You know that thing where you copy something important, forget to paste it anywhere, then copy something else? It sucks, because the important thing you copied first is gone.
Unless, of course, you have a clipboard manager. We’ve talked about Windows clipboard managers, and even how to sync your clipboard between iOS and macOS, but somehow we never got around to any clipboard management tools for macOS.
There are plenty of options out there for Mac clipboard managers, but ClipMenu is our go-to tool. It’s free, functional, and flexible. Installing takes just a few minutes: download the DMG file, mount it, then drag the application over to your Applications folder.
Just like that you’re up and running, though I suggest you set this application to run when your Mac boots, so you don’t have to start it manually later.
When you start up ClipMenu you’ll find a new menu bar icon. Click it to see your recent clipboard history.
When you first launch the program you won’t see many things here, but as you copy more you’ll see your collection grow. Click anything here and it will paste automatically.
Of course, moving your mouse to the menu bar can get in the way of your workflow. If you’d prefer a keyboard shortcut, click “Preferences” then head to the “Shortcuts” section.
Here you can set any shortcut you like; I personally use Command+Option+V, but you can use something different if you like. Once you do you can bring up a menu full of your clippings while using any program.
Use the arrow keys to quickly browse your collection, or press the number keys to make a selection even faster (press “1” for the first option, “2” for the second, and so on.)
And there you have it! You now have an ongoing archive of the things you’ve copied. But that’s not all this application can do, so let’s go over a few key features.
The first thing I’d like to point out is “Actions,” which allows you to do things like PASTE TEXT IN ALL CAPS, or (more likely) paste text that’s already in all caps in lowercase. You can also paste what was formatted text as plain text, which comes in handy a lot.
To learn how this works, head to the “Action” tab in the Preferences window. From here you can set a mouse and keyboard gesture to launch the Action Menu. You can also pick what does and does not show up in the Action menu.
To trigger the option menu, simply launch ClipMenu, then click on something using the gesture you picked (by default, holding Control and clicking.) A menu will pop up, showing all of the options you’ve selected:
You can also set specific gestures for specific actions. For example, you could make Command+click trigger pasting something as plain text, if you like.
I have lots of Very Important Emoji that i need to use on a regular basis. I store these in the Snippets menu, which you can find in the Preferences.
Of course, you could put pieces of text you find yourself repeating a lot, instead of just emoji. From form emails you need to send regularly to the outline of a report you regularly write, this has all sorts of uses. You can add as many folders full of bits of text as you like. You’ll find your Snippets below your clipboard items.
If you want faster access, you can set a system-wide keyboard shortcut for Snippets in the Shortcuts menu of the Preferences.
I’ve been using ClipMenu so long that it feels like it’s part of macOS at this point. I can’t imagine using my computer without it. I’m sure once you get used to how everything works you’ll feel the same way.
Justin Pot is a technology writer and enthusiast who lives in Portland, Oregon. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, if you want. You don’t have to.