Amar Sagoo

9 September 2008

Tofu 2.0.1

Tofu 2.0 was released yesterday, which allows reading simple PDF documents, has a less obtrusive full-screen mode, supports scrolling on MacBook trackpads and is a Universal Binary (that is, it includes a native build for Intel Macs). An alpha version with most of these features had been available for quite some time, but it had some bugs, and it only recently dawned on me how to solve the trackpad problem.

I have since released revision 2.0.1, which fixes some bugs in yesterday's release.

In case you don't know what Tofu is: it tries to make reading text on the screen more pleasant by wrapping it into columns, which you navigate from left to right without ever scrolling vertically.

Go and get it here.


  1. I absolutely love Tofu. It's one my favorite Mac applications, I think, ever. I'm so glad that you finally released this version -- I thought for sure that development had ceased indefinitely!

    I do have two requests though that you might oblige...

    They both have to do with better browser integration, since I typically use Tofu to read long blog posts or articles from the NYTimes... What I would love, first, is simply a browser toolbar button: "Read in Tofu". I could select text, then click that button... or better yet, you could look for certain primary content in a webpage and let me read that...

    Second would be the ability to right click on a selected portion of text and pick "Read in Tofu".

    Right now I primarily select and copy or select and drag on to the Tofu icon. It's certainly not *that* painful, but I think I'd use Tofu much more if it was built in Safari's interface.


  2. I love Tofu too, but I hope you update DeepNotes next. I think it's the great bullet-style notetaking tool--but I hate fact that text doesn't wrap to fit the window. I think it's a minor feature, but it's really helpful. I find it a little irritating to have to scroll horizontally to view a line.

  3. Thanks for tofu - it is totally sweet!

    When using it for reading in bed it would be nice if:

    - the full-screen mode hid the menu bar, since it is very bright compared to my black window with sand colored text.

    - it could rotate the text to portrait mode, like preview allows, so i could lie on my side without having the laptop balanced on its side (having it like that also makes it harder to hit the buttons or scratch pad, so it would be great if i could use the little mac remote control to scroll.

    - it would disable the screen saver in full-screen mode

    At any rate, it's already an immensely enjoyable application!

  4. Amar,

    very nice applciation, I just discovered it today. However some pdf's with mathematical formulae do not display properly; diagrams too. any suggestions?

  5. Tofu is amazingly intuitive. It has one of the best UI's ever. And a perfect icon. Seriously brilliant.

    I hate to even mention it.. Tofu's so almost perfect for me... but.. I know it's a small thing, but it'd be really nice to be able to paste in or use the View In Tofu Service without any annoying formatting (from a website for instance, particularly when they've used a light coloured text). My current work around is to paste into Textmate, and then copy from there, before pasting into Tofu. Not ideal.

    But I don't mean to be negative at all. Thank you so much for this little treasure.

  6. Hi,. Does anyone know any Windows software that is equivalent to your infamous Tofu reader? Cant afford a Mac and to download osx86 iso image is just a pain for me here in Malaysia. Hope someone can give any suggestion. Thanks.

  7. Wonderful application! Thanks for making it available! If one day it can incorporate diagrams/figures from PDF documents that would be helpful, too! Thanks again!

  8. Tofu appears to change the modified-time of files it reads. As a quick guess, I wonder if the code is opening the files with write permission...

  9. Very useful and enabling application. Is there any chance of a version as an iPhone / iPod Touch application?

  10. Useful, intuitive, wonderful... I can only agree. Thanks! Yet - one question: are those syslog messages like
    06.03.09 21:45:14 Tofu[285] scrollWheel. deltaX = 2.60187, deltaY = 0
    06.03.09 21:45:14 Tofu[285] scrollWheel. deltaX = 0, deltaY = 0
    leftovers from dev|debug? They are filling up my log-files... (MBP, OS X 10.5.6)

  11. hi there. Brazilian Tofu fan here and i really mean a fan. since i study ebook design and layouting, tofu comes as a tool in my research, makig it easir for me to test some hypothesis about onscreen reading on myself ;).

    thanks a lot for this awesome piece of coding :D

  12. Tofu is a great program - the interface is easy to use and innovative.

    It increased productivity and makes reading on my Macbook much more enjoyable.

  13. Hello! Thanks so much for creating and sharing tofu. I've been using it for a year or so and it's the best ebook reader for Mac(book) that I've found (and do not feel compelled to look further).

    I'm looking forward to using v. 2.01 which I've just upgraded to.

    There is one feature I would like to suggest. Would it be possible to add an option that would cause hyperlinks clicked within Tofu to be opened by tofu?

    Thanks again!

  14. Oh and BTW, it could be that the modification date is being modified because Tofu will automatically save your scrolling position to the resource fork of the doc. you're reading.

