Every experienced Mac user has a list of must-have apps, those tried and true utilities that get installed first on any new Mac, and are quickly recommended to others without guilt, remorse, or customer support issues.
You know the kind. SuperDuper!, ChronoSync, or Carbon Copy Cloner are perfect apps to use for Mac backups, but easily recommended to the less experienced Mac user, or someone who just switched over from a Windows PC.
Just as RSS readers became popular only years after they first hit the streets, so it is with clipboard manager apps. You know the Mac’s clipboard, right? That’s where anything and everything you copy or cut goes to live a lonely life. However, that lonely life is short. As soon as you copy or cut something else from a file or document, whatever you copied before it disappears. The Mac’s built-in clipboard is one item at a time; older items are gone and forgotten.
Enter the clipboard manager; a small utility that watches what you copy and stores it in a library so it can be retrieved and repasted again later. Thankfully, Mac app developers have a little cottage industry going on here, and there are plenty of clipboard managers from which to choose. Here’s what I’m using now. Two. And for two good reasons.
The first is called Copied. And it runs on Mac, iPhone, and iPad, and syncs copied items between devices. That can be very handy and eliminates sneaker net and email net of copied items you want to share on another device.
For Mac users, Copied retains 500 of the most recently copied items; text, links, images. Text clippings can even be edited within Copied before pasted back into a document. Pasting is handled either by drag and drop or the standard paste, Command-V.
Copied is so good you can improve your workflow with user definable keyboard shortcuts, make lists of clippings for faster access, sync the whole shebang between devices using iCloud.
Once I installed and began to use Copied I forgot that I left Copy’em Paste in the Menubar. It’s yet another Mac clipboard manager but they both work at the same time. Copy’em Paste has a few advantages and disadvantages over Copied. There’s no sync to iCloud, so that’s the negative, but there are useful tools like a built-in text editor and it even works using remote desktop software so clippings can be shared between Windows and Linux PCs.
It’s the configuration options that come with Copy’em Paste which keeps it in my Menubar. For example, it handles text and images but also screenshots, links, PDFs, code, files, and everything else I’ve ever copied. It can be paste or drag and drop to get an item back into your document. It’ll even transform text by stripping out characters, adding prefixes, etc. All geeky stuff but highly useful.
There’s also a built-in screen shot feature. And a blacklist. That’s right. Copy’em Paste won’t copy what you don’t want it to copy. The app also gets around some of the Mac App Store’s sandbox security restrictions with a free helper utility which improves the paste function. There’s not much to not like here which accounts for the few hundred four and five star reviews. Copy’em Paste does not have an iOS version and does not sync copied items between Macs the way Copied does. Copied is the least expensive but both work just fine together.