Collective Remembers Everything You’ve Put in Your Clipboard

I copy and paste a lot of text in my average day. The problem with that is I often override what I’ve already copied because I forget to paste it somewhere. When this happens, I sometimes find myself without the letter I wrote to a friend or even a password I had just created. I then have to go back to the source and write up everything again.

Operating systems should have a safeguard for such matters, but they don’t, so the folks over at Generation Loss Interactive took it into their own hands to create Collective, a great little app that holds your clipboard history.

Quick Access with Shortcuts

Collective has no setup process. It just tells you what you need to know and leaves you to using your computer just like you normally would. Except this time you won’t be losing things every time you use your clipboard: everything is still there. I’m glad it wasn’t hard to start using Collective. The app just sits in my menu bar and is accessible with two clicks or Command + Shift + V.

Being able to access a tool like this quickly is essential. Clicking its menu bar icon and then another button to launch it is not exactly what I had in mind as quick, but the shortcut does help balance things. As I used the app I noticed that it could benefit from having the menu bar as its host rather than being a standalone window. Either that or clicking the menu bar icon launches it immediately. Either of these methods would be far more productive in the long run since there are many who prefer to click rather than tap keys.

You can add anything to your clipboard history by dragging it into the app.

For daily use, the three-key shortcut works fine. It might take a while to get used to, but I eventually discovered that using the right Command and Shift keys combined with my left index finger on the V works best. If you’re not a big fan of this shortcut and prefer to have your own, you can configure one in the app’s preferences. It’s good to see that the developers give users that choice, because not everyone has the same habits.

Simple Interface with Fluid Transitions

The coolest feature in Collective are its transitions when you open and close it. It sort of pops up in a 3D way and then fades back into the screen when you’re finished, almost like a bubble in water — without the inevitable pop. Some would argue that these transitions are unnecessary, but I think it’s nice when an app has character.

Collective's search results.

Collective’s search results.

Collective’s main interface is simple and straightforward. There’s an X to close it, a menu to show only copied text from certain apps, a search field, and a pin button to keep it open when the window is no longer active. You don’t really need much more than that. The search field is global so you can pretty much find anything with it.

A Few Options for Customization

The app automatically saves your clipboard when you restart your computer, but you can tweak some stuff to your liking. How many entries are saved, for example, can be changed from the default 200 to 1000 or down to 10. You can also permanently pin the app, start it automatically at login (useful), and change the number of lines the preview of each entry is.

Changing the font.

Changing the font.

Of course, my favorite option has been saved for last. Since some people love their fonts, the developer has included full Font Book support so you can use whatever vector you prefer. The nice thing is it changes all the text that you’ve copied to that font. Don’t worry, it will still be looking fine when you paste it again. You can even copy it as plain text by right clicking the entry.

It’s Nearly Perfect

Searching Spotify stuff.

Searching Spotify stuff.

Collective does an exceptional job of helping you with your daily clipboard activities. If you copy and paste a lot, it’s going to be the handiest thing you have in your menu bar. My only complaint is the way you open it with clicks. If it were one click away, the app would be perfect.


The finest in clipboard history on the Mac. I wanted to give this app 10 stars, but opening it with the mouse isn't quite as easy as it can be. Other than that, it's amazing.



Add Yours
  • >OS X 10.7 or later

    I guess I’ll be sticking with ClipMenu

  • I’ve been using iClipboard for so long that I don’t see myself using other clipboard utility no more.

  • The clipboard manager I use is CopyLess.

  • i think the new Alfred 2.0v is good enough.

    • Totally agree. I find it hard to justify purchasing another app when Alfred does a good job. One feature I personally like is is merging clipboard items. Very useful indeed.

  • For now, CopyLess is still the best clipboard manager. I know what I’m saying, ’cause I’ve tried them all. ;)

    CopyLess has some great features that Collective doesn’t have… I’m highlighting the 3 that are most useful to me:

    1 – App exclusion — ignore data from some apps.

    For excluding e.g. 1Password from putting our passwords in the clipboard history.

    This one is essential. Without this feature, I can’t use Collective.

    The other most useful ones are:

    2 – Paste up to 10 recent items, and 10 favorites, with user-defined keyboard shortcuts without opening the main window.

    3 – Serial-paste — Paste up to 10 items in the same order you’ve copied them.

    BTW, I’ve sent this to the author of Collective as well. :)

    • Hey Andre,

      Can’t speak for Collective but I can pretty much do that with Alfred too.

      For now, CopyLess is still the best clipboard manager. I know what I’m saying, ’cause I’ve tried them all. ;)
      CopyLess has some great features that Collective doesn’t have… I’m highlighting the 3 that are most useful to me:
      1 – App exclusion — Is possible and by default already has apps with sensitive data such as 1Password;
      2 – Paste 10 recent itens is easy enough, though you’ll have to open the window, but that’s quick. 10 Favourites is easy with snippets
      3 – Serial-paste — Same as above. Will have to open the window too.