Creating New Text Files From the Finder’s Contextual Menu

So I saw this post on TUAW about NuFile, a contextual menu plugin that gives you a shortcut to create new files in the Finder using the contextual menu.

I thought that sounded pretty cool, but I’d only ever use it for creating text files. So I wrote an AppleScript for Brent Simmons’s freeware Big Cat Scripts Plugin that does just that. Here’s how to use it:

  1. If you haven’t done so already, download and install Big Cat Scripts.

  2. Copy the script below, paste it into your script editor, and save it in your ~/Library/Application Support/Big Cat Scripts/Files/. I named my script “New Text File”.

  3. Control-click in any Finder window and choose your script from the Scripts sub-menu.

  4. A dialog box will appear, prompting you for a file name. Enter a name, then click Create.

  5. The file will be created and opened for editing in your preferred text editor. (See below.)

Here’s the script:

on main()
   tell application "Finder"
      try
         set _folder to (the target of the front window) as alias
      on error
         beep
      end try

      display dialog Β¬
         "New text file name:" default answer "" buttons Β¬
         {"Cancel", "Create"} default button 2
      set _fname to text returned of result
      if exists file _fname of _folder then
         display alert "A file named β€˜" & _fname & Β¬
            "’ already exists in this folder." as informational
         return -- ends script
      end if

      set _path to quoted form of ((POSIX path of _folder) & _fname)
      do shell script "bbedit " & _path
   end tell
end main

The do shell script line at the end of the script assumes that your favorite text editor has a command-line tool, and that the tool is available in your shell’s PATH. If you use TextWrangler, change the “bbedit” tool to “edit”; if you use TextMate, change it to “mate”; and if you use SubEthaEdit, change it to “see”.

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