Review: Paste, a simple, effective and pretty clipboard manager for the Mac (70% off)

paste

You know how it goes: you copy a link, or a piece of text, intending to paste it – then you get distracted and copy something else before you get the chance. You then have to find and copy the first item again. A clipboard manager solves this problem by saving a history of the items you copy, letting you paste in any one of them later.

There are plenty of clipboard managers around (a quick search of the Mac App Store found 34 of them), and you might think that when you’ve seen one, you’ve seen ’em all. But where Paste stands out is in using a colorful interface with large previews, intended to make it easy to identify the item you want to paste. I’ve been trying it out for the past few days … 

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Once installed, Paste automatically adds anything you copy to its clipboard history. You can then access that history either from the Paste icon in the menu bar, or by your own choice of keyboard shortcut. I have it set to Shift-CMD-V, simply holding down the shift key while doing a normal paste.

Preferences offer a few other options, the main one of which is to set the history capacity – which defaults to 100 items. The minimum is 10, and the maximum is ‘unlimited.’

prefs

Paste appears security-conscious: by default, it doesn’t store anything copied from Keychain Access, and it recognized that I have the LastPass password manager installed and automatically excluded that too. You can manually add additional apps to the exclusions list.

exclude

Once you have your preferences set, using it couldn’t be easier. Hit your keyboard shortcut and it opens a screen with a huge preview of the most-recently copied item, together with large, scrollable previews of earlier items. As you’d expect, double-finger swiping is used to scroll the list.

paste-main

Each item is color-coded by app, with the app icon used to help identify it. This makes it really easy to visually identify the item you want. It also shows large thumbnails of photos.

If you want to go further back in time, searching is quicker than scrolling. You can click the search icon top left, but you don’t need to: you can simply start typing and the search-box appears.

paste-search

You can also search on terms like ‘photo’ and ‘video.’ In this case, Paste will show items that contain that text, but also show those file types.

Once you’ve found the item you want, simply double-click it and it’s copied back into your clipboard ready for a standard paste. There’s also a Direct Paste option, that pastes into the foreground app. That requires a helper app to get around sandboxing issues (apps in the Mac App Store are not allowed to communicate with other apps), which you are prompted to download if you switch on the option. I chose not to.

Finally, you can right-click on an item to open up a Share menu.

paste-sharing

Conclusions

I’ve adopted it as my standard clipboard manager. The visual nature of the app makes it really quick to identify the item you want to paste, and looks attractive into the bargain. When delving further back into your clipboard history, the ability to simply start typing your search term makes it really quick to use.

At its standard price of $9.99, it feels a little steep for such simple functionality, but for the sale price of $2.99, I’d say it’s a no-brainer.

Paste is currently on sale for Independence Day for $2.99 from the Mac App Store.

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Comments

  1. Colby Landwehr - 8 years ago

    This looks great. I am always doing this. Downloading now.

  2. telecastle - 8 years ago

    This should have been part of both OS X and Windows for at least a decade now. Sometimes I wonder what it is that thousands of software engineers at Apple are working on day in and day out.

    • Gregory Wright - 8 years ago

      I’d say Apple engineers are doing a fantastic job. Look at this way – what you can’t find in OS X or IOS you can find it in the Apple developer community. More jobs and income for others. By the way. iClipboard in the App Store does the same thing.

      • JP Dunn - 8 years ago

        Yeah, but iClipboard is $29.99.

    • crichton007 - 8 years ago

      As someone who works for a software company (not Apple, not even one in California) there are lots of things that software can do but it’s not all going to happen and I think that is most especially the case at Apple.

      A shop as big as Apple has probably already prototyped something like this and not found a way to make it work like they want yet. That’s why an app store is so valuable.

    • Will (@CaffeinatedNoms) - 8 years ago

      Technically, they have. Clipboard Viewer is bundled with XCode, so admittedly it’s not immediately obvious especially to an end user who has no desire of downloading XCode.

      And Windows *had* this feature, and then *removed* it. ClipBook Viewer was included with Windows for Workgroups and – according to Wikipedia – remained a part of the OS until Windows 2000.

  3. rwanderman - 8 years ago

    Thanks for the recommendation. Bought it, installed it and so far it seems great. Thanks again.

  4. Jose Crosa - 8 years ago

    This looks really nice if all you need it for is the clipboard. I prefer Unclutter personally, since it includes a notes section and a place to store files. $5.

    • stewartwilliamh - 8 years ago

      Unclutter has been my go to program for years now, and it really accomplishes its goal of uncluttering the desktop. This is a beautiful clipboard manager though, and for $3 I’m going to try it out.

    • what is PLOTH - 8 years ago

      Thank you – will check out unclutter now….

      I’ve been looking for a replacement for Automaton which did this task perfectly (as well as 3 other tasks – advanced notes, auto-typing and auto-filing) for a while now…

      Paste looks to be nearly as good in this one area, though the price leads me to believe that I will regret a Paste purchase later.

    • Thanks, Jose!
      Unclutter Clipboard really does the job. Additionaly you get a File strorage and Quick Notes.
      BTW, we are on sale right now (40% OFF). So it is just $2.99.

  5. Because of this article I purchased this Paste app today. I’m already so, so happy! I didn’t realize how much I needed something like this. One of my favorite parts of this app is the option “paste without styles” (before my clunky method for this was to copy, open TextEdit, paste, convert all to plain text, copy, paste to target…).

    One obvious missing peace of the puzzle (imo) is a companion iOS app with iCloud sync of the clipboard… If they launch something like that, I’ll buy it in a heartbeat.

  6. what is PLOTH - 8 years ago

    Au$9 on a 70% off sale?! Wow.

  7. Johnny Slapstick - 8 years ago

    ClipMenu, even though older, still works fine and is absolutely free. It also takes up far less screen space, making it easier to use. Also has the ability to store snippets and paste as plain text. I highly recommend it.

    • Ben Lovejoy - 8 years ago

      Just to clarify, Paste uses no screen space: an icon sits in the menubar (if you want it to), and can also paste as plain text.

Author

Avatar for Ben Lovejoy Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!


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