Tools: CLCL

Copy-paste–savior of word processors, “advanced” feature of the masses, bane of software design. Ctrl+C/V is so burned into my fingers that it’s physically painful for me to watch someone clicking the toolbar or menu to copy a piece of text.

But real estate on the clipboard is scarce. Yes, certain applications like Office and Visual Studio provide you with a clipboard ring to save multiple things, but I’ve always found them clunky. Plus, my main use for copying is often bringing stuff from another app, so anything restricted to say, just Word is useless to me.

I’d read about apps that extend your clipboard, but didn’t really pay them much heed until one fateful day. I was writing a new chapter for my book in a web app (which shall remain nameless), and hitting problems. Whenever I’d submit, it was choking. I could click back, and the browser thankfully still had my text. Thinking, “I don’t want to lose what I’ve written,” I copied it into the clipboard. Then I set about trying to fix the app. I shut down the browser (no back anymore), and my speedy little fingers happened to copy another snippet of text–probably a URL or login name, I don’t remember. I’ve blocked it out.


Several pages of original text floating in the ether of the clipboard were obliterated. Maybe those clipboard extenders were worth a look.

I’ve settled on CLCL, largely for its simplicity. There’s hardly anything to it, but it will save at least 30 items, crosses reboots, and provides a nice little “save to template” feature where I keep some common strings (login name + domain for instance, since I’m lazy and get tired of typing it into fifteen different apps on our network). Shortcut keys to bring up the saved items completes the picture.

Now I install CLCL anywhere I work frequently. I can’t imagine coding without it there in the background, lovingly gathering up whatever I saw fit to copy, holding it in reserve just in case I need it for later. Thank you CLCL, you’re a lifesaver!