Three Free Clipboard Managers for Mac

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Ask anybody who uses computer what command he/she uses most and you will likely have Copy, Cut and Paste among the tops. Basically, everytime you Copy or Cut an item, it will be stored in the clipboard to be put wherever you do the Paste command. These are extremely useful, not only for text-related activity but also for almost anything including images, sound and videos.

One caveat, though, by default the computer sets that only one item could be stored in the clipboard. I guess this is a legacy from when the computer’s storage capacity was still within megabytes range. If you put one item in the clipboard, the previous one will be replaced by the newer. This limitation can be very annoying if you – like most people – constantly have to do Copy – Cut – Paste between multiple items.

To overcome this limitation, we need clipboard managers – applications which keep record of clipboard history. For Mac users, here are three best options to try:

1. QuickSilver

This long time favorite multi-functions launcher has a plugin called Clipboard History. It’s accessible by opening the Quicksilver launcher (Command + Space or whatever key combination you use) then go through plugins menu or by using the Command + L shortcut. If you don’t have the plugin, you can add it by going to plugins menu or use Command + Quote (”) shortcut. The interface is simple but sufficient for everyday use.

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One quick note: despite the popularity, Quicksilver is not developed anymore. So if you plan to use the Clipboard History plug-in, you’ll just have to stick with the last available version.

2. Jumpcut

This tiny app (only 520 kb) is the simplest yet. It resides in the menubar above and constantly record every item put into the clipboard. To paste any item, open the application you want the item pasted into, then choose the item by clicking the Jumpcut logo in the menubar.

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There is also an option to show a pop-up bezel using a shortcut key, but be sure to change the key combination – the default is Command + Option + V if you have another application using that combination already.

3. PTHPasteboard

This app has the most complete clipboard monitoring features, but unfortunately some of the features are disabled in the free version.

It will be installed as a Preference Pane item and will open an icon in the menubar and also a small window containing all the clipboard items.

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Be sure to adjust the settings via System Preferences Pane, otherwise you might get an always-open window blocking another windows – which is annoying for me personally. You also need to open System Preferences Pane if you want to close the app. For those who need visual help, please refer to the screencast.

Have you used one of these or do you use other clipboard manager? Share your experience using the comment below.