Thursday, July 16, 2015

Alternating between plain text and WYSIWYG in SDL Trados Studio

Depending on the content we're working with and our own preferences, we may want to see only plain text or fully-formatted text in Studio's editor view. Thankfully, switching between the two is easy. Consider the example below, where we have a Word file with some formatting.

Which Studio view would be more comfortable while working on the file: the WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) view on the left or the plain text view on the right? Whichever we prefer, we can get there in a matter of seconds.
To choose how the text will be displayed in the Editor, we go to File - Options - Editor - Formatting display style. These are the default settings:

The default is to "Show formatting but hide recognized formatting tags", so we get this (Adapt Font Sizes is disabled in this example to show variations in text size):

I personally don't like having all the tags hidden, as I find that it's easy to accidentally skip or     delete a tag. So, to add the formatting tags to the above view, we can either change to "Show all formatting and tags" in File - Options - Editor - Formatting display style, as shown here...

...or we can simply click the "Toggle formatting tag display" button in the View tab - Options group. This button is only active when "Show formatting but hide recognized formatting tags" or "Show all formatting and tags" have been chosen in the Editor options.

If we find the colored text hard to read or would rather have plain text for whatever reason, then we have a third option: "Show all tags but do not show formatting".

Here's what we get with this setting: plain text with formatting tags.

Increasing Font Size

So far so good, color contrast is no longer a problem in this last view, but the text is still too small to work comfortably (at least for me!). To adjust the text, we can use the "Adapt Font Sizes" button in the View tab and then increase or decrease text size to a comfortable level.

A Word about Tag View Options

Choosing our tag view options is also a matter of personal preference. In addition to the "No Tag Text" options shown above, we have three more, that we can easily switch among from the View tab, Options group.

Partial Tag Text

This is a view I use very rarely, as I find that most of the time it doesn't give me enough information to be as useful as the other views.

Full Tag Text

This view gives us the most information, but it can also lead to a cluttered segment, so I use it sparingly, and will often activate it only for specific checks rather than keeping it on all the time.

Tag Id

This is my preferred tag view. It allows me to quickly check that the tag pairs are correctly placed in the translation. To learn more about tags, don't miss Paul Filkin's article  Simple guide to working with Tags in Studio.

Once we become familiar with these options, we can quickly switch views while we work, to suit our needs and preferences.


  1. Hi,
    I have selected the settings "Show all formatting and tags", "Full tag text" and "Toggles display of formatting tags" but I still can't see the colours of the source text in Studio - it would be vital to see which words are highlighted which colour, and tags like cf highlightcolor="0xff00" don't really help! Do you have any tips, please? This is driving me nuts.

    1. Hi Neea,

      Those settings should work. I would suggest posting a question in the SDL Community,, where you can share a screenshot so I can see what you're seeing as well.

  2. A Plain Text Editor
    Plain Text files
    That's right, if you're writer on a budget, you don't need to spend any money buying expensive writing software or apps. Instead, you can use the text editor that comes free with your operating system.
    Just open up Notepad on Windows or TextEdit on a Mac. I like plain text editors for writing something short quickly and easily, without thinking much about it. I wrote a blog post about the benefits of using plain text editors as writing software.
    Use for: writing whatever, wherever