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Pull text from other (macOS) apps into Emacs to edit
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README.md

Pullover

Texting while driving (other apps) is dangerous. Let's pull over there to edit the text in Emacs instead!

Note: This currently only works on macOS.

Installation

  • Download and extract the tar archive.
  • Add the extracted directory to load-path.
  • Load the package and start the Emacs server.
    (require 'pullover)
    (server-start)

If you want to build from source:

  • Install cargo and cask.
  • Run ./bin/package.
  • Look for the built package under dist/.

Global Shortcut Configuration

  • Assign a global shortcut to the wrapper script pullover-start-or-finish, using an app like Karabiner Elements.
  • Add the shortcut-handling app to the list in System Preferences > Security & Privacy > Privacy > Accessibility. Usually the macOS will ask for this on first use, but sometimes it won't. It's a good idea to add the app to the list in advance.

Karabiner Elements

My karabiner.json config looks similar to this:

"profiles": [{
  "complex_modifications": {
    "rules": [
      {
        "manipulators": [
          {
            "type": "basic",
            "from": {"modifiers": {"mandatory": ["command", "control"]}, "key_code": "e"},
            "to": [{"shell_command": "~/.emacs.d/lib/pullover/pullover-start-or-finish"}]
          }
        ]
      }
    ]
  }
}]

The app to give Accessibility permissions is karabiner_console_user_server, not the main Karabiner Elements app itself. It is usually located at /Library/Application Support/org.pqrs/Karabiner-Elements/bin/karabiner_console_user_server.

Usage

  • Press the global shortcut while inside another app to pull text from the current editing area over into Emacs.
  • Edit the text as usual.
  • After you are done, press the same shortcut (while inside Emacs) to end the editing session, sending the text back to the original app.
  • To discard the edited text and return to the original app, use the command pullover-cancel, which overrides kill-buffer in pullover buffers.

pullover illustration

Customization

You can specify the major mode to use for editing.

(use-package pullover
  :custom (pullover-major-mode 'gfm-mode)
  :config (server-start))

If your Emacs.app is installed in a non-standard location, you should customize pullover-emacsclient-command.

(use-package pullover
  :custom
  (pullover-emacsclient-command "/Applications/MacPorts/EmacsMac.app/Contents/MacOS/bin/emacsclient"))

If the original app takes too long to copy text to the clipboard, the pullover buffer may not be populated correctly. You can give the app more time by configuring pullover-clipboard-timeout.

(use-package pullover
  :custom (pullover-clipboard-timeout 200))
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