Dr. Mac’s Rants & Raves
Episode #408

I love useful Mac utilities and am always looking for the next great timesaver or simplifier.

You may wonder what, precisely, differentiates a utility from other apps. The answer (at least in my head) is that utilities only exist to make using your Mac better, faster, or more elegant. Productivity apps such as word processors, spreadsheets, databases, and image manipulators emulate real-world tools like typewriters, accounting pads, filing cabinets, and darkrooms. Utilities, on the other hand, have no real-world counterparts—they exist only to improve or enhance your Mac’s capabilities.

Let me tell you about a pair of new (to me) utilities that have saved me oodles of time lately.

TextSniper to the Rescue!

First up is TextSniper, (US$6.49) a terrific little program I didn’t know I needed until I started using it. It lets you capture text from any image and then convert it into editable text so you can paste it into any document or web form.

The TextSniper menu is short and sweet.

TextSniper’s menu is short and sweet.

For example, when someone sends me a picture of a receipt with a tracking number, I capture it with TextSniper and then paste it into the tracking form, which is slick!

I also love the way TextSniper helps me avoid typing (or mistyping) serial numbers. Now, I just shoot a picture, and TextSniper converts it instantly to editable text I can paste wherever I like.

TextSniper is a one-trick pony but its trick—instantly converting image text to editable, paste-able text—saves me time and effort. I was skeptical at first, but I’ve found TextSniper useful more often than I ever expected.

Multiple Clipboards Rule

Moving right along, I still don’t understand why the Mac only has a single clipboard and have been using various utilities to extend the clipboard’s usefulness since time immemorial. My latest crush is called Paste ($0.99), and it’s everything I’ve wanted in a clipboard history/manager and more.

It does everything I need from a multiple clipboard manager, including the ability to save and recall every item copied or pasted for the past day, week, month, or forever. It also lets you organize items into pinboards, which are like folders for saved clipboards.

But there are lots of utilities that save multiple clipboards and the ability to organize them. Paste stands out for its slick user interface and large, easy-to-distinguish previews.

Paste is easy on the eyes and easy to use.

Paste is easy on the eyes and easy to use.

But the big difference between Paste and most other clipboard utilities is real-time iCloud syncing. Why? Because it enables you to see and use every item you’ve cut or copied on your Mac on your iDevice and vice versa, so you’ll see everything you’ve cut or copied on your iDevice on your Mac, too.

While both utilities are reasonably priced (see below), I’d be remiss not to mention that they’re both included with Setapp ($9.99 per month), the subscription app service that provides nearly 200 apps and utilities for just $9.99 a month.

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