Sometimes you get a PDF or another text document that has paragraph after paragraph, page after page of text. If there is no informative summary or abstract this can be a pain to read. However, Apple has kindly built in a summary service which you can use to summarise long paragraphs of text into something that is quickly readable. For the most part it is pretty good, and useful in forming quick a quick summary of long complicated articles. It only takes a moment to set up and can be used for almost anything.
Setting Up The Summary Service
In older version of OS X, this service was automatically switched on. However, it seems in Snow Leopard at least, you have to turn this service on before you can use it. This is nice an simple. Open up System Preference and navigate to the keyboard preferences. Select the Keyboard Shortcuts tab, and select services from the left hand options. Within the long list scroll down to ‘Text’ and at the bottom of the options select the ‘Summarize’ option. Select this check box.
Summarise That Text
You are now ready to create summaries of any text you want. In Preview, TextEdit, as well as browsers such as Firefox and Safari, select the text you want to summarise. Then go to App Name > Services > Summarize from the menu bar.
The app will open in the menu bar and you will be presented with a summary from the text you have selected. Use the slider to increase the summary length. The closer to 100% the slider, the closer it is to the original article. Around 50% is a good starting point, increase and decrease the slide as you see fit.
The summary option gives a good summary to a long and complicated article. I can quickly see what the article is about without having to dig through a 6 page journal article on a complex topic.
Now all I need to do is find an app that can create an article from a summary I write.