    If that's a problem, you can turn off that option (one of Tofu's best features IMHO) in Preferences.

  15. Found tofu while searching for something to reflow PDF so I can read on my iPhone.

    Tofu looks awesome. I'll try it tonight on my Macbook. I fly from California to India and China often (20+ hours on planes) and this looks perfect.

    Any chance for an iPhone app? PDFs really suck on iPhones.


  16. Brilliant App! I am highly impressed by its ability to re-format pdf's.

    I don't know how easy it would be to do, but if the colums could also format themselves so whole colums fitted onto the scrren, and the scrolling bar at the bottom could be replaced with next/previous page (and or animated page turns) you would have a perfect app!!

    Either way; brilliant creation!!

  17. hey! the icon design is really nice *one of my favorites*, but give us a 512px version please! great app.

  18. Hi Amar,

    I use Tofu as much as I could, but, as every users, I would appreciate some improvements.

    -First of all : As I'm french (nobody's perfect ;-), it would be so nice Tofu to accept ISO-8859-15 (for all the accents we love so in France...)

    -Second improvement : I don't know you can do something for that, but it would be so usefull if Tofu could be include in all the ebook readers that are so popular for instance ! I imagine read on an ebook reader...with Tofu, and it would be so great !

    Thank you for your application.
    Hope for a new version of Tofu.


  19. Tofu is amazing reading tool, not overloaded with useless features and annoying windows, as well as great idea of the newspaper like reading, I am absolutely loving it!

    However there is one feature which I am missing. It is the ability to see pictures when reading pdf. It would be great if the users could have some kind of hyperlink by clicking which pop up menu would appear with an appropriate image.

    Best Regards,

  20. Wow...You have done something've made reading enjoyable on a platform in which it is most definitely NOT. Thank you...As an academic, reading PDF's is something I do all day, so this is a Godsend.

    Unfortunately, I just realized there is no way to highlight text! Agh! It breaks my heart...Maybe a future release?

    Thanks a million!

  21. Hi, thanks for this great app.
    I found out today that free project gutenberg books downloaded from apple cannot be read on itunes, I'm using adobe digital editions but it's ugly, will try stanza, but I really don't need the organization features, just a nice reader. It would be great if tofu could red this .epub files, and I'm shure that would attract some people to it.

    Best regards.

  22. Tofu is an absolutely wonderful app. Thank you so much for making it.

    Stanza just wishes it was as nifty as Tofu (which is why they copied your concept, although without the polish and perfection of Tofu).

    That being said, if Tofu could read epub format it would fulfill a need for a simple, decent OSX eBook reading application. In 2008 I didn't need this, but now I find I do. So, um, yeah.

    Again, Tofu is one of the simplest, most elegant, most useful Mac applications ever, so thank you for your time and hard work making it.

  23. Great application - just found out about it, and it works nicely with DevonThink - but as Shane says above, Tofu really needs the ability to highlight text.

  24. This is the best application I have found out there for reading on my laptop. Simply awesome!!!! There are so many books I have had over the years on pdf that I have not bothered with after reading a few pages. I do wish it had a save option though so I didn't lose my settings and place when I close the page out. Something like a bookmark and something that saved the font size. Either way, it's still an awesome app. Thanks a bunch for the time you spent on this. Awesome idea!!

  25. Amar, Thanks for the brilliant reading app. I found it irreplaceable for text reading on Mac, especially for long context book.

    One suggestion: when opening large text file, it takes long time for rendering the text. Would it be good if Tofu only renders part of text every time? say, 5% of text? Then the next part will be processed when it gets near to 5%.

    Cheers up!

  26. This is a brilliant app, thank you. I have a reading disability and it really makes a difference in my life. Can you please make a similar app for the iPad? That would be amazing.

  27. Tofu seems really great, I love its scrolling with two fingers, as opposed to stanza where you have to click the button and it passes 3 pages at once.
    It's a pity it doesn't read .epub!!! I won't be using this app because that is precisely what I wanted, though I will be hoping to see that feature in a near future. hehe =)

  28. Add me to the chorus -- been using Tofu forever and it's brilliant. It's my app of choice for displaying music tabs on my Mac.

    But to the point of my post: I think I've found a Lion bug. I recently switched over from Snow Leopard and now View > Enter Full Screen is greyed out and the keyboard command is unresponsive.

    I've read that Lion's fullscreen feature might interfere with other apps ability regarding the same. Any advice or suggestions?

  29. I have just found Tofu. I think its very useful for my life. but I don't know how to use it. Please give me some directions.

  30. An update to support Lion fullscreen mode would be greatly appreciated, if you're still interested in working on the application; otherwise, would you consider sharing the source on GitHub?