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I am often copying and pasting various tidbits of information, and then forgetting to save it. I would copy something else and lose what I had in the clipboard before.

Is there some sort of built-in way to view the history of the clipboard, or do I have to install a program? If so, what program?

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I've tried a few 3rd-party programs, but actually found none that clears its history based on time rather than based on some number of entries. I don't want my Mac to remember the last xx copy actions, but want it to remember the last xx minutes. (Or, even if the number of entries is limited: at least remove the history after some time.) –  Arjan Aug 2 '09 at 12:26
@Arjan - sounds like you should write that app. –  Darren Newton Aug 3 '09 at 12:12

9 Answers 9

up vote 23 down vote accepted

There's a multitude of applications that do this, but no built-in one.

alt text

Clyppan, a simple application for clipboard history.

  1. Clyppan
    • Used to be open source, but is now closed source and available in the Mac App Store (for approx. £2)
    • Simple
  2. Jumpcut
    • Open source and free
    • Even simpler
  3. Flycut (Mac App Store link)
    • A fork of Jumpcut with a few added features
    • Free in the Mac App Store
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This may not be a requirement for everyone, but neither Clyppan nor Jumpcut have some time-limited history. (I just opened Clyppan after not using it for some time, and it gave me my history of May 24th...) –  Arjan Aug 2 '09 at 12:59
Clyppan is now proprietary... –  thSoft Aug 4 '11 at 23:29
Flycut is awesome! –  Dolphin Jul 24 '14 at 11:37

I wrote CmdVees to scratch my own itch.

It works like a stack. You can copy several items in sequence (like any clipboard manager) but when you hit Cmd-v, the pasted item is removed from the stack. LIFO.

It may sounds weird, I guess it depends on how your brain works. For me is very natural. There is also queue mode, FIFO, for the other brain model.

Also, it splits entries in history by time, hiding older items in a submenu:

enter image description here

To be honest I don't use the menu more than once in a while.

It has other goodies like joining items or swap top of the stack with selection.

It's a commercial app but feel free to ask me for a license if you fall in love with the trial and you can't afford it.

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A stack is not FIFO. –  Nicolas Barbulesco Oct 20 '13 at 8:53
This supports LIFO and FIFO –  circuitry Jun 18 '14 at 19:25


Supports at least 2,000 items in the history. (I've tried even more, though it does start to slow down at some point; a function of both the maximum number and the maximum size per entry, I expect.)

This is extremely handy when you're constantly jumping between a whole bunch of different systems, and those shorter histories (in other apps) just keep rotating around and losing stuff.

BTW: Another feature is that you can select to promote an item up to the top of the history, when pasting that item - keep important stuff from dropping off the bottom.

And it supports multiple pastebuffers, processing of text (such as pasting unformatted, or all upper / lower case), searching the history, etc. - lots of features.

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The link gives a Peugeot 404. –  Nicolas Barbulesco Feb 22 at 8:03

The perennial answer to OS X questions: Quicksilver

enter image description here

See these Quicksilver clipboard tutorials:

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this is amazing! –  Pierre Spring Aug 22 '09 at 14:36
+1 So hard to explain QS, impossible to live without it –  trolle3000 May 25 '10 at 12:44
Both the QS Shelf and Clipboard managers have been broken since Leopard came out. They will open continuously and annoyingly until you shut them off. –  Brandon Sep 25 '11 at 20:35
I don't know about Leopard, but on Mountain Lion Clipboard History works without a problem. –  user664833 Oct 14 '12 at 18:50
I find that any time I have the QS clipboard plugin enabled that almost every QS action becomes unbearably slow. –  wfaulk Dec 10 '14 at 18:03

I've tried them all and the best experience and best ongoing support has been from LaunchBar.

Best feature: 40-item clipboard history. It makes writing code so much easier.

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Alfred's Powerpack let's you view your clipboard history for up to three months! It's not free but well worth it as it is a launcher (among other things) which is actively under development.

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I find ClipboardHistory really useful, having previously used Jumpcut. Deals well with various data types/formats, but can't be time-limited as far as I can see. Also has a horrible icon, so set it to menu bar only. It's $2.99 in the App Store.

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The best I've found is Alfred, which has a phenomenal clipboard history functionality as part of its ($15) Powerpack. Among its features:

  1. Clearing history by time (e.g. 'keep only 7 days')
  2. Ignore apps (so text copied from Keychain, 1password, etc. isn't saved to the history)
  3. Snippets (for commonly pasted text)
  4. Clipboard merging (merge the current clipboard item with the previous)
  5. Max clipboard size (up to 'unlimited')

I bought it for other reasons, but I use the clipboard history every few minutes throughout my day, so for $15 it was a pretty big win.

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I realise that the question has been answered, but here is another recommendation for a clipboard history manager:


Menubar item:

alt text

Hovering menu (hotkey):

alt text

Apart from the menubar and floating window, it also has customisable 'actions' that allow you to manipulate text as you paste it (e.g., uppercase everything), and support for snippets to hold commonly pasted text.

In my experiences it is easily the best of the simple clipboard managers.

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This is a good one. –  ybakos Dec 21 '10 at 17:46
I like that this one seems to handle images, and show them inline in the history too. –  bacar Aug 20 '11 at 14:02
Its simple and free. –  Mark Levison Nov 18 '11 at 2:54
I'm also a fan of ClipMenu. I have Command+Shift+V bound to bring up the menu. –  Robert Dyson May 22 '12 at 19:24
Simple ? Are you kidding ? –  Nicolas Barbulesco Oct 20 '13 at 8:40

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