When you stop and think about it, using a computer nearly always involves selecting and copying text, performing Internet searches, formatting text, and tediously adding quotation marks and the like.
Since using the cursor is at the heart of what we do on the Mac, the nifty application, PopClip ($4.99 Mac App Store, affiliate link), can perform all types of actions, saving you numerous clicks and keyboard shortcuts.
How It Works
Anytime you select text on your Mac, you do so for a particular purpose, and that’s where PopClip comes in.
When text is selected in any application, the aptly named PopClip menu appears above your cursor with a collection of items including actions for copying the selected text, performing a keyword web search using the selected text, reading the selected text aloud, or formatting selected text in bold, italics, or underline.
Google “Lucky” Search
PopClip reduces the need to use keyboard shortcuts and lots of manual copying and pasting.
For example, when the Copy action in PopClip is used, the selected text is added to the system clipboard. From there, PopClip assumes that when you copy text, you will probably want to paste it another application or another part of an existing document.
So the menu of PopClip items automatically pops up again when your cursor is moved and clicked to where you want to paste the copied text. Thus PopClip enables you to keep your hand on your mouse or trackpad to complete the tasks.
You’re probably familiar with this type of pop-up feature using the right-click option on your Mac that brings up a context menu of service items, including the ability to copy and paste text. But as you will see, PopClip includes a lot more options than the built-in options Mac OS X offers.
PopClip comes installed with a handful of extensions, including triggers for opening a selected URL link, defining a selected word, or revealing the selected path in the Finder.
When you select text, you can choose only one action at a time. But PopClip also allows for adding up 25 extensions.
You can access more extensions by clicking on PopClip in your menu bar, and selecting the puzzle icon, which displays your existing actions (see above screenshot). From there, click on the + button which opens PopClip’s Extensions page in Safari.
There you will find more extensions for text editing, text transformations and translations; a few text-to-speech actions; extensions for social networking, and several other extensions for supporting to-do applications, such OmniFocus and Wunderlist.
There are also actions for quickly adding selected text to applications like Day One, the default Mac Notes app, and Evernote.
You simply download a selected extension, and when it’s opened, it will be automatically added to your PopClip library of actions, where you can arrange the order of appearance of the installed actions. The library also allows you to disable actions that you’re not using.
When you first use PopClip, it may feel a little obtrusive in your Mac workflow, but don’t let that stop you from using it.
PopClip allows for adjusting the size of the pop-up menu, and excluding applications you don’t want the menu to show up in.
And typically it will only show extensions that are applicable to the application and/or the type of data you select. And if after a few seconds you don’t select an action, the PopClip menu will fade away.
PopClip can also be turned off in the menu bar. Over time you will begin to see which actions you use the most, and which you don’t.
PopClip is truly a nifty and convenient time saver for performing all types of actions on your Mac.
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