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clean web textIf you work with lots of text-based documents, including emails, web content, lists, phone numbers and HTML code, you might occasionally need to clean up randomly ordered text, convert the case of titles, or strip away extra spaces and word duplications. When it comes to cleaning up longer pieces of text, it can be tedious and time consuming.

If cleaning up text has been a problem for you, Hoy Mackerel’s CleanHaven (available for Windows, Linux or Mac) application may be the solution. This free program performs dozens of text conversions and corrections. However, although it works pretty well, it can’t read your mind. You will need to figure out which settings and attributes are needed to make the changes you want.

How CleanHaven Works

After you download the application, you’re presented with sample texts to help you learn the various conversion attributes. My suggestion is to cut and paste this tutorial text into a word processing document, and then start working through each individual sample.

Let’s start with an easy one. Say you have a list of words and you want to quickly get rid of any duplicates in the list. Here’s an example: paste the following list in the main window of CleanHaven.

car

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bus

car

plane

bicycle

car

train

plane

Now simply click the Clean button. CleanHaven cleans up the text and delivers it in a new window. Thankfully it doesn’t delete or change the original/source text.

clean web text

In the Cleaned Results window, you have the option to copy the converted or corrected text to your computer’s clipboard. If you click the Source button, it corrects the original text in the main window. This Remove Duplicates attribute is very useful if you want to brainstorm a list of items and not fret over repeating yourself.

A similar attribute can put an assorted list of items in alphabetical or numerical order. If you don’t know the technical lingo, you might be a little confused about which attribute you need to get the job done. Use the Ascending attribute for this.

clean web text

Another useful attribute is cleaning up line-wrapped text that has been truncated, such as the type of forwarded text you might receive in an email. Checking and selecting the Personal>Combine Paragraph attribute will get the results you need.

clean text

Converting the title case of names is another clean up job that CleanHaven can perform.

clean text

This works great for first and last names that are not typed correctly, and for long lists of incorrectly typed titles.

The CleanHaven website lists all the conversions and corrections the application can make, including removing excess characters (excess returns, excess spaces, linefeeds, linefeeds to returns, non-ASCII, non-letters, non-numbers, periods, punctuation, returns, returns to linefeeds, spaces, tabs), combining paragraphs, adding salutations to names, converting phone numbers to standard formats, sorting numerical lists, etc.

CleanHaven, in its second version, is a useful (free!) program, but it does lack features that might be incorporated into future versions. For example, it would be useful if you could save complex conversion settings for repeated use. Another issue is that when you get “cleaned results”, you can’t add or change conversions settings to the results. You have to close the window and start over again.

And finally, although there’s lots information about the updates made to the application, it could use a well thought manual so that users don’t have to click on various attributes to figure which ones do what.

CleanHaven might not be an application you use on a daily basis, but it”˜s certainly handy to have, saving you time from performing tedious text conversions and corrections. Let us know how you like it.

  1. irha
    October 26, 2010 at 10:06 pm

    Funny, not everyone who uses Vim or command-line tools (since sort and uniq are command-line tools) is smart. The solution simply shows how to run familiar external commands on the current file from Vim. It is true that you have to spend time to learn good things in life, but it also saves you a lot of time later.

    BTW, there are a lot of non-programmers who adopted using Vim, and there is also a dumbed down distribution of Vim for windows users called Cream.

  2. Bakari
    September 13, 2010 at 1:27 am

    Hmm, irha, looks interesting. I don’t know shell commands, but I‘ll check into it when I get some times. Thanks.

  3. Bakari
    September 12, 2010 at 11:27 pm

    Hmm, irha, looks interesting. I don’t know shell commands, but I‘ll check into it when I get some times. Thanks.

  4. irha
    September 5, 2010 at 2:34 am

    Or learn to use a more powerful editor such as Vim with the combination of shell commands. If you know using filters in Vim, you would type "!Gsort" (without quotes) to sort and "!Gsort|uniq" to remove duplicates. Once you learn regular expressions, you would cleanup the names by typing ":%s/\<./\u&/g" (or something equivalent). The best part is, if you have a need for a unique cleanup that is not supported as a "feature" in CleannHeaven, you are not blocked.

  5. Anonymous
    September 5, 2010 at 12:34 am

    Or learn to use a more powerful editor such as Vim with the combination of shell commands. If you know using filters in Vim, you would type "!Gsort" (without quotes) to sort and "!Gsort|uniq" to remove duplicates. Once you learn regular expressions, you would cleanup the names by typing ":%s/<./u&/g" (or something equivalent). The best part is, if you have a need for a unique cleanup that is not supported as a "feature" in CleannHeaven, you are not blocked.

    • steve
      October 26, 2010 at 9:17 am

      Yep, that's the answer, choose the *much* more complicated method because we've got all the time in the world and a desperate need to prove how smart we are ...

    • Anonymous
      October 26, 2010 at 8:06 pm

      Funny, not everyone who uses Vim or command-line tools (since sort and uniq are command-line tools) is smart. The solution simply shows how to run familiar external commands on the current file from Vim. It is true that you have to spend time to learn good things in life, but it also saves you a lot of time later.

      BTW, there are a lot of non-programmers who adopted using Vim, and there is also a dumbed down distribution of Vim for windows users called Cream.

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