Bracket Notation

By Deane Barker on June 30, 2006

Collaboration Made Simple with Bracket Notation: This is interesting. It’s kind of like “Track Changes” in Word, but it’s for plain plain text. These folks used it to write a patent.

In the end, we found our solution in the personal trick bag of Jef Raskin, the master of keeping simple things simple. He didn’t have a name for it, so we dubbed it “bracket notation”.

It’s simply three sets of square brackets. The first set denotes deletion, the second set denotes addition, and the third set denotes a comment.

So, if I wrote this sentence —

My first name was Dean.

When I meant to write this —

My name is Deane.

I could fix the error-laden sentence like this —

My [first] name [was][is] Dean[][e].

The first thing in brackets is always deleted. Something else is brackets immediately after is meant to replace it. Something to be added is done by deleting nothing (“[]”) and adding whatever you need.

Elegant. I like it.



  1. Yes, that’s quite nice… It does not seem to address actually using brackets in text. Do they have a solution for that too ? But that’s probably not too common for it to be a kill-joy here.

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