Restore the clipboard to your default clipboard in Nisus (usually clipboard 0).

This works quickly and smoothly on both a IIsi and a Quadra. Note that because Nisus has multiple Undos, you can always undo the pasting of the edited version of the equation and go back to the original.

This technique also applies to combining almost any tools such as equation editors, table editors, or graphics programs with not only Nisus, but other word processors as well. Nisus’s main advantage is its multiple clipboards and multiple Undos (as a safety net). Also, Nisus’s macro language allows one to combine powerful internal Nisus macros with QuicKeys’s interapplication abilities. For example, a Nisus macro can systematically search for a type of item (such as data) in a Nisus file, then use QuicKeys to call up some other program to operate on it, return to Nisus with the changes and then continue looking for the next item.

[I use Nisus, Frontier, and QuicKeys to automatically reroute certain bang-routed uAccess UUCP mailfiles while I’m on vacation for just this reason. -Adam]

Information from:
Mel Martinez — [email protected]

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