App of the Week: ArsClip 4.0

By Kshitij Sobti | Published on 30 Mar 2012
App of the Week: ArsClip 4.0

The clipboard can be rather inefficient at times, especially when you have the need to paste multiple elements between multiple applications. Sometimes you might just have dozens of things in different places that need to be copied, and then pasted, it would be convenient to just copy them all one by one, and then paste later, but there is no provision.

Copying and then pasting things one by one is no insurmountable task, but surely it is easy to see that a single clipboard that gets overwritten each time you copy something new isn’t efficient. ArsClip is a tool that gets rid of this limitation by allowing you to copy away, without worrying about each copy replacing the previous one. Instead you can access a history of all you have copied and paste any of the previous entries.

ArsClip does not override your usual copy and pasting routines, so you can be assured they still work. Rather it adds a few hotkeys that give access to additional features.

For example, by triggering a hotkey combination (By default Ctrl Shift Z), you can have a popup show that shows the history of copied content.By default it adds another shortcut to access this menu, simply keep the right-click button pressed for a short while. This popup can be navigated using the keyboard, or mouse, and then selected entry can be pasted. Quite conveniently this popup menu also indicates which application you copied something from by showing its icon next to the menu entry.

This is useful, but isn’t the extent of what ArsClip can do. ArsClip can also automatically operate on copied clipboard data. It can for example, automatically convert formatted text to plain text so it can be safely pasted on the web, and it can automatically fix URLs that have been split in multiple lines. If you copy a file, you can the option to paste the path of the file rather than the file itself.

The applications itself is quite configurable. The popup that appears when you keep the right mouse button pressed, or if you use the hotkey, can be configured to your requirements. You can pick which items should be displayed, in the popup so you can get to where you want faster. If you have certain elements of the popup menu “disabled” they don’t go away, they are just hidden, and can be shown again by clicking on the option to expand the menu. This way you can have common operations promoted, but not at the cost of losing functionality for rarely-used features.

The popup menu itself can be edited at runtime; you can remove entries, more them around, or mark entries as permanent. Normally ArsClip stores the last 15 copied items — this number is configurable as well — however permanent clipboard entries are, as you might have guessed, permanent. You can create groups of permanent entries to keep things organized.

ArsClip can also be configured on a per-application basis. It support a number of methods for pasting text, including simply emulating it being typed. Some methods work better in some applications, for example, console windows require a different method of pasting. You can configure this behaviour depending on the application you are using, and you can optionally turn off clipboard monitoring and right click triggering of the popup menu on some applications. You can even turn on or off permanent clipboard groups based on applications. For example, you can configure it to show only a group of code snippets when you are using your IDE or other code editing software. These snippets likely won’t be as useful elsewhere.

ArsClip is a free software, and in a single 1.2MB bundle it includes the software, a portable version and its source code — the source code is only licensed for personal use though. You can download the latest version from the author’s website and can see some of the new features in the latest version in the video below:

Kshitij Sobti



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