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Clipboard Managers as Powerhouses

by Kerry Dawson

It’s been said that the lowly clipboard manager was nothing less than a game changer. Forever changing the way we handle and manipulate data, it was revolutionary in the way we used our computers. It enabled us to quickly take information created and copy that information to some other spot. Once we had a taste of this capabiity there was not a possibility of turning back but only of moving forward.

Although our Macs come with that lowly clipboard of many years ago, there are a variety of multi-clipboard managers that enhance this basic functionality tremendously. No one who uses today’s Mac should be without one.

Clipboard Limbo

For a brief period, I found myself in a sort of clipboard limbo. I had run into a problem with my main clipbaord manager that was not immediately explainable. As I worked through these issues and toyed with past managers I had used, I thought about how valuable a tool the clipboard manager is amongst all our high tech wizardry. Additionally, I was reminded of the changes that lie ahead a how, in a fashion, they are analogous to the clipboard manager as pheonomenon. As such, I thought I’d write briefly about clipboard managers for the Mac.

All should use a Multi-Clipboard Manager

IClipboard 4

My feeling is no one should be without a multi-clipboard manager and one based on your style of working. There are a variety of clipboard managers available. They can be standalone multi-clipboard managers, managers integrated into a larger package and cloud based clipboard managers. Although I primarily work with a stand alone clipboard manager, that being iClipboard, I have at my disposal a variety of clipboard managers. Let me go over three basic styles of clipboard manager. Remember, as in all things let your needs and personal preference drive your choice.

Look No Further

You might already be working with a multi-clipboard manager, be aware of that but are just not using it and could therefore take advantage of it. The first one to be disccussed relates to those that are part of a larger package. In this case, Launchbar, Alfred and Keyboard Maestro all sport multi-clipboard managers. Any of these might suit your needs and be all that you’re ever likely to need.

As part of any one of these larger systems, since you are already using the system there might be little to learn except for it’s style and capabilities. Some are more robust than others. Launchbar’s manager provides greater function than that of Alfred’s. Keyboard Maestro‘s clipboard manager I almost find like working with a stand-alone, dedicated system.

Screenshot 2013 10 15 1 09 PM

If you have any or any combination of the above, try them out and see if they suit both your needs for a clipboard manager and your personal style. Keyboard Maestro, from my perspective, is the most visual of the three. It also provides multi-clipboard support so it is taking on the advanced functionality of the stand-alone packages. Should any of these suit you then look no further. There is no point in muddying the waters if any of these systems is suited to your purpose.

Stand-Alone and Dedicated

Aside from those clipboard managers for the Mac that are integrated into a larger system, there are those that are dedicated to the sole process of managing multiple clip events. Within this category, some provide more function, some are more aesthetically pleasing and some provide both.


The clipboard manager I use and prefer is iClipboard. Visually, it is very pleasing and thus simple to use. In terms of power, it has all the core functions I require including multiple clipboards for longer term storage, the ability to paste rich text as plain text and more.

However, there is also CopyPaste Pro, a very high end but intuitive clipboard manager that allows you to manipulate your clips significantly. It is probably the most powerful of the bunch out there yet remains no more in price that iClipboard. It too is visually very attractive and it’s not in your face at all but always at the ready. Although CopyPaste Pro will suite any audience due to it’s multiple ways of manipulating clip events it would be very well suited to a high end writer.

For IOS check out Clipboard. However, my preference is to go with one that falls into the next category on cloud based clipboard managers.

Cloud Based and Integrated between IOS and OSX

Finally, probably one of the most beneficial classes of manager falls within the realm of Cloud based. With these systems, not only are they intended to work within an environment, such as OSX but they’re intended to work between IOS and OSX making them an ideal method to move data from one environment to the other.

The cloud based managers are the newest of the breed. Driven by the need to provide a seamless experience between OSX and IOS they do very well in meeting this requirement. They are also powerful with their respective environments. Although you might find a dedicated manager aesthestically more pleasing these might get the job done for you best. I find a cloud-based clipboard manager essential now. Check out Cloud Clip as I find this to be the best of the bunch in this category.

How the lowly Clipboard was a Game Changer

As we look forward to the changes that have been occurring and that which is coming, we can easily look back at how something, which appears so basic and simple today was a real game changer. It had a huge impact on productivity. Rather than manually copying something from one spot to another, a very laborious and time-intensive activity, the clipboard enabled rapid and accurate copying of information from one spot to another. Further, it became very much the glue that bound environments creating for integrated systems. Information not only traversed within an application but between applications.

The multi-clipboard managers just enhanced on this basic premise further improving productivity. My view is one should not be without a clipboard manager. However, at the end of the day it was the lowly clipboard that was the true game changer.

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