If you have used Windows systems you might have found its ability to print a selection of text to be rather useful, and may wish for this feature to be in OS X. Unfortunately, Apple does not have this as an option by default; however, Apple does support the creation of custom services using Automator, and if needed, you can make one that will allow you to do this, and then bind it to a hotkey so you can quickly invoke it.
- Open Automator and create a new Service workflow, and then ensure the input at the top of the workflow is “text” from “any application.”
- Locate and drag the “New Text File” action to the workflow area, and have it save the input as a file with a unique name (e.g., “tempFile.txt”) in the “Downloads” folder (or another folder of your choice).
- Drag the Print Finder Items action to the workflow area below this first action.
- Drag the “Move Finder Items to Trash” action as the last one in the sequence.
When this is done, save the entire workflow with a name like “Print Selected Text,” and it should now be available in the Services submenu of either the Apple menu, or the contextual menu, when you select some text in a document.
Selecting the service in this list will reveal an “Add Shortcut” button, which when clicked will allow you to enter a hotkey of your choice for the service. I recommend you use something like Control-Option-Command-P, since these modifier keys are all in-line and easy to press, and are likely not used by most other applications so the chance of conflicts from hotkey overlap should be minimal.
When done, go to a program where you can select text, highlight a selection, and then press the hotkey or choose the service from the Services menu to print the highlighted text.