One of the most essential tools for productivity snobs is a clipboard manager or clipboard buffer. Normally, a computer clipboard can store only one bit of copied information, which is over-written when a new bit of data is copied. A clipboard buffer stores a stream of information which can be later accessed and pasted back into a project. As I’m often copying several bits of information at once, a clipboard buffer is one of my most frequently used tools.
When I first switched to Mac from Linux, I discovered a fantastic clipboard app called “jumpcut.” This simple app lived in the finder bar, and had a simple interface to retrieve copied data. It only handled text, but as that’s all I wanted 1 I was fine with that. Sadly, jumpcut was abandoned shortly after I began using it, and hasn’t received an update in years 2. Despite it’s orphaned status, and the fact it was receiving zero security updates, I continued using jumpcut as my buffer of choice. I knew I’d eventually have to give it up when MacOS finally created too many incompatibilities, but jumpcut was near perfect so I couldn’t bring myself to drop it from my system.
With the arrival of Sierra, I concluded it was time to move on. Jumpcut still worked, but as Sierra is a new shift in the development of MacOS I thought it best to search for a clipboard buffer under active development. After several weeks of pondering I finally decided on CopyClip 2.
Several features led me to this choice.
First, it’s text only. Yes there are more featured clipboard buffers out there, but I want mine to be simple. CopyClip 2 is simply elegant and fast. Perfect for me.
Second, it has a keyboard shortcut to activate the buffer view. I set my shortcut up with the same keystroke I’d previously set in jumpcut, so my muscle memory is happy, but the workflow is different. By default CopyClip 2 doesn’t automatically paste a selected clip into an open application. Rather, it’s keystroke opens a window with the ten most recent entries copied, identified with a shortcut key to select each individual clip. Once selected, “command-v” will paste that clip into the active application. There is an option to paste a selected clip into an application directly, but I’ve found a few of my most used apps don’t like to play nice when it’s activated 3. It’s one more stroke to paste, but the window view is actually more efficient then jumpcut’s workflow, so it’s a wash.
Third, it had a trial download. This was huge. I needed to know if CopyClip 2 would fit into my workflow, and the trial period gave me the chance to make that determination. Never underestimate the value of a good “hands on” evaluation!
There is another benefit to CopyClip 2 which I’d not perviously considered — exclusions. There are certain apps whose data should not be sucked into a clipboard buffer. 1 Password, for example, carries all my online passwords. I don’t want it to show them off in plain text for anyone to see! In jumpcut, every time I’d copy a password I’d clear all my items and start fresh. CopyClip 2 makes this easier by allowing me to tell the app, “Don’t suck in any information from these applications.” It works wonderfully and, if any passwords happen to find their way into CopyClip 2 from other sources, I can delete individual clips from the buffer with a right-click.
After a month or so using the new system, I’m quite comfortable with the workflow. If you’ve ever wished you could copy more than one thing at a time on your Mac you might want to check it out.