Multiple Copy and Paste

Multiple Copy and Paste
Mac Tip#80/27-Nov-2002

Many years ago the Mac introduced the novel idea of being able to copy some information in one place (for example in an email) and then being able to paste it somewhere else (eg in a word processing document). This simple concept has saved millions of Mac users millions of hours in moving chunks of information from one place to another.

One thing which has never changed though is that you can copy only one thing at a time. This is an enormous failing. What’s more, if you shut down your Mac you lose whatever was stored on the clipboard.

Just today for example I had copied my weekly Eudora Tip from the text editor where I write my Tips ready to paste it into an email message when the phone rang, not once but twice. Both calls required me to leave what I was doing and open up iCal, my current scheduling software. For one call I needed to quickly jot down a phone number and then before I forgot what I was doing I needed to copy it and paste it into my Address Book.

Bingo! The moment I copied that phone number I had lost my Eudora Tip because the clipboard can store only one item at a time.

I try to focus these Tips on what you can do with your Mac out of the box, but if there’s one single favour you can do yourself it’s to add extra clipboards to your Mac so you can copy and paste more than one thing at a time.

OS X users: download the free PTH Pasteboard from (and get PTH Clock while you’re there).

OS9 and earlier: search at Versiontracker for “multiple clipboards” and you’ll find several shareware programs which offer this capability.

Or go much more upmarket and use the vastly more powerful US$20 CopyPaste This is available for many versions of the Mac Operating System.

Now copy, copy, copy and then paste, paste, paste to your heart’s content.

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  1. Miraz Jordan said:

    A handy rule of thumb is to use the Apple (Command) key on a Mac where you would have used the Control key in Windows. So, to copy: Apple C, to paste: Apple V.

    Where you would right-click in Windows use the Control key on a Mac. So: to bring up a contextual menu: Control click.



  2. Jo Lewis said:

    I have always used a PC, we recently bought a Mac, what controls do I use for a simple copy & paste?

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