As students, we’re constantly copying and pasting stuff. Whether that be moving files around, copying information over to your Works Cited pages, or just posting that hilarious video to your friends on Facebook, copy and paste is definitely an essential part of everyone’s work and play on a computer. Unfortunately, it can get rather annoying when your clipboard can only hold one item. To access your clipboard’s history and special functions like plain text paste and upper case paste, today I’m introducing you to ClipMenu in this edition of App of the Week.

Platform Availability: Mac OS X 10.5 and up. Windows users looking for something similar should try ClipX, which is also free.

Cost: It’s free! Download it here!

What it is: A clipboard manager for Mac OS X with some great additional features (which I’ll expand upon later).

What it Does: Use it to access your clipboard’s history so that you don’t have to annoyingly go back to recopy an item after you’ve already cleared your clipboard with something else. ClipMenu captures all sorts of items, from plain text, to files, to images – it will remember anything you could normally capture with your native clipboard. When necessary, instead of hitting Command+V, use Command+Shift+V to invoke the ClipMenu interface and paste to your heart’s content from the entire previous contents of your clipboard.

Features: Snippets Menu – In addition to a full-featured yet stable clipboard manager, ClipMenu also includes a great snippets functionality to quickly access strings of text you commonly use. While you could do the same with a text expander application in most instances, text expansion usually doesn’t work for password fields. I find it really handy for storing long and complicated passwords so I don’t have to remember them.

Customizable Keyboard Shortcuts – Don’t like using Command+Shift+V? Change the shortcut to invoke ClipMenu to whatever you want! Do the same with the Snippets Menu!

Custom Paste – ClipMenu allows you to strip text of all its formatting and just paste plain text. You can also paste with only lower case, only UPPER CASE, Title Case, or Capitalized.

Keyboard Navigation – You can navigate ClipMenu entirely from your keyboard! Invoke it with your shortcut, and then navigate by typing out where you want to go or using the arrow keys. It’s basically like navigating the Mac menu bar, which I described here.

Custom File Type Recognition – If you don’t want ClipMenu to capture certain types of files in its history, you can control that from its preferences with a simple uncheck of a selection box. You can also remove items from ClipMenu’s history if you’re so inclined.

The Competition: There are so many Mac clipboard manager apps out there, probably more than 10. However, most are either incredibly basic or way too expensive for the additional functionality they bring to the table. I’m just going to name several that stack up fairly well against ClipMenu.

Clips – $9.99 - Mac OS X 10.6.6 and Up

CopyPastePro – $30 - Mac OS X 10.5 and Up

Why the Featured App is Best: ClipMenu provides the best combination of power and simplicity of all available clipboard managers out there. While the other applications have great options to browse your clipboard from a great-looking interface (Clips), or archive/flag clipboard items (both Clips and CopyPastePro), that additional functionality really isn’t necessary for most users. If you really need to have the utmost in clipboard manager UX elegance, go with Clips. But if you just want the same essentials of a clipboard manager in a much more minimalist package that is also free, go with ClipMenu.

Summary: Stop limiting yourself to one item in the clipboard, and grab a clipboard manager to open up your copy and paste world. While other apps may be more feature-rich and look prettier, ClipMenu does everything you could ask of a clipboard manager, and most importantly of all, it’s free!

What’s your favorite clipboard manager out there? Why is it better than ClipMenu? Let us know in the comments!