Mac Basics: TextEdit

TextEdit is a highly versatile word processor included with OS X. Learn about the editing tools and different file formats it supports.

This article has been archived and is no longer updated by Apple.

TextEdit lets you create all kinds of text documents. It includes tools to format and layout your page, edit and stylize text, check spelling, create tables and lists, import graphics, work with HTML, and even add music and movie files. Here are some of the things you can do in TextEdit.

TextEdit does more than just let you edit text. Take a look at some of the things you can do with your documents.

  1. Open TextEdit from the Applications folder or with Launchpad (OS X Lion and Mountain Lion).

  2. Start typing whatever you want in the window. If you want to change the text alignment from the default left alignment, highlight the text and click one of the four alignment buttons in the toolbar to align left, center, justify, or align right.

  3. TextEdit automatically checks spelling as you type and will underline words that it thinks are misspelled with a red dotted line. If you need help with the correct spelling, highlight the word choose Edit > Spelling and Grammar > Show Spelling and Grammar. The window displays its best guesses for what you were trying to spell. To correct the spelling, select the correct word and click Correct. TextEdit will also automatically correct your spelling as you type or present you with spelling options for the word you are trying to spell.

  4. To change the font, from the Format menu, choose Font > Show Fonts. In the resulting Font window, select a font typeface and size from the columns. You can also choose to add an underline, add a strike-through, change the text color, and add a text shadow from the pop-up menus at the top of the Font window.

  5. To add a photo, music, or movie file, just drag the file from a Finder window to the document.

  6. To create a list, choose a list style from the list pop-up menu. You can pick options like bullets, numbers, or lettered lists.

  7. Begin typing your list. To end your list, choose None from the list pop-up menu.

    Instead of manually entering bullet points, numbers, or letters, use the Lists pop-up menu to have TextEdit create the list formatting for you

  8. To create a table, from the Format menu, choose Table. In the resulting Table window, enter the number of rows and columns you want, select the text alignment, choose the cell border thickness and color, and choose a background color. Your TextEdit document updates as you make changes.

Tip: In OS X Mountain Lion, you can use Dictation to have TextEdit type what you speak.


To learn more about TextEdit, choose TextEdit Help from the Help menu.

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