Sample contents of a .txt file on my Mac:

This is sentence A.
This is sentence B.
This is sentence C.
This is sentence D.
This is sentence E.

I want to implement a subroutine, like this:

writeTextAtSpecificLine(("This is the newcomer sentence." & linefeed), 4)

so that, the text file would consequently look like this:

This is sentence A.
This is sentence B.
This is sentence C.
This is the newcomer sentence
This is sentence D.
This is sentence E.

I know that I can accomplish my desired result by making each line of the text file its own item in an AppleScript list object, like so:

set theIndividualLinesOfTextFileAsList to paragraphs of (read theFilepathOfTxtFile)

I could then split the list, based on the desired line number, and then add it all back together.

But, does a more efficient method exist?

My real .txt file is much longer than the sample content above.

2 Answers 2


Edited version:

set selected_file to ((path to documents folder as text) & "hom.txt") as alias
set text_data to "This is the newcomer sentence."

InsertLine(selected_file, text_data, 4)

on InsertLine(the_file, the_data, num_line)
        set file_id to open for access the_file with write permission
        set text_data to read file_id

        if (paragraph num_line of text_data) ≠ "" then
            set the_offset to (offset of (paragraph num_line of text_data) in text_data) - 1
            set remaining_data to (the_data) & (text the_offset thru -1) of text_data
            set eof of file_id to the_offset
        else -- LINE IS EMPTY
            set num_line to num_line - 1
            set the_count to (count of (characters of (paragraph num_line of text_data))) - 1
            set the_offset to (offset of (paragraph num_line of text_data) in text_data) + the_count + 2
            set remaining_data to the_data & linefeed & ((text (the_offset + 1) thru -1) of text_data)
            set eof of file_id to the_offset - 1
        end if

        --write the_data to file_id -- INSERT LINE
        write remaining_data to file_id -- WRITE REMAINING DATA
        close access file_id
    on error
            close access the_file
        end try
    end try
end InsertLine

I'm not sure this is the most efficient way, but this will accomplish what you're looking for. Works for me on latest version of Sierra

tell application "TextEdit" to make new paragraph at after third paragraph of text of document 1 with data "This is the newcomer sentence. \n"

This Would Be My Choice.

property theFile : POSIX path of (path to desktop as text) & "test.txt"
property newContent : missing value
property sedSTDOUT : "sed " -- This Option For Testing
property sedOverwriteFile : "sed -i ' ' " -- This Option Overwrites The File

addNewSentence(sedSTDOUT, "sentence C.", "This is the newcomer sentence.")
--addNewSentence(sedOverwriteFile, "sentence C.", "This is the newcomer sentence.") -- Writes To The File

to addNewSentence(whichSED, lastTextItemsOfSentenceToAddNewSentenceAfter, newSentenceContent)
    set newContent to do shell script whichSED & "'s/" & lastTextItemsOfSentenceToAddNewSentenceAfter & ¬
        "/" & lastTextItemsOfSentenceToAddNewSentenceAfter & "\\" & linefeed & ¬
        newSentenceContent & "/' " & quoted form of theFile
    return newContent
end addNewSentence
  • When testing this, I only had one document open in textedit therefore "document 1" worked. If you have several documents open, you may need to tweak the code a little bit so it targets the correct document.
    – wch1zpink
    Jun 21, 2017 at 3:41
  • I forgot to mention that I want to write to the text file without opening the file. The file will never be open when the script is run. Hence, I am looking for a more "behind the scenes" method. Jun 21, 2017 at 4:08

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