Review: ArsClip makes your clipboard more useful than ever before
Few operations are more ubiquitous than copying and pasting. It often seems like Ctrl-C and Ctrl-V are ingrained into our muscle memory. But isn't it odd that your powerful, modern, powerhouse of a computer can remember only the very last thing you copied? Wouldn't it be better if it could keep a running log of everything you copy, letting you pick any one of your recently copied snippets for pasting? ArsClip is a free, tiny utility that promises to do that, and much more.
ArsClip's simple pop-up menu starts out compact, but can be extended to a very complete list of options.
ArsClip is delightfully low-key and unobtrusive, calling to mind other classic utilities like IrfanView. It comes with an installer, but you can also use it as a portable app without installing anything. Once you run it, it sits in your system tray and quietly listens to whatever it is you copy. Ctrl-V still works as usual, instantly pasting the last thing you copied. But the moment you want to paste in an older item, just hit ArsClip's special hotkey, and up pops a menu with your recently copied items. Each item gets a hotkey (1 through E), and can be pasted in with just a single keystroke. You can also use the arrow keys to navigate the menu, or click an entry with the mouse.
Of course, you may not always want to keep a log of whatever you copy. This is particularly important when it comes to passwords, for example. Fortunately, ArsClip makes it very easy to exclude certain applications from its watch list. It took me just a few seconds to tell ArsClip not to watch what I copy from KeePass, and that was it: My passwords were safe again.
ArsClip also features "permanent clips," which are snippets of text you always want to have handy, even if you didn't just copy them. This is a bit like what AutoHotkey and PhraseExpress let you do–you can even associate global hotkeys with individual snippets of text. Still, if you use lots of snippets, you may be better served by an application that focuses on snippet management such as PhraseExpress.
ArsClip features "permanent clips," a way to have snippets of text always handy even if you didn't just copy them.
ArsClip keeps things simple, lean, and easy to use. It's one of those tools you don't notice you're missing until the moment you start using it. If you've never tried a clipboard history manager before, this is a great one to start with.
Note: The Download button on the Product Information page will download the software to your system. This file is donationware; it's free to use, but the developer accepts donations.
Copyright (c) 2013 PCWorld Communications, Inc.
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