This Week's Sponsor:

Whisper Memos

Turn Your Ramblings into Paragraphed Articles, Sent Right to Your Email

Paste: The Clipboard Management Utility Gets An Elegant New Design on the Mac

Paste feels like the kind of clipboard manager Apple might make, especially version 4.0, which was released today. The focus of today’s update is the design of the Mac version app, but it’s also available on the iPhone and iPad. However, it’s the design of the Mac app that makes Paste feel so Apple-like and sets it apart from the myriad other clipboard managers that are available.

At its core, Paste does what a lot of clipboard managers do. The app keeps track of everything you’ve copied, unless you specify an app’s content that you don’t want to copy. That clipboard history can be as short as one day or as long as a year. There’s even an option for recording an unlimited history. However, as the app warns, that option has the potential to use a significant amount of storage.

To access Paste’s clipboard history, you can click on the app’s menu bar icon, use a launcher app like Raycast, or a keyboard shortcut. The default keyboard shortcut is ⌘⇧V, a variation of the system-wide Paste command, which makes it easy to remember.

When Paste is activated, it slides up from the bottom of your Mac’s screen, dominated by a strip of clipboard items that can be scrolled horizontally. This is the part of Paste that I love and where you’ll find one of the biggest changes to version 4.0.

Searching for App Store URLs.

Searching for App Store URLs.

Each clipboard item is depicted as a square card with a header that includes an editable title, the date it was copied, and the icon of the app from which it was copied when viewed using the app’s largest UI option. The main body of the card displays the copied content. For me, that’s often text, but it can include a preview of an image or video, a rich preview of a URL, and more. At the bottom of the card is more information about the item, like a title and URL for links and the character count for text. To find an item in your clipboard history, you can scroll the strip of items or use the app’s search field, which searches the contents of your history and associated metadata.

Paste's large-sized clipboard cards on a Studio Display.

Paste’s large-sized clipboard cards on a Studio Display.

Paste's small-sized clipboard cards on a Studio Display.

Paste’s small-sized clipboard cards on a Studio Display.

What’s new about Paste’s strip UI is that it’s now resizable. This makes a big difference on smaller laptop screens. At its largest, Paste’s UI dominates more than a third of my M1 MacBook Air’s screen and shows only four items, which is about half of what fits on a Studio Display using the same size UI. Drag the top edge of the strip down, though, and you can resize Paste’s strip substantially, so the eight most recent items are visible. It’s a big improvement that allows the app to scale gracefully from the smallest to largest Mac screens.

Paste's keyboard shortcuts settings screen.

Paste’s keyboard shortcuts settings screen.

Version 4.0 introduces other design refinements throughout the app and includes an updated color scheme that works better in light and dark modes. The app also features more keyboard shortcuts than before, allowing users to access virtually every feature from the keyboard whether you’re renaming, editing, copying, or doing something else with a clipboard item.

Paste's pinboards are collections of saved clipboard items.

Paste’s pinboards are collections of saved clipboard items.

As with earlier versions, Paste 4.0 offers pinboards, which are collections of saved clipboard items that are user defined. There’s no set rule on what you can do with pinboards. I’ve used them to store snippets of text, PDFs I email to people regularly, and podcast artwork that I also need to access frequently. Skipping between pinboards can be accomplished with a keyboard shortcut, and each is represented by its own user-definable name color that makes identifying the source of search results easy.

Another handy feature if you need to copy items from multiple sources and paste them in a specific order is the Paste Stack. It’s activated by default using ⌘⇧C, which opens a small window on your screen. Once that window is open, every time you copy something using ⌘C, it will be added to the Paste Stack. When you’re ready to paste what you’ve collected in a destination app, use ⌘⇧V, which pastes everything in the Paste Stack in the order you see in its window. I don’t use this feature a lot, but it can be useful as a sort of temporary pinboard for some tasks.

Paste's Shortcuts actions.

Paste’s Shortcuts actions.

I should also mention that Paste features three Shortcuts actions: Add Item, Get Latest Item, and Get Item at Index. The first two actions are self explanatory. The most interesting is the third action that lets you grab an item from one of your pinboards based on its position in the pinboard, allowing Paste to be used as a reusable data store for Shortcuts.

Paste for iPad.

Paste for iPad.

In addition to the Mac app, Paste also offers iPhone and iPad apps, which have not been updated today. iOS and iPadOS impose some limits on Paste that you won’t find on the Mac, but the app makes it easy to get data into those versions via the share sheet and clipboard. Also, because everything syncs via iCloud, your clipboard history and pinboards will be available everywhere, which makes moving between devices a breeze. The iOS and iPadOS apps include widgets and a dedicated keyboard for accessing your clipboard history and pinboars too.

My sense from readers is that clipboard managers are the type of app that most people pick, learn, and never reevaluate. I’ve ben guilty of the same thing. Once you start using a clipboard manager, you probably use it a lot. It becomes second nature. The app’s keyboard shortcuts are pressed by your fingers without thought. That makes switching hard, but like most rich app categories, clipboard managers reward experimentation. That’s why if you haven’t tried Paste before, I’d encourage you to give it a try. The combination of thoughtful design and a keyboard-driven visual approach to clipboard management is extremely well done, and I’m sure would appeal to a lot of people.

Paste is available on the App Store for $1.99/month or $14.99/year for individuals and $19.99/year for families. The app is also available as part of a Setapp subscription.

Unlock More with Club MacStories

Founded in 2015, Club MacStories has delivered exclusive content every week for over six years.

In that time, members have enjoyed nearly 400 weekly and monthly newsletters packed with more of your favorite MacStories writing as well as Club-only podcasts, eBooks, discounts on apps, icons, and services. Join today, and you’ll get everything new that we publish every week, plus access to our entire archive of back issues and downloadable perks.

The Club expanded in 2021 with Club MacStories+ and Club Premier. Club MacStories+ members enjoy even more exclusive stories, a vibrant Discord community, a rotating roster of app discounts, and more. And, with Club Premier, you get everything we offer at every Club level plus an extended, ad-free version of our podcast AppStories that is delivered early each week in high-bitrate audio.

Choose the Club plan that’s right for you:

  • Club MacStories: Weekly and monthly newsletters via email and the web that are brimming with app collections, tips, automation workflows, longform writing, a Club-only podcast, periodic giveaways, and more;
  • Club MacStories+: Everything that Club MacStories offers, plus exclusive content like Federico’s Automation Academy and John’s Macintosh Desktop Experience, a powerful web app for searching and exploring over 6 years of content and creating custom RSS feeds of Club content, an active Discord community, and a rotating collection of discounts, and more;
  • Club Premier: Everything in from our other plans and AppStories+, an extended version of our flagship podcast that’s delivered early, ad-free, and in high-bitrate audio.