Mac Gems: CuteClips gives you more Clipboards

Dan Frakes
18 May, 2009
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Ever since I covered Jumpcut and PopCopy back in 2006, I’ve been a huge fan of well-designed multiple-Clipboard utilities. These programs store multiple recent contents of the Clipboard, letting you quickly access those past contents for pasting. Besides increasing productivity, they also save you from situations where you’ve copied or cut text, meaning to paste it elsewhere, but then absentmindedly copied something else, losing the previous content.

There are scores of these utilities out there. What separates the good ones from the rest—and what finally got me using one—is good design. For me, Jumpcut is just about perfect, thanks to a great interface that’s usable via both the keyboard and the mouse. But another one I’ve been liking a lot recently is Karsten Kusche’s CuteClips.

Like Jumpcut, CuteClips sits in the background, storing recent contents of the Clipboard. When you want to access any of those contents, you bring up CuteClips’s translucent display via a menu-bar icon or by pressing a keyboard shortcut (Shift-Command-v, by default). Move your mouse cursor over the list of clips to see a large preview of each in the preview area; keyboard-lovers can use the arrow keys to view the same previews. Click on a clip, or press return, to paste it into the current document. A thoughtful touch is that CuteClips defaults to selecting the second-most-recent Clipboard content; after all, if you want to paste the most-recent content, you can use the standard Paste command. (You can disable this option if you prefer.)

What makes CuteClips so interesting, besides its large preview area, are its unique extras. For example, you can easily delete any clip from the list. Alternatively, if you right-click on a clip, you can make it “sticky” so it remains in the list until you manually “unsticky” or delete it. (You can also rename sticky clips for clarity.) You can even assign numeric shortcuts (1 through 9) to clips for faster access; this is especially handy for sticky clips.

By default, CuteClips tracks the most-recent 12 Clipboard contents, although you can increase this number by simply enlarging the CuteClips window—a rather ingenious approach. Also clever is that CuteClips’s multiple Clipboards come populated with tutorial text, so the first time you launch the utility, you can learn how to use its features by simply browsing those clips.

CuteClips supports both formatted text and images; when you preview a clip containing an image, you see not only the entire image, but also the image’s dimensions. And if you prefer to work with plain text, you can choose to paste the plain-text version of text, making CuteClips a quick way to strip text formatting).

On the other hand, because you set the number of Clipboards by resizing the CuteClips window, that number is limited by the size of your screen. CuteClips doesn’t support files, so you can’t copy and paste multiple files in the Finder. And text in the preview area is black type on a gray background, which can be a bit difficult to read. Finally, I occasionally experienced minor glitches where the interface was slow to react. But overall, CuteClips is a winner, especially for people who want the benefits of multiple Clipboards in an easy-to-use package.

OS compatibility 10.5 (Leopard)
Price as rated $US15 ($A20)
Company Karsten Kusche
Rating 3.5
Product CuteClips 2.0.6
Processor compatibility Universal

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