9 Crafty Clipboard Utilities for Mac

How often have you copied something to the clipboard, only to accidentally overwrite it by copying something else before pasting it? No doubt this has happened too often, and it’s time to find a way of avoiding this accident waiting to happen.

This roundup will have a look at 9 different clipboard utilities for OS X that let you manage your clipboard and hold more than one item at a time. Have a read through, and see if you can find a clipboard utility that suits you.




ClipMenu is a wonderful and free clipboard manager. At first glance, it looks like nothing more than an icon in the menu bar which keeps hold of the last x items you copied. However, upon delving deeper, it turns out to be so much more.

With a huge set of settings built in to its preferences, ClipMenu can perform actions on items, such as capitalizing text. There is also a snippets menu, where you can store bits of information you may access regularly.

Price: Free
Developer: Naotaka Morimoto
Requires: Mac OS X 10.5 or later




Clips is great, feature rich clipboard app.  It is different to others in that it acts almost like the Dashboard.  You can set up a hot corner or shortcut to show the Clips board over everything else, with great thumbnails of all your clippings.

You can change how your clips are arranged across the screen, and a live search is included. Clips also includes sharing across computers on the same network which can be very useful.

Price: €19.99 (approx $27 US)
Developer: Conceited Software
Requires: Mac OS X 10.5 or later

Shadow Clipboard

Shadow Clipboard

Shadow Clipboard

Shadow Clipboard is another fairly full featured app. It is interesting however in that it comes in both a ‘Simple’ and an ‘Advanced’ mode. In Simple mode, the interface is a pleasant transparent black display with thumbnails of all your clips, however for some reason images don’t seem to display, even in the enlarged preview.

In Advanced mode, Shadow Clipboard turns into a less attractive windowed display with more info on each clipping. This app also supports bonjour sharing, meaning you if you copy on one computer, you can paste on another!

Price: $15
Developer: StupidFish Programming
Requires: Mac OS X 10.4 or later




They don’t come much simpler than JumpCut, but perhaps this is all you need. JumpCut resides in the menubar with your clipboard history at the ready. There is also a floating bezel which you can use, however it’s not as useful as found in other applications. Unfortunately, JumpCut only allows you copy text, but it is free and works fine.

Price: Free
Developer: Snarkout
Requires: Mac OS X 10.5 or later

CopyPaste Pro

CopyPaste Pro

CopyPaste Pro

CopyPaste Pro surprised me quite a bit. Upon first opening, it seemed rather ugly and basic. However upon delving deeper, I’ve been very impressed. Displayed as a small, floating clipboard icon in the corner of your screen, hovering over these reveals the contents of your clipboard history. There is also clip archive for permanently storing files. These icons can be turned off though, and CopyPaste can be used as a menu bar app.

A clever feature of CopyPaste is that if you press ‘Command +VV (double V)’ then a transparent clip browser is revealed on screen with previews of all your latest clips ready to be pasted. There are also plenty of very cool tools in this app, such as the ability to instantly shorten URLs, insert timestamps, and capitalize text.

Price: $30
Developer: Script Software
Requires: Mac OS X 10.4 or later




This clipboard utility resides as a shelf at the edge of your screen which pulls out to reveal your clipboard history. It’s quite simple, storing just about any file type.

iClipboard also has a beautifully large preview area for images and text clippings which most other apps miss. It does however, seem a little bit buggy when showing thumbnails for images, and once stopped recording the clipboard for me despite not pressing anything.

Price: $24.99
Developer: Chronos
Requires: Mac OS X 10.5.5 or later




This clipboard utility appears to be very good, however it has acted up a bit for me. It can store all of your saved files into a transparent window accessed from the menu bar, and includes a great sharing feature for copying and pasting between multiple computers which feels well executed. There is also the ability to create multiple clipboards and even to password protect them.

Price: £14.99 (approx. $23 US)
Developer: The Escapers
Requires: Mac OS X 10.5 or later




Clyppan is an open source app which holds your latest clippings, but only text based ones. It supports Quick Look and has a great search function, but lacks a way to quickly paste specific clippings on to the computer; you have to actually double click the clipping, and then select a text field where you can ‘Command + V’ it in. Most apps allow a double click to instantly paste the selection. Still, its free and does the trick.

Price: Free
Developer: Ole Morten Halvorsen
Requires: Mac OS X 10.5.6 or later




A great feature packed into LaunchBar is the ability to keep track of your clipboard, and hold as many copied items in there as you need. These can be accessed instantly via a keyboard shortcut, and can split up different lines of text.

A rather interesting feature of this is that if you copy something, a line of text for instance, and then select some more text but this time press ‘Command + C’ twice, the new text will be merged with the previously copied text.

Price: €24 (approx. $33 US)
Developer: Objective Development
Requires: Mac OS X 10.4 or later


Hopefully something above will be suited for you. My personal favourite is the free ClipMenu for its simplicity and power, followed closely by Clips which packs a few more great features such as sharing.

Have a play with some of these, see what suits you and let us know in the comments. Which one is your pick, or have we missed your favorite?


Add Yours
  • All these apps look just ‘meh…’ when compared to PasteBot

  • PTH Pasteboard is my favourite – it doesn’t look nice but I keep coming back to it after trying out many of the above.

    • but it’s not free anymore, right?

  • Wow. Never heard of any of these. I have to look into these. This will come in handy. Thanks!

