You probably use a computer to write instead of freehanding or typewriting, because computers have all sorts of tools for saving, formatting, spell-checking, and copying and pasting. But when you think about it, the default copy-and-paste functionality of a computer is extremely basic. Out of the box, Macs and PCs only remember the very last thing you copied. The thing you copied before that? Gone. This makes no sense, since computers have enough memory for billions of lines of text. Thankfully there are a number of free applications out there to "buffer" your clipboard, placing everything you've copied -- as well as commonly-used snippets of text -- at your fingertips. Once I started using such an application, I forgot how I wrote without it.
For the past several months I've used Jumpcut to "buffer" my Mac's clipboard, and it worked perfectly. I never had any complaints with it and only tried the paid program Clips because Clips was part of a software bundle I already owned. However, despite its trouble-free operation, Jumpcut was missing a feature I wanted: a second memory where I could store commonly-used chunks of text (like URLs, email responses, or bank account numbers) for on-demand pasting. The image at right demonstrates this functionality -- you can call it up with a keystroke and paste common snippets, which saves you the task of hunting for these bits of text over and over again.
ClipMenu, like Jumpcut, resides in the Status Bar, and can be accessed by clicking on the clipboard icon, or by using a keystroke (Shift-Command-V by default). It doesn't get in the way of regular cutting and pasting, so even if you're not planning on using the advanced features, it's a good thing to have around for those times when you're lost in version hell and can't find that paragraph you cut a few minutes ago and might've forgotten to paste. I like setting it up a bit differently from the default behavior, so that text isn't placed into folders by default (which more closely mirrors Jumpcut's behavior). Here are my settings:
If you're interested, give it a shot -- ClipMenu is freeware (you can donate if you find it as useful as I have).
Anyone else have some handy apps they find useful for writing?