"Share" selected text problem

Discussion in 'iPad Air Forum' started by peter_anderson, Jul 27, 2020.

  1. peter_anderson

    peter_anderson
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    Hi! I have a really annoying problem with my iPadAir 3 running iOS 13.6.

    The scenario:

    1. I find a website based article I wish to copy and save as a text/Markdown document.

    2. I use the "Show Reader View" option in Safari to display just the article I need.

    3. I select the first word of the article and then drag down the article to select all the text (iOS really needs a "Select All" feature).

    4. When I lift my finger from selecting the whole document, iOS displays a "Copy | Look Up | Share" dialog.

    5. The "Copy" option works fine—no problems.

    6. The "Share" option turns the blue background of the selected text to a beige/grey colour and locks up the web page.

    7. Instead of selecting "Share" at the end of the document, I scroll to the TOP of the document and touch the "beginning of selected text" marker to get the "Copy | Look Up | Share" dialog—the "Share" option works just fine. The problem with this approach is that most times when I touch the "beginning of selected text" marker I loose the text selection and have to reselect the whole body of text again.

    This problem exists on my iPadAir 3 BUT NOT on my iPhone 11; on the iPhone the "Share" option works correctly anywhere on the page.

    I have tried to "Share" selected text from a long email (inside the Apple Mail app) and get the same problem.

    My thoughts:

    On the iPadAir 3, iOS does not seem to be able to display the "Share" dialog correctly at the end of a text selection (and thus at the bottom of the iPad's screen). At the top of the text selection (and thus at the top of the iPad's screen) it seems to work correctly.

    I should add, I didn't have this problem with earlier versions of iOS 13.

    As I said, it's a difficult problem and because of the inability of the Apple Support representative to think "outside his problem resolution script, Apple will NEVER know about this issue.

    Any help will be greatly appreciated.

    Regards,
    Peter
     

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  2. twerppoet

    twerppoet
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    Let me introduce you to the wonders of Shortcuts. With a simple three step shortcut you can grab the article from a webpage, convert it to Markdown, and save it to Notes (or a variety of other places like the clipboard, Dropbox, and several other text editors.

    You don’t even have to enter article reading mode, or select the text.

    Once you have created the Shortcut, you just tap the share icon at the top right of Safari (box with up arrow) and choose the shortcut from the list of actions. Here’s the Shortcuts User Guide to help: Shortcuts User Guide

    Here is the quick shortcut I made, and some screen shots. Feel free to ask more if needed.

    Shortcuts

    I don’t guarantee this will work as expected on every page and site, but it’s worth trying before you go through the rigmarole you’ve been suffering through so far.

    64735B5E-54B9-4A35-819A-1F02006BB69E.png F991E6E4-60E9-4FC0-9531-F88CD1D98A20.png 7A2E55AC-8B6B-446A-BFC1-0DF9590EC4A4.png

    P.S. I was kind of surprised that I could not use Select All in Safari. I should have remembered this, since I’ve run into it in the past. It’s probably something built into web browsers to prevent the wholesale theft of web content. Fortunately, Shortcuts offers some workarounds.
     
  3. twerppoet

    twerppoet
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    Hm. Doesn’t seem to be a perfect copy of the text. Some main tittles were lost, though almost all the body was preserved. Might have better luck converting to Rich Text. I’ll experiment.
     
  4. twerppoet

    twerppoet
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    Well, after much experimenting, the usefulness of the shortcut varies a lot from site to site.

    If you let me know what/how the copied text is being used, maybe there is a way to message it to better effect.
     
  5. peter_anderson

    peter_anderson
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    twerppoet,

    Thanks for the quick replies. I'm sorry that I didn't get back to you earlier; but I've been looking at your shortcuts and trying to figure out how to create my own. I'm quite proficient with iOS (and macOS) but have never learnt how to do my own shortcuts.

    As I explained earlier, I like to keep Markdown copies of articles (on a wide range of topics) for future reference—god knows why, but I do. So, I'll give you a news analysis website I like—http://johnmenadue.com—and you can pick any article (say "Payne and Reynold’s collision course with China"). Open the article in a new tab of Safari and select "Reader View" (to remove all the rest of the dross from the original page. I then select all the text on the page (this is where "Select All" would be handy—as an aside, if I have my Bluetooth keyboard linked then [command]+[A] followed by [command]+[C] works). After selecting all the text I want to use the "Share" option from the "Copy | Look Up | Share" dialog. From the "Share" dialog, I want to select "Copy Plain Text" (I have an app called "Plain Text" which strips any formatting from text in the "Select" buffer). And then I can paste plain (unformatted) text into any other app (say Pages, Mail, etc. etc.).

    Is that clear? Let me know if it's not.

    I think it might be possible to do that from say any web page beginning with the in normal view mode (not "Reader View").

    Regards,
    Peter
     
  6. twerppoet

    twerppoet
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    Yep. I understand now.

    The shortcut seems to work pretty well on the site you gave. You can also choose to convert the articles to plain text or rich text. All of them lose a bit in in terms for formatting, but it’s readable.

    Besides copying to Notes, you can just copy the ripped text to the clipboard, then paste it wherever you like. But first, make sure that the app you use doesn’t add any shortcuts of it’s own. Some do, and it makes it can make things easier.

    If you decide to give the shortcuts a try and need advice or help, feel free to ask.

    Other random thoughts:

    If you’re willing to change formats, there are several options to convert sites PDF. The PDF files are still searchable, and far more readable. One of the easiest ways is to take a screen shot of the page, then when looking at the screenshot (before it auto saves to Photos) choose Full Page view. Read View articles turn out pretty good this way. I tend to save most of my important info in PDF. It’s not as flexible as text or markdown, but combined with an app like Documents, you can search through stuff fairly easily. Editing the text it a pain, but simple page editing/rearranging and marking/making notes is easy.

    iCab Mobile browser has a tool to convert sites to ePub files. Never tried it, but sounds interesting. If I ever come accross short novel length stuff I want to save, I may give it a try.

    Also, don’t forget that iOS 13 gave us mouse support. A small bluetooth mouse might be just the ticket for those times you’re sitting down and doing some major article collecting.

    Three are apps made to extend Shortcuts actions. I use ToolBox Pro which has an action that lets me OCR images. There are others. I didn’t see anything in Toolbox Pro that would work better than the native apps; but it’s worth keeping in mind. Other shortcut app tools might be optimized for text tools.
     

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