  • Wouldn’t it be best to use the Clipboard Utility that Quicksilver has? Well, that’s IF you have Quicksilver installed.

  • Here’s one you forgot: http://www.wonderwarp.com/shovebox

  • I second Stefanos. I’ve been searching for this kind of tool, and tried several. At the end, I found that Quicksilver Clipboard plugin is very practical and perfect for my needs.

    Of course, that assumes you are already using Quicksilver. But I think, if you are not, then you should give it a try ;)

    So I recommend it ! And on top of all, it’s free…

  • I was completely addicted to JumpCut until today. ClipMenu is an amazing find, thanks so much!

    • I’m in the same boat. Jumpcut is extremely useful, but does leave a bit to be desired in terms of functionality. Not to mention, the menu bar icon is not great. Excited to give ClipMenu a try.

    • Yeah I was a big JumpCut fan until I tried ClipMenu. Seems I already had it installed but must have never dove into it. Lots of great features, but still relatively minimalist. Good stuff!

    • I have been using JumpCut for awhile now and it certainly does the job.

      But, maybe I should give ClipMenu a run.

      Good stuff!

  • I like both CuteClips and TinyGrab.

  • Well if you’re looking for something easy and simple that will do the job and uses little system resources check out “my Clippings”: http://myownapp.com/applications/myclippings/myclippings.html

  • I use Stuf regularly. Fantasic App.

  • JumpCut is great but now I’ll be trying ClipMenu. Thanks for this.

  • I just start using MyClippings. Is cheap and easy. Look – http://createlivelove.com/applications/myclippings/myclippings.html

  • No one mentioned Keyboard Maestro – http://keyboardmaestro.com/ and its Clipboard with many features (remove styles, trim whitespaces, encoding entities, change case and more)

  • +1 for PTH Pasteboard – I’ve tried a lot of clipboard utilities for Mac OS and Windows. I currently have QuickSilver and PTH Pasteboard running, but never use QS’s clipboard anymore.

    Better yet, TextExpander (from SmileOnMyMac) is a much better solution than QS’s “Shelf” and/or PTH Pasteboard’s “Every Day” items. QS + TextExpander + PTH Pastboard is the ultimate tool set.

    On the PC side, my favorite is/was M8 Multi Clipboard

  • I use Google’s Quick Search Box built-in Clipboard management plugin. I tried a couple of the apps listed in the post, imho they’re memory hobs and they add bloat to my computer. Completely unecessary…

  • I’ve used iClip for many years with no problems. I like the large previews, and the ability to have “shelfs” of saved clippings for images and text.

  • Thanks for all the comments! As Vladimir pointed out, Keyboard Maestro looks like another great option. Peter N Lewis, the developer of this application kindly sent me a copy of the app to try out, and it is certainly one to check out before finalizing your choice.

    It is actually a full featured keyboard shortcut automation application, but boasts a great clipboard history manager with a nice transparent windowed interface activated via keyboard shortcut. This includes multiple clipboard support and clipboard filtering. – http://www.keyboardmaestro.com

  • good review. I’ve been using PTH Pasteboard Pro for awhile now and it’s a nice app but it doesn’t allow me to name my clippings, and I need that. For example, if I have links for 3 books at amazon.com, I need to be able to label them so I can see which is which. PTH doesn’t allow me to do that and the developer has no plans to add that functionality.

    Clips is a great app except it consumes an ABSURD amount of memory. After installing it, within an hour it was consuming over 500 meg of real memory!

    CopyPaste Pro does what I need but is just horribly designed. It takes a ridiculous amount of clicks to get where I want to go with that app.

    For now, demoing iClipboard and it’s working very well and has been consuming less than 30 meg of RAM since being installed.

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  • Clips is just a major memory hog it’s very nice but I don’t want a background app like that eating up nearly 300mbs of memory while doing virtually nothing…..Just switched to ClipMenu and its freaking amazing. I love being able to run it with no icons anywhere just Control Space to pull it up right on my cursor to input a snippet. Fantastic!

  • It takes a ridiculous amount of clicks to get where I want to go with that app.

  • My favorite is Quokka (http://www.mr-fridge.de/software/quokka/). It fits perfect for my daily programming work and it doesn’t need much memory.

  • These look like great apps. Any one know of one that will allow me to copy something in my account on mac and then paste on another account when I switch over? Something like a global, system clipboard? That’s really what I’m looking for.

  • Do any of these programs have an easy way to add only selected item copied to be added to the clipboard; perhaps a keyboard shortcut? And do any paste the clip into a document when the item is clicked in the clipboard?

    • CopyPaste does both of those. I have also tried many of these and always come back to CopyPaste. It has some quirks but has so many features I use that I always come back to it. Its simple, uses hardly any memory or cpu and just sits in the background. Anyone who does not have a clipboard tool running all the time is missing out.

  • iClipboard is just too buggy. That’s why I’m looking at this article. I’m shopping for something to replace it.

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  • Do you guys prefer one of these over having notes or something?

  • have you heard about clipboard for mac?

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  • Clyppan is cheap, but it is no longer free. Euro1.99

  • It’s amazing how very few or mostly no reviews mention how Clip Menu’s functionality can be added to using simple javascript funtions which are a plentiful. Functions/actions like remove spaces, really just trim. Many other useless functions that need little tweaking to become powerful based on individual needs. This program is way too powerful for free. I would pay for it and i’m cheap so that say something.

  • I will stay with Jumpcut

  • none of them is better than iClipboard from http://chronosnet.com