There are two main methods how you can copy and paste text, documents, images, and other content across applications and web pages.
The Keyboard Method
The first method involves three very handy keyboard shortcuts that you should definitely remember:
- Command-X — Cut the selected item and copy it to the Clipboard.
- Command-C — Copy the selected item to the Clipboard.
- Command-V — Paste the contents of the Clipboard into the current document or app.
To use these shortcuts, you need to hold the command key (which has the looped square symbol printed on it) and press the corresponding key. Keyboard shortcuts are great if you do a lot of typing because they allow you to keep your hands on the keyboard.
The Mouse Method
Alternatively, you can also copy and paste on Mac using the mouse or the trackpad.
- Cut —Select text with the mouse cursor and right-click to open the context menu. Select the Cut option.
- Copy — Select text with the mouse cursor and right-click to open the context menu. Select the Copy option.
- Paste — Select text with the mouse cursor and right-click to open the context menu. Select the Paste option.
Smarter Copy Paste Mac: Top 10 Best Clipboard Managers
It’s hard to imagine life without the ability to copy and paste content across apps, documents, and websites, which is why you may be surprised when we tell you that your clipboard can do a lot more than it does right now. As a Mac user, you can download and install several excellent clipboard managers that make the copy and paste shortcuts far more powerful than they already are, and we have selected our top 10 favorites for your convenience.
CopyQ is a popular Mac clipboard manager that saves clipboard content in customized tabs. Turn it on, and the app will visually explain to you how to copy on a Mac more efficiently. CopyQ can store plain text, HTML code, images, and other custom formats. It has configurable shortcuts that allow you to access its features with simple key combinations, and CopyQ’s advanced command-line interface and a built-in scripting language make it possible to manipulate the clipboard content to save time during data entry. Best of all, CopyQ is free and open source, supported by donations.
1clipboard is a modern clipboard manager for Windows and macOS. It’s built with open source technologies like Angular, Electron, and Node.Js, and it brings to the table cross-platform file synchronization through Google Drive and support for multimedia content. 1clipboard stores your clipboard history across computers, allowing you to quickly search the list of past clipboard items and mark individual clipboard items as your favorites. The app has a modern user interface and doesn’t cost a single cent. If you don’t like the idea of storing everything you copy and paste on Mac on Google Drive, you can use 1clipboard in offline mode.
Flycut is a clean and lean clipboard manager for Mac with infinite clipboard history. Copy and paste on Mac as much as you want and know that everything you store in the clipboard will be there when you need it later. Flycut has one main shortcut that you absolutely need to remember to make the most out of the app: Shift + Command + V. This shortcut lets you go through previous clipboard items, allowing you to select exactly what you want without taking your hands away from the keyboard. Of course, you can change the shortcut in the settings if you don’t like it. Since version 1.5, Flycut supports synchronization with Dropbox.
ClipboardFusion is a completely free and extremely powerful clipboard manager with support for macros and cloud synchronization. Unlike many other clipboard managers, ClipboardFusion takes your security and privacy very seriously, encrypting everything you store in the clipboard using 256-bit encryption. You can use ClipboardFusion to automatically replace clipboard text with pre-defined strings to save time when performing data-entry tasks. There’s also a Pro version of ClipboardFusion, which adds unlimited clipboard synchronization across different platforms and operating systems. The software doesn’t cost much, and it’s definitely well worth its price if you depend on the clipboard on a daily basis.
Clipy is a beautiful clipboard extension for macOS, with support for multiple content formats and customizable shortcuts. Clipy is fully open source and developed in the wild on GitHub. That means that everyone can review the source code and look for bugs or contribute with new features and suggestions. Clipy works with macOS 10.10 or later, and we would suggest it to those who are looking for a simpler clipboard manager that does a few things but does them extremely well.
Permanent Clipboard is a Google Chrome extension for basic clipboard management with synchronization between Chrome instances across computers. How many times have you sent yourself an email containing a bank account number or an address just to avoid typing everything manually on your other computer? If you’re like most people, your answer probably lies somewhere between “sometimes” and “all the time”. Permanent Clipboard takes just a few seconds to install, and it works right out of the box without any configuration. If you use Google Chrome as your primary web browser, Permanent Clipboard might be the right solution for you.
CopyClip is a fast clipboard manager that runs discreetly from the menu bar and stores all the items that you have copied in the past. CopyClip allows you to pin important clipboard items for future use, and it supports the Touch Bar on the new MacBook Pro, displaying your previous clippings in a very user-friendly way. You can try CopyClip for free, but you’ll need to purchase the full version of the app to keep using it. But don’t worry: CopyClip doesn’t cost much, and it’s worth every last cent, especially if you own the MacBook Pro and would like to make the Touch Bar more useful.
PasteBox is a neat, lightweight clipboard manager that you can download for just $4.99 from App Store. PasteBox preserves copied data from clipboard and allows easy access to the data through a customizable shortcut. It can store text, images, and other clipboard types in the background as you focus on your work. The moment you realize that you need something that you copy pasted some time ago, you can just open PasteBox and retrieve the clipboard item you’re after from there. The app works on macOS 10.10 or later, and its developer, Aleksandar Stevic, releases updates on a steady basis, keeping the app bug-free and highly polished.
Copy ‘em Paste
Copy ’em Paste presents itself as the best-in-class clipboard manager, and we have no reason to doubt this claim. Copy ’em Paste was created with multimedia content in mind. The developers of Copy ’em Paste know that users rely on the clipboard as a temporary storage for images, documents, and other files. They also know that a good clipboard manager must be able to handle everything users throw at it, preserving formatting and simplifying the retrieval of previously copied clipboard items with a sophisticated search functionality. Copy ’em Paste meets all these criteria and throws a lot more extra functionality to the mix, such as a built-in text editor and the ability to blacklist applications.
Clippings is a full-featured clipboard manager for the web browser Firefox. Clippings allows you to create a clipping from selected text in a form field or web page body, paste clippings into form fields or new email or newsgroup messages directly from the context menu, and it even has a convenient system for organizing clippings into folders. Clippings is free, runs inside one of the most popular web browsers in the world, and has tens of thousands of satisfied users.
Bonus: Disk Drill
The above-described clipboard managers provide a convenient backup layer that can protect you against the loss of valuable information and, in some cases, even multimedia content. However, you may find yourself relying on a clipboard manager so much that it becomes a sort of data vault. Before you know it, your clipboard manager will contain megabytes of text snippets, many of which may have a huge sentimental value for you. To ensure that you won’t lose them, you need to equip yourself with a capable data recovery and disk backup solution, and Disk Drill is our first choice. This data recovery suite comes with useful tools for everything from data recovery to backup to file management to disk health status monitoring, and it costs absolutely nothing to download it.