Life without a Clipboard Manager
You definitely need to use a clipboard manager.·
Whenever you use your computer, you copy a lot. Text, links, images, files, more text. You copy all the time! Everyone does.
Everything you copy ends up in your clipboard. It doesn't just stay there until you paste it somewhere again. It stays there until you copy again. But that's too bad. Personally, I consider the stuff I copy quite important. I might need it later.
I might copy a video of video game Harry Potter getting slapped across the face and send it to a co-worker. Next, I copy a highly official, work-related text™, replacing my clipboard content. But then there's this other co-worker that needs to see Harry Potter getting slapped by Dolores Umbridge. Let's return to that video and copy again. What a life!
That's life without a clipboard manager. By the way, I'm 0% sorry about featuring that Harry Potter video in this blog post. It's hilarious!
What's a clipboard manager?
Clipboard managers offer you the convenience of saving a history of so called "clippings". Clippings are elements you have copied using ctrl + C (⌘ + C on a Mac) or the context menu. This includes text and even images and files, depending on the tool you use. Clipboard managers run in the background of your operating system and are usually summoned using a specific keyboard shortcut. The goal of clipboard managers is to extend you clipboard volume from just one item to many items and paste content you have copied in the past. They aim to increase your efficiency when working on your computer and avoid having to copy elements several times.
All major operating systems offer clipboard managers. This blog post could be the beginning of your personal clipboard manager history (pun intended).
My default work station is a Macbook and I'm using Pastebot. I defined a global shortcut to access my clipboard at all times. In my case it's ⌘ + Ö so it doesn't get in the way of App-specific shortcuts.
It's pretty powerful:
- Sequential pasting offers me to paste clippings in an order I define. When I work on designs in Figma for example, I might copy a couple of text elements and paste them in a specific order afterwards.
- Custom pasteboards allow me to define clippings that I always want to have handy. Maybe I would like to have that Harry Potter video sitting in my clipboard, ready to be used. Just in case.
- With iCloud sync I can copy content from my iPhone and paste it on my Mac and the other way around.
I have also used Maccy, which has similar features, but I have been stuck with Pastebot, ever since I discovered it.
Windows has a native clipboard manager, no extra software required. Just press the Windows Key + V to open your clipboard.
It's quite basic, but it does the job:
- History of the last 25 clippings
- Pin clippings that you want to keep in your clipboard
- Sync your clipboard history with other Windows devices (maybe this feature makes sense if you use Windows on your work & private laptop and use the same Microsoft Account?)
There are of course third-party options as well but you might be happy with what Windows offers out of the box.
My Linux desktop days are long gone 🥲. I wouldn't feel right recommending a clipboard manager I haven't tried, but if I get the chance to do so I will update this blog post with a recommendation.
Life without a clipboard manager
Living such a life is possible, but it's not very efficient. It's up to you, but I can promise you that once you understand the true magic of using a clipboard manager, you'll never look back.