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If you want to reduce the number of clicks you make on your Mac, a very useful application called PopClip should probably live in your menu bar.

PopClip ($4.99) made our list of recommended productivity applications Stay Productive: My Top 10 Mac OS X Applications for 2013 Stay Productive: My Top 10 Mac OS X Applications for 2013 Each year I look forward to rounding-up my top list of applications used throughout the year, and today I'll start by listing my OS X picks. Read More  last year, and has continued to help us be productive. Since we first reviewed PopClip as a giveaway application Pop Clip: The Missing Mac Utility [Giveaway] Pop Clip: The Missing Mac Utility [Giveaway] Read More two years ago, over a hundred actions (technically called extensions) have been developed for the utility.

You might be surprised by what you can get done when simply selecting text on your Mac.

What Does PopClip Do?

PopClip is simple to use: when you select a piece of text on your Mac, a PopClip menu pops up that includes extensions for performing various actions, such as copying and pasting the selection, composing a new tweet, creating a new email message, applying formatting, capitalizing the first letter of each word, adding quotes, making notes and much more.

PopClip comes installed with a few default extensions, but up to 25 can be added, and others deleted when not in use.

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You probably copy and paste lots of text on your Mac. PopClip makes this action easier removing the need to use a keyboard shortcut to first copy the selected text, and then another keyboard shortcut to paste it. PopClip allows users to keep their hand on their mouse or trackpad and perform both actions. After copying a selection, the PopClip menu will appear again when the cursor is placed where text can be pasted. There’s also a similar action for pasting copied text to match the existing font style and size in the document you paste to.

PopClip word count

Another reason I use PopClip is that it allows me to quickly check the word count for a selection of text, handy when writing articles.

Accessing PopClip

You can access PopClip in your menu bar to enable, disable, or delete actions, or to turn PopClip on and off. More than likely, after getting PopClip set up to your liking, you won’t need to access it in the menu bar, thus it might be better hidden from the menu bar entirely using a handy application 3 Tools To Unleash Your Mac OS X Menu Bar 3 Tools To Unleash Your Mac OS X Menu Bar The menu bar on my Mac gets more attention these days than the Dock. The reason for this is quite simple - it's incredibly compact and dynamic in comparison. One menu bar application will show... Read More called Bartender.

PopClip actions

PopClip can also be excluded from appearing in selected applications, handy for applications like games  where PopClip might get in the way. It’s also possible to prevent PopClip from appearing, simply hold down the Command or FN key while making a selection.

PopClip exclude

Other Sample Actions

There are now over 100 PopClip extensions for various needs and purposes, broken down into different categories including text editing, text transformation, to-do apps, web service searches (including Amazon, eBay, Wikipedia, and IMDb), music and URL-related extensions. Extensions can be downloaded for free from the PopClip Extension directory.

When a downloaded extension is launched, it automatically gets installed in PopClip. You can rearrange (or disable) extensions in the list by clicking and holding on the icon for an extension and moving it up or down on the list.

PopClip extensions

Another one of my favorite actions is the link shortening extension that shortens a selected URL and copies the shortened version to the system clipboard.

PopClip shorten link

There are also actions for quickly adding text to the management application, Wunderlist Wunderlist - The Best To-Do List Application On The iPhone [iOS] Wunderlist - The Best To-Do List Application On The iPhone [iOS] Wunderlist is one of the simplest ways to keep track of what you need to do. It has an elegant user interface that just makes sense. Anyone can pick it up and figure out how... Read More , and a Lucky Link extension for launching the top result of any given text selection.

PopClip compares to the launch and workflow application, Alfred How To Create Your First Workflow System In Alfred 2.0 [Mac] How To Create Your First Workflow System In Alfred 2.0 [Mac] Computers should be about getting things done faster and more efficiently. This is where the award-winning productivity Mac application, Alfred comes in. Using a few keyboard shortcuts, and/or keyword commands, Alfred enables you to quickly,... Read More , for the wide variety of actions it provides. In fact, there’s actually an Alfred workflow that makes PopClip appear by pressing a keyboard shortcut. This is useful in cases for when text is selected using the keyboard instead of the mouse.

A Power User Application

PopClip is definitely a Mac power user’s application. It’s very useful and easy to use, especially if you do a lot typing and research on your computer. PopClip does appear every time you select text (unless you disable it), but typically when text is selected it’s for particular reason, and that’s what makes PopClip so powerful and useful.

Let us know what you think of PopClip and how you use it in your workflow.

Download: PopClip ($4.99)

  1. Michael Miller
    April 19, 2014 at 10:38 pm

    I use PopClip all the time. It might be the most useful Mac utility I have ever used. For those who love Facebook, there is an extension to compose a new Facebook post from the highlighted text.

  2. kazi
    April 18, 2014 at 6:05 am

    this is a very good app

  3. Dann A
    April 16, 2014 at 8:06 pm

    This is really cool! I was looking through the extensions, and I see that there's one that will convert common units. As an American living in the UK, that would be super useful. I think I'll be checking out the free trial. Thanks for the writeup!

    • Bakari Chavanu
      April 16, 2014 at 8:12 pm

      Dann, thanks for pointing out the extension about converting units. There seems to be no limit to the types of extensions that can be created. I need to see about writing an article about creating your own PopClip extensions.

    • Dann A
      April 16, 2014 at 8:20 pm

      That would be awesome! I would definitely be interested in writing my own. Not totally sure what I would do yet, but I'm sure I could come up with something.

  4. Philippe
    April 15, 2014 at 10:37 am

    Beside the classical cut/paste or open_in_browser, there are Popclip extensions I cannot leave without:
    * Evernote: to store selected text in Evernote
    * nvAlt: same but with nvAlt
    * Devonthink: same but with Devonthink
    Email: to send an email with the selected text.

    In fact, I cannot be productive without Popclip.

    • Bakari Chavanu
      April 16, 2014 at 8:10 pm

      Phillipe, thanks for your feedback. You highlighted a few other useful extensions that readers should know about.

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