6 best clipboard managers for the Apple Mac to boost productivity

The 6 best clipboard managers for macOS are on test

The clipboard is an incredibly useful feature of macOS, so why is there only one? Here are 6 free clipboard managers for macOS that enable you to store up dozens of items on the clipboard.

All of these apps are free in the Mac App Store. The links are to the developer’s website and sometimes they offer better versions of these free tools, so check them out.

See all utilities for the Apple Mac

CopyLess 2

CopyLess 2 is a great clipboard manager that enables you to store multiple items on the clipboard. 

The app adds a pin icon to the menu bar and this is used to show or hide the CopyLess window. The window contains a list of the items you have copied to the clipboard and in the order they were copied.

The clipboard shows the icon for the app that was used to copy. For example, it shows Safari or Chrome if you copy text or images from web pages, TextEdit if you copy text from a document you are editing, and so on.

The icon could be useful for helping identify the copied item. There is a preview of each item in the CopyLess window and you can see the first few words of text, a thumbnail of the image you copied, and so on.

Double clicking an item in the CopyLess window makes it the current item on the clipboard and the next item to be pasted.

There is a feature that enables you to record a series of copies and then they can be replayed and pasted in the same order. I couldn’t get that to work with the free CopyLess app downloaded from the Mac App Store.

Syncing through iCloud is available in the paid version of the app.

CopyLess 2 is a useful clipboard manager that, apart from one function i didn’t need anyway, worked very well.

CopyLess free clipboard manager for the Apple Mac

ClipDoubler Free

ClipDoubler Free enables you to store multiple items on the clipboard and easily select which one you want to use when you next perform a paste. It supports most things you can copy to the clipboard and it works well.

The app’s user interface is very easy to use, but isn’t the best and it can be irritating. Every time something is copied, a small ClipDoubler window opens on the desktop containing the item.

The topmost window is the item that is used for pasting, so you can simply click a window to select what you want, switch to the app you are using and paste.

The problem is that as you copy more and more items to the clipboard, the desktop fills up with little ClipDoubler windows. Copy 10 items and there will be 10 windows on the desktop, plus whatever apps you have open.

However there are a couple of menu functions for tidying up the windows and they can be tiled or stacked. There is also a search facility that will find content on a clipboard and select it.

An advantage of this multiple window approach is they can be resized so you can see more of the clipboard content, such as a page of text rather than the first few words. You can even select content on a clipboard, such as a paragraph of text and copy it, creating a new clipboard window.

ClipDoubler Free has some good features, but not everyone will get on with the interface.

ClipDoubler clipboard utility for the Apple Mac

CloudClip

CloudClip is a utility that is primarily designed for sharing the clipboard with the iPhone and iPad.. It does this through iCloud and apps on macOS and iOS.

Of interest here is the ability of CloudClip to store multiple items on the clipboard. Every time you copy something, it adds a menu item to the icon on the menu bar.

You can then select any of the menu items and use it as the next item to paste in whatever app you are using.

The app is OK, but it is designed for text and it does not appear to handle images and other types of content. This limits its usefulness. You really want it to just work whatever you copy, and at least handle images.

There are better clipboard tools for the Mac, but it could be useful for transferring text-based information from the Mac to the iPhone and iPhone back to the Mac.

CloudClip multiple clipboard utility for the Apple Mac

iPaste

The free version of iPaste is limited to storing three clipboard items and the Pro version, which allows 20 items costs £4.99.

When the fourth item is copied to the clipboard, it replaces the first item. So basically, the free version remembers the last three items copied.

Although it is limited (without paying), it is one of the better clipboard managers. This is because it handles text, text styles and formatting, images, and more. Each item appears on the iPaste menu bar icon menu and selecting an item pastes it into the current app.

Clipboard items can be pinned, so you can keep your favourites within easy reach. Formatted text can be stripped of formatting and pasted as plain text. This is useful and I have often pasted into TextWrangler and copied the text in in order to strip out formatting. iPast does it automatically.

iPaste is good, but the three-item limitation means you’ll want the Pro version though.

iPaste clipboard manager for the Apple Mac

Flycut

Flycut is aimed at programmers and it is designed for storing bits of code. Programmers often copy and paste code and sometimes the same code is used several times, or they need to cut several items and paste them in elsewhere.

Flycut can do this, but it it is not designed for copying images and it is text only. It doesn’t even preserve the font, style, colour and so on. It is plain text.

This could be used by writers as well as programmers and you could store multiple chunks of text on the clipboard. They are added to a menu which is accessed from the menu bar icon.

An unusual feature of this clipboard manager is that when a hotkey is pressed, a semi-transparent window appears and you can move forward and back through the clipboard items until you find the one you want to paste. This design of this pop-up window is customisable

You can choose how many items to store on the clipboard and how many appear in the menu. Clipboard items are saved on exit and it will sync with Dropbox.

As a general purpose clipboard manager, Flycut is too limited. However, if you work with code, such as when building websites, programming or even writing, it has its uses.

Flycut clipboard manager for macOS

CopyClip

CopyClip is another multiple clipboard manager and like some of the others on test, it works purely with text. Images are ignored, but if you want to copy and paste text, this is fine. The app strips out formatting and pastes as plain text.

Writers, programmers, bloggers and other people that work with text will like it and it holds hundreds of clipboard items at a time. Each time you copy some text, it is stored and also added to the menu on the menu bad icon.

You can choose how many clipboard items to store and how many appear on the menu. The defaults are 80 clipboard items and 20 on the menu, but this is easy to customise.

CopyClip has one unusual feature. You can choose to ignore apps. It doesn’t list all the apps installed and it shows an odd collection of mainly system services.

CopyClip clipboard manager for macOS

The best clipboard app

The clipboard managers that only handle text are limited. They are useful in certain situations, but could be frustrating if you need to copy images, or even preserve text formatting information like colour, fonts and so on.

My favourites are CopyLess and iPaste because they copy with a wider variety of clipboard content. Of the two, CopyLess does more for free and I like the scrolling window of clipboard items with previews.

 

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