Clipboard new-line format when copying from Preview

Today I helped my brother with a Keyboard Maestro macro he needed. Basically, he wanted to take some text from a PDF created by Notability, which inserts new lines to have text flow around images, and remove these new lines.


Pretty easy, I thought: pbpaste to tr and remove \n. Nope. For some reason, maybe some old Mac OS 9 heritage, when copying text from Preview new lines are saved as carriage returns, i.e. \r.

This stupid behavior means that if you try to pbpaste something which contains line breaks in your terminal, you only get the last line. You can view the full output by replacing \r with \n:

pbpaste | tr '\r' '\n'

This lame thing had me waste some time, so I hope this short post makes your life easier.

P.S.: The full command I had my brother put in Keyboard Maestro is:

pbpaste | tr '\r' ' ' | pbcopy

Followed by a Paste action. This replaces line breaks with spaces and pastes the result.