Some habits are hard to break. Good habits are hard to find. Multiple clipboards have been around for many years. Why don’t more Mac users have multiple clipboards? Our cut, copy, paste routines are so embedded that a better way is not easy to add to our routine. Everyone uses cut, copy, paste on a Mac. Whenever you copy (or cut) something, whatever it is—graphic image, photo, text, movie clip, URL, whatever—it gets stored on your Mac’s clipboard. Clipboard contents get pasted. Wouldn’t it be great if you had a clip board that remembered everything you cut or copy?
One Trick Pony
This is not a new concept, but one which Apple has decided is too complex for most Mac users, hence the clipboard in Mac OS X remains pretty much what it was 25 years ago.
A one trick pony. Why? Cut/copy and paste is a logical progression. What you have over here you want to move over there. Click. Move. Release.
Despite the obvious advantages, multiple clipboard utilities interrupt that logical flow. The cut/copy part remains the same. The paste part remains the same. In between is an automated process that simply stores each of the cut/copy items for later retrieval.
That’s the problem. Later retrieval is a change in the habit. Our regular method is cut/copy then go somewhere and paste. If we screw up, it’s just easier to repeat the process.
Why? Because with Apple’s clipboard in OS X whatever gets cut/copied gets deleted with the very next cut/copy. A multiple clipboard utility saves each cut/copy.
Same Dog, New Trick
With the addition of a multiple clipboard utility, Mac users can retrieve, quickly, nearly anything that’s been cut/copied to the clipboard. It just requires a change in habit, an extra step to be inserted into the routine.
That extra step is actually less effort than repeating the cut/copy and paste routine, ad nauseam, like a lab rat going through the same motions time and again, always getting the same results.
My favorite multiple clipboard utility is a preference pane by the name of PTH Pasteboard. PTH Pasteboard is free. It remembers all of your most recent cut/copied items and makes them easily available when you need them.
I set up PTH Pasteboard as a pop out window on the right side of my Mac’s screen. All I have to do is move my mouse to the right where it touches the edge of the screen, and PTH Pasteboard springs open with a list of my most recent cut/copy items.
Click on one and it’s immediately copied to the Mac’s clipboard, ready for pasting. That’s not a lot of effort. A single mouse move, a click, and what’s old is ready to be new again.
More Cut/Paste Tools
If the Mac’s clipboard is a one trick pony, what of PTH Pasteboard? The Pro version lets users share cut/copy items with other Mac users. It also provides filters.
PTHPasteboard PRO provides filters for many common text transformation. You can use it to quote text, search and replace (including regular expressions), change line endings and much more. In total there are over 30 different filters that you can use within PTHPasteboard PRO.
Why? Sometimes what you copy is in a completely different text format from where it’s going to be pasted, yet once pasted, it retains the old format. The Pro version gives you options and multiple user capability.
Since the basic version is free, it’s easy to install, though changing your cut/copy paste routine takes a little getting used to. Is it worth the effort. Yes. A thousand times yes.
Not only can you save time, keystrokes, mouse clicks, your bacon can get saved, too. Have you ever accidentally cut something only to realize two or three pastes later that you really needed what’s now gone forever?
Some Mac applications have multiple undo. That’s handy. But they usually go only forward or backward, making changes in the sequence or reverse sequence. PTH Pasteboard makes that an antiquated method by giving you a list of what’s been cut/copied.
Scroll through hundreds and hundreds of items, or, use a Spotlight-like search. Old habits are hard to break. This is a new habit that’s hard to ignore.