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Mac Clipboard History: Upgrade Past the Default

Mac Clipboard History: Upgrade Past the Default

On your Mac, you can access one of the simplest yet most extraordinary inventions in the history of personal computers: your clipboard. Just imagine how much time this simple tool saves you every day! Wouldn’t it be painful to manually duplicate all your work without this functionality?

This is especially important if you’re a developer, as there are plenty of scenarios where you need to use your clipboard:

  • Copy-paste code snippets from Stack Overflow
  • Move your code between files
  • Copy and share code snippets with your colleagues

Despite being an effortless tool to use, your Mac clipboard history also comes with a lot of limitations. These limitations may be slowing down your productivity as a developer. This article will show you how Pieces for Developers can revolutionize your clipboard, a tool you didn’t know could get any better.

Why is Your Mac Clipboard History Limited?

To access your Mac clipboard functionality, use ⌘ + C to copy, then ⌘ + V to paste.

This may be enough for a variety of situations, but it can also be pretty limiting to your productivity. The limitations of the functionality become very evident when you need to paste something you copied an hour ago, but you’ve already overwritten that piece of text by copying something else. Now there’s no way for you to retrieve it. Then you end up going back to find what you initially saved and copying it all over again.

You can access the text you’ve saved on your Mac clipboard; however, the usefulness of this history is limited. The list only contains only the most recent text you copied. This is how to see your clipboard history on your Mac:

  1. Select the Edit menu of your Finder
  2. Then click Show Clipboard
Accessing your Mac’s clipboard history
Accessing your Mac’s clipboard history

What you’ll see is a simple text file showing only the last thing you copied.

Clipboard history popup on a Mac
An example of my clipboard history

Once you realize how limiting your Mac’s clipboard history can be, you may feel the need for a better solution. One that will allow you to manage everything you’ve copied in an organized way and not worry about overwriting your saves.

There’s an answer to these performance issues— use a clipboard manager.

What is a Clipboard Manager?

As a software developer, you’re always copy-pasting snippets of code from various sources. How many snippets of code have you copied from Stack Overflow or CodePen? How many blocks of code do you move from one place to another every single day? How many lines of code do you share with your peers to solve your project challenges?

A Mac clipboard manager is simply a tool to power up all your copy-pasting in a safe, efficient way.

Imagine you copied an important code snippet from Stack Overflow and overwrote it accidentally. Suppose you want to save a block of code and use it again in an hour without having to worry about where you can store it.

Your clipboard manager has you covered. These tools allow you to store, organize, and view your recently copied items, and then use them whenever you need them.

Pieces for Developers

As a developer, you’ll want to use a clipboard manager that is specifically designed to support your work with code. That’s where Pieces for Developers shines. Pieces is the fastest clipboard manager (and more!) for developers, and it comes with a full set of features, including:

  • Safely storing all of your best code snippets with just one click, which will dramatically speed up your coding workflow.
  • Searching through your snippets in one place, so you’ll never have to review your Notes wondering which snippets you saved and why.
  • Automatically and manually enriching your snippets with additional information. You’ll see which website your snippet came from, which language it uses, which tags it has, who else has worked on it, and more, so it’ll be easier for you to find it later and reuse it whenever you need.

Now you see how much better your Mac clipboard history can be! The next sections demonstrate how to easily integrate Pieces for Developers into your workflow to immediately skyrocket your productivity.

How to Use Pieces for Developers to Manage your MacOS Clipboard History

Let’s see how you can save your code snippets for later use with Pieces for Developers.

1. Download the Pieces for Developers desktop app. Once downloaded, the app will open, showing you a menu where you can see all of your saved snippets.

The Pieces for Developers desktop app.

2. To save a snippet inside Pieces for Developers, you can either paste it (⌘ + V) directly into the app, or you can download one of the Pieces for Developers IDE integrations. With these add-ons, you’ll be able to save your snippets to Pieces for Developers directly from your favorite code editor.

For example, when using Pieces for VS Code, once you decide to save a snippet, you just need to highlight it and then press ⇧+⌘ + V on your Mac to see your snippet appear directly in Pieces for Developers.

Copying and pasting a new snippet to Pieces for Developers.

3. After this step, this is what all the snippets you saved will look like.

The view of snippets in Pieces for Developers.

4. As you can see, with just one click, you were able to safely store your snippet, which you can now refer to in the future whenever you want, without fear of losing it. Additionally, Pieces for Developers stores useful information for each of your snippets, like where the snippet came from, its tags, its formatting, its language, any Related Links or Related People, GitHub Context, and more.

This way, it will be much easier for you to search through all of your important notes and make sense of your daily chaos while bypassing your Mac clipboard history altogether.

If you want to search for a specific bit of code, simply type your desired search in the dedicated search bar at the top of the app.

Searching in Pieces for Developers.


It’s always hard to imagine how a simple tool like your Mac clipboard history can become even better. As you’ve learned in this article, despite its simple elegance, your clipboard is severely limited since it only allows you to store one snippet of text, code, or an image that you’ve copied.

At the same time, copy-pasting is one of the most common operations for you as a developer, so what you need is a tool that provides better support for this activity. Now that you’ve discovered Pieces for Developers, you’ll be able to efficiently store, manage, and use all your most important code snippets without fear of losing them.

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