Best Mac Clipboard Manager

Clyppan icon

Q: There are dozens of clipboard managers, so, is there really such a thing as the best Mac clipboard manager?
A: Clearly, we’re all different, so, your workflow will determine which clipboard manager will best suit your needs. I recently discovered a clipboard manager that fits my workflow perfectly. More about that later, let’s start at the beginning…

Q: What’s a clipboard manager?
A: A clipboard manager stores the data you ‘Copy’ and ‘Cut’ instead of just overwriting the previously saved clipboard item. If you’ve ever copied something, then copied something new and only then discovered that you needed, but lost your first clip, you’ll understand why a clipboard manager can be a time saver.

If you’re not already using a clipboard manager, what’s holding you back? Almost all clipboard managers will massively improve your ‘Copy’, ‘Cut’ and ‘Paste’ workflow. I’ve paid for most of the Mac clipboard managers. Some were used for a very short period of time, while others served me well for years. My most recent favourites have been iClip, iClipboard, PTHPasteboard Pro and now something new (see below). I set PTHPasteboard Pro, and previously the other two, to magically show my clipboard data whenever I pushed my cursor to the right of my screen. It’s worth mentioning that iClip looked like it had been abandoned, for years, but, recently, it has made a comeback. In my opinion, both iClip and iClipboard spend to much time looking pretty, while PTHPasteboard Pro focuses on functionality and gets almost everything right.

Recently, in preparation for the release of Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, I’ve been reviewing all of the apps I use. I decided to have a look around to see if there was a 64 bit, 10.8-ready, clipboard manager that might suit me better than PTHPasteboard Pro, but I really didn’t expect to find anything. Interestingly, I discovered a very impressive, actively-developed app called Clyppan that, for whatever reason, I hadn’t happened upon previously.

“Clyppan is designed to be sleek, simple, elegant and get out of your way.”

Clyppan window

The combination of Byword, in full-screen mode and Clyppan makes me smile. I set Clyppan to launch at login and to always paste plain text. I love Clyppan’s keyboard shortcuts:

Global (available everywhere)

  • ⇧⌘C — Hide/show Clyppan
  • ⇧⌘V — Rapid paste

and when Clyppan is active

  • 1–9 — Paste favorite and hide Clyppan
  • ⌘1 — Switch to “All”
  • ⌘2 — Switch to “Favorites”
  • ⌘3 — Switch to “Most Used”
  • F — Toggle clipping as a favorite
  • ⌘L — Show current clipping
  • Space — Hide/show the Quick preview window
  • ⌥⌘F — Search
  • ↩ — Paste the selected and hide Clyppan.
  • ⇧↩ — Put the selected item on the clipboard, ready to be pasted, but do not hide Clyppan.
  • ⌫ — Delete selected clipping
  • ⌘, — Preferences
  • ⌘Q — Quit Clyppan

Note: Clyppan is intended for cutting, copying and pasting text, it doesn’t handle graphics and other data types. For my workflow, Clyppan is the best Mac clipboard manager.

Clyppan was selling for $2.99 at the time this post was written (20120724).

>> Check out Clyppan here

Mac OS X and iOS Apps for a Plain Text Workflow

BBEdit screen capture of plain text

I like plain text.

Although I admire beautifully typset documents, nothing beats plain text for productivity. Plain text is easy to compose, easy to send and easy to receive. Sharing/syncing plain text documents on a Mac and an iPhone/iPad with Dropbox works beautifully.

Mac OS X Apps (I set the font to Monaco 14 in all four apps)

iPhone/iPad (Courier New 14, iOS4 doesn’t have Monaco)

Cloud (for syncing and sharing)

Plain text email

Apple Mail preferences for plain text are set as follows:

Mail > Preferences… > Fonts & Colors
Apple Mail Fonts and Colors Plain Text

Mail > Preferences… > Composing
Apple Mail Composing Plain Text

FYI, my email system closely follows that outlined by Joe Kissell in his TidBITS article ‘Achieving Email Bliss with IMAP, Gmail, and Apple Mail.’

Apple Mail messages are stored in plain text, one message per file (a modified eml format with an ‘.emlx’ extension). Apple Mail archives are stored in the mbox format which is just one big text file.

BTW, I suspect standards organizations and security folks love plain text too.