Basic cut and paste gets the job done, but if you're going for speed and efficiency, you'll need a clipboard manger to keep your copy-fu strong. Let's take a closer look at five of the most popular clipboard managers.
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Just because something is small and usually hidden from the end user doesn't mean it isn't ripe for tinkering and improvement. Increase your efficiency and cut down on the time you spend hunting for snippets of text with one of these great clipboard managers.
ClipX (Windows, Freeware)
By itself ClipX is a great clipboard manager capable of going portable with a simple command line argument. You can assign hotkeys to primary and secondary pastes off your clipboard log, but you can't assign a hotkey to a specific phrase. ClipX supports both text and image cutting and pasting. There are around half a dozen plugins for ClipX that provide additional functionality like clipboard search, a colour picker that automatically dumps the colour values into your clipboard, and a plugin that adds sticky clipboard entries you want to keep close at hand.
CLCL (Windows, Freeware)
If you've looked over some of the other clipboard managers in today's Hive Five and found them a bit overpowered for your needs, take a look at CLCL. It's an excellent compromise between the inadequate default clipboard and the advanced every-bell-and-whistle clipboard managers. CLCL allows you to access your clipboard history with a simple press of ALT+C or from the icon in the system tray. Frequently-used clippings can be saved to the Templates category, and you can customise the paste hotkey based on the program you're using to avoid conflicts and specify windows to ignore. Beyond that CLCL doesn't have a whole lot more functionality, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. It stores the clippings you want, retrieves them with a simple keystroke-summoned menu, and is light on your system resources.
ClipMate (Windows, $US34.95)
ClipMate has, out of the five clipboard managers featured here, the most ways for you to interact with your collection of clippings. The Classic view gives you a toolbar with drop down options, the Explorer view—seen here—is the master management panel where you can group and edit your clippings, and finally the ClipBar integrates right into the Windows Task Bar to provide a quick access list to your frequently and most recently used clippings. ClipMate features encryption if you need to keep your clippings secure when not in use, advanced paste that supports structured data like tabs and delineation, and even in a built-in screen-capture tool with selective capture. ClipMate is the only non-freeware entry in this week's Hive Five. A licence lets you use ClipMate on two computers plus a portable installation, which would easily cover a single user with a desktop/laptop/thumb drive setup.
ArsClip (Windows, Freeware)
ArsClip is a lightweight and portable. It supports and stores pictures, formatted text, Unicode and HTML. You can edit your clippings to include key stroke emulation to paste text into forms and other complex arrangements. ArsClip also supports switching between groups based on the program. If you only use a certain set of clippings while editing your blog, for instance, you can set them to only appear when you're active in Firefox. In addition to support for images, ArsClip also supports files, allowing you to store frequently used/pasted files right in ArsClip.
Ditto (Windows, Freeware)
Ditto is a portable clipboard manager with a hefty feature list. Not only does Ditto support plain text, but it can also copy formatting and even images. You can search your stored text clippings and synchronise multiple copies of Ditto together to update your clippings across computers. Ditto has full unicode support, so you can paste foreign and non-standard characters without a problem. You can group together your clippings to keep things organized by task or project, as well as assign hotkeys to frequently used clippings. On top of the user-defined hotkeys, Ditto sports over a dozen built-in hotkeys for entering, searching, and retrieving your clippings.
ever used a clipboard manager before? Inspired to try one because of this list? Shocked your favourite didn't make the cut? Sound off in the comments.