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Six Colors

by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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By Dan Moren

Applications Folder: Pastebot

The clipboard has been around since the earliest days of the classic Mac OS, but it’s always been more or less limited in one feature: it holds only a single item at a time. There’s a benefit to the simplicity of that approach, but for many power users, it just doesn’t go far enough. That’s just one reason I use Tapbots’s Pastebot for Mac.

If all you want is to be able to have a history of your clipboard items or copy and paste multiple items, there are plenty of utilities that serve the purpose. But Pastebot has a ton more going for it. I particularly love its Sequential Paste feature, where you can summon a temporary queue of items to add to, and then paste them in the order that you put items in. I use this pretty frequently not only for copying and pasting podcast episode info into the Six Colors CMS, but also for address info for the custom bookplates I send out.

But that’s only scratching the surface of Pastebot’s features, the most powerful of which is its filters. The app can take text on the clipboard and transform it behind the scenes, letting you just paste the end result. So, for example, if you had unformatted text that you wanted to convert to an HTML tagged list, it can do that. But you can get much more complex: for example, it’s possible to add a shell script as a filter, so I dumped in John Gruber’s Markdown perl script, which means that Markdown text I copy—say even this column, for example—I can just immediately paste as HTML, without having to do anything extra. It’s pretty darn powerful, and you can not only add your own filters, but also import filters exported by other Pastebot users.

Pastebot also has a slew of other handy features, like iCloud sync between your computers, configurable keyboard shortcuts, and custom snippets. You can also search through your pasteboard history, blacklist apps from having pasteboard access, and configure the window to behave the way you want it. At $10, you may be able to find a clipboard manager for cheaper, but it’s hard to find one that gives you quite this much bang for your buck.

[Dan Moren is the East Coast Bureau Chief of Six Colors. You can find him on Twitter at @dmoren or reach him by email at dan@sixcolors.com. His latest novel, The Nova Incident, comes out in July and is available to pre-order now, so do it!]

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