inessential by Brent Simmons

More NetNewsWire features you might not know about

We got a bunch of great feedback from my post about NetNewsWire tag subscriptions and the list of features you may not know about.

So here’s another list—more features you may not know about. (Small features, mainly, but you may find some of the useful.)

NetNewsWire is very keyboard friendly. The best tip is to use the space bar to read news (which you probably already know). But there are other keyboard shortcuts worth knowing: for instance, you can flag an item by typing the f key.

You can delete all the read items in a group by pressing the d key. You can open the home page of a feed by hitting return (when the subscriptions list has focus). You can do a collapse-all in an outline with the ; key.

There are plenty more—choose Keyboard Shortcuts from the Help menu to see the list.

You can tell NetNewsWire how to handle updated items—mark as unread or not—via the General preferences pane.

(This works with RSS feeds with guids and with Atom feeds. With feeds that lack unique IDs, NetNewsWire doesn’t distinguish between new and updated items. Also—before anyone asks, we plan to make this a per-feed pref in the future.)

When you’re viewing a news item that’s in a group or smart list, and you want to select the original subscription in the subscriptions list, ctrl-click (or right-click) on the news item and choose the Reveal [subscription name] in Subscriptions command.

We have some web pages and feeds for NetNewsWire tips, scripts, styles, and so on.

The Find command—cmd-F—works in a bunch of places: subscriptions list, headlines list, description pane, web pages, and the Sites Drawer.

At the bottom of the Help menu is a Find More Feeds submenu with links to various websites that list feeds. (Including the podcast directory.)

Browser +FEED button

When you’re using the built-in browser, and a page links to its feed (using the correct meta tag), then a +FEED button appears at the bottom right of the main window. Click on it to subscribe to the feed. (Note: the button doesn’t appear if you’ve already subscribed to that feed.)

If you have a URL on the clipboard, and you click the Subscribe button in NetNewsWire, then the URL is automatically filled in—it saves you a step, you don’t have to paste it in.

If a feed isn’t working, you can validate it. Ctrl-click on the feed and choose Validate this Feed.

To edit a smart list, just double-click it. To expand or collapse a group, just double-click it.

If you have selected a subscription inside a group, and you want to collapse the group and select the parent, type the , key.

To see feeds that haven’t updated in a while, choose Dinosaurs from the Window menu.

NetNewsWire works with Bloglines.

It also has syncing via .Mac and FTP, and we plan to do more with syncing in the future.

You can subscribe to a local feed (a file on disk) by choosing File > New Special Subscription > Local File... This is especially useful for people who need to test feeds.

To use NetNewsWire in widescreen three-column format, choose View > Layout > Widescreen View. Or just type cmd-2.

You can change the text color and background color of the unread count badge in the Dock icon. Click on the Appearance prefs pane, then click on the Color for: popup menu.

You can read feeds via the Dock icon—click and hold or ctrl-click (or right-click), and the menu that pops up includes feed names and titles of unread news items.

When you choose an item, it opens its web page and marks it as read. If you want to open the news item instead of the web page, hold down the option key as you choose the menu item.

Typing cmd-option-F moves focus to the search field in the toolbar. Just type cmd-option-F then type whatever you want to search for.

When a feed has an image, the image is displayed in the Info window, at the bottom, in the Image section.

When subscribing to a feed, NetNewsWire does auto-discovery. Just subscribe to the home page of the site and let NetNewsWire find the feed.

You can also drag links from other apps in the subscriptions list to subscribe.

When a news item has a comments link, it’s displayed in the description pane. Just click the Comments link to go to the comments in your browser.

If you don’t change your NetNewsWire style very often, you can hide the styles popup menu by choosing View > Hide Styles Menu. (You can still change the current style via the Appearance preferences pane on the News Items tab.)

You can see how news items change by turning on the Highlight Differences option in the General preferences pane.

(It can be especially interesting to watch how large news organizations revise their RSS descriptions.)