By josh / June 11, 2014

Using Sublime Text multi-select to insert lists, numbers and GUIDs

On this one project I worked on, we needed to generate dummy product IDs for test runs.

Each product ID needed to be unique, or the test run would go haywire.

What’s that? There’s a programming convention for handling this problem, you say? It’s called a GUID?

Well, maybe. But someone on this project decided that regular GUIDs took up too much disk space, and they devised an ingenious solution: a five-character GUID!

So, yeah…

Conflicts ensued, and they always triggered troubleshooting sessions …

GUIDs are definitely useful.

What if you’re editing some data by hand and need to generate and insert a few GUIDs on the fly?

The Text Pastry plugin (Sublime Text 2 and 3) has you covered.

Text Pastry extends Sublime’s multiple selection feature, adding support for some advanced paste scenarios where you want to insert something different at each cursor point.

For example, you can copy a list of space-delimited words, then insert multiple cursors and paste one word at each insertion point.

Or you can get your cursors positioned and then insert an incrementing number at each one.

And of course, you can use it to generate and insert a different GUID at each cursor, which could be a lifesaver if you’re editing some CSV data by hand.

One feature that’s noteably absent: support for the five-character GUID.

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