If you want to reduce the number of clicks you make on your Mac, a very useful application called PopClip should probably live in your menu bar.
PopClip ($4.99) made our list of recommended productivity applications last year, and has continued to help us be productive. Since we first reviewed PopClip as a giveaway application two years ago, over a hundred actions (technically called extensions) have been developed for the utility.
You might be surprised by what you can get done when simply selecting text on your Mac.
What Does PopClip Do?
PopClip is simple to use: when you select a piece of text on your Mac, a PopClip menu pops up that includes extensions for performing various actions, such as copying and pasting the selection, composing a new tweet, creating a new email message, applying formatting, capitalizing the first letter of each word, adding quotes, making notes and much more.
PopClip comes installed with a few default extensions, but up to 25 can be added, and others deleted when not in use.
You probably copy and paste lots of text on your Mac. PopClip makes this action easier removing the need to use a keyboard shortcut to first copy the selected text, and then another keyboard shortcut to paste it. PopClip allows users to keep their hand on their mouse or trackpad and perform both actions. After copying a selection, the PopClip menu will appear again when the cursor is placed where text can be pasted. There’s also a similar action for pasting copied text to match the existing font style and size in the document you paste to.
Another reason I use PopClip is that it allows me to quickly check the word count for a selection of text, handy when writing articles.
You can access PopClip in your menu bar to enable, disable, or delete actions, or to turn PopClip on and off. More than likely, after getting PopClip set up to your liking, you won’t need to access it in the menu bar, thus it might be better hidden from the menu bar entirely using a handy application called Bartender.
PopClip can also be excluded from appearing in selected applications, handy for applications like games where PopClip might get in the way. It’s also possible to prevent PopClip from appearing, simply hold down the Command or FN key while making a selection.
Other Sample Actions
There are now over 100 PopClip extensions for various needs and purposes, broken down into different categories including text editing, text transformation, to-do apps, web service searches (including Amazon, eBay, Wikipedia, and IMDb), music and URL-related extensions. Extensions can be downloaded for free from the PopClip Extension directory.
When a downloaded extension is launched, it automatically gets installed in PopClip. You can rearrange (or disable) extensions in the list by clicking and holding on the icon for an extension and moving it up or down on the list.
Another one of my favorite actions is the link shortening extension that shortens a selected URL and copies the shortened version to the system clipboard.
There are also actions for quickly adding text to the management application, Wunderlist, and a Lucky Link extension for launching the top result of any given text selection.
PopClip compares to the launch and workflow application, Alfred, for the wide variety of actions it provides. In fact, there’s actually an Alfred workflow that makes PopClip appear by pressing a keyboard shortcut. This is useful in cases for when text is selected using the keyboard instead of the mouse.
A Power User Application
PopClip is definitely a Mac power user’s application. It’s very useful and easy to use, especially if you do a lot typing and research on your computer. PopClip does appear every time you select text (unless you disable it), but typically when text is selected it’s for particular reason, and that’s what makes PopClip so powerful and useful.
Let us know what you think of PopClip and how you use it in your workflow.