Clipboard Managers – Occupational Therapy Productivity Hacks

Clipboard Hack Featured

Disclosure: This post was not sponsored or paid for by a third party, I wrote it because I wanted to share a useful product with my audience.

Now that I do a lot of blogging, research, scriptwriting, and copy & pasting, I have bitten the bullet and started looking into clipboard managers. I have known that these apps existed and have always wanted to try them out, but never felt the need to use one. Come to think of it, I have been wasting a lot of time when I could have been using a clipboard manager all along.

What is a Clipboard Manager?

Ever find yourself copy & pasting a lot and wishing you could paste from say, 2 or 3 items ago from the clipboard? A clipboard manager keeps a history of items you have copied into your clipboard. You can exclude apps if you want them to be ignored and not “copied”. You can then use a keyboard shortcut to quickly locate an item from a list or even search (by typing in a search term) from it. Then you can easily select or use a keyboard shortcut (my preferred method) to select a particular item and paste it to where you want. Some apps even allow you to directly paste with minimal keyboard or mouse interactions.

Screenshot from ClipClip2 – what I currently use.

Usage Example

I have been copying a lot of APA references into my clipboard, e.g., OTPF, research journals, etc. Lately, I have found myself pasting a lot of these same items at different times. Prior to a Clipboard Manager, what I would do is re-find the item on Google and copy & paste it to the text field that I want. Or I would keep a TextEdit window of common things I use to copy & paste from. The problem with this approach is that items can get unorganized and cluttered and if items are multiple lines, it can be hard to read and differentiate. There is no real ‘search’ feature that searches a particular group of copied items to paste somewhere else. You’ll need to highlight with the trackpad from beginning to end what you want before you copy and paste. Another issue is it adds another window to your screen, which adds more clutter, even if you use Expose and Mission Conrtrol on Mac. As I am running a Macbook Air (and video edit on it), I like to keep only the minimum and necessary amount of windows and applications open.

Clipboard Managers allow you to quickly copy and paste using only keyboard shortcuts if you wish. This can drastically improve your workflow and productivity for things like journal writing, blogging, scripting, word processing, e-mail writing, you name it. Unfortunately, I was unable to find a free software solution that could meet my needs.

Free vs Paid

I didn’t want to spend money on a monthly subscription for an app like this for Paste, which is very popular. It might be worth looking into as they have a free trial, but I find this to be relatively expensive for what it does. This also didn’t seem like a good fit for me because the interface seemed to take up a lot of screen real estate when invoked. The GUI reminds me of the Samsung Keyboard copy and paste manager. Another software, Maccy, came recommended on Reddit, but I did not want to pay without a trial and testing it first. It appears to be very lightweight and easy on computer resources though.

CopyClip seemed to suit my needs, but I was unable to find a way to invoke the app with a keyboard shortcut. There is also no search feature.

I finally settled on CopyClip 2 (same developers) since it was able to invoke with a keyboard shortcut, had an app exclusion list (for my password manager Apps like Authy and MacPass), has a search feature, can “Pin” commonly use items to the list, and has a clean and clutter-free interface. What is also useful about CopyClip 2 is its “Direct Paste” feature, which allows you to skip the step of pressing Command-V to paste from the App.

CopyClip 2 appears to be sharable on Family Sharing on the App Store so I am hoping my wife can also use it without paying extra.

I changed the keyboard shortcut to Option+Space so I’ll see how this works out.

Wrap-up

I am really excited to use this new app and I’ll give an update on how it goes.

If you have some time to test and experiment and do a lot of copy and pasting, I highly recommend looking into a clipboard manager app to make your life easier and save you a lot of time and frustration.