The Best Tools to Work With Text on Mac OS X

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Text Tools for MacSome of the most popular apps on the Mac are definitely text editing apps. These apps allow you to create texts that can be as simple as common notes or as complex as entire novels.

However, while text editing applications on the Mac tend to take the spotlight when it comes to working with text, there are other kinds of apps and utilities that, while smaller and lesser known, can be just as useful for anyone who does even some marginal amount of work with text on their Macs.

Let’s take a look at the few of these tools that I find not only to be great, but essential in my day-to-day workflow.

ClipMenu

By far my favorite on this list, ClipMenu has proven to be simply indispensable for me over the years. Even better, the app is completely free and will install in seconds. In short, ClipMenu is a very simple clipboard utility that allows you to manage your clipboard history in a very fast and efficient way.

ClipMenu App

This might not sound like much, but this focus on a single task is what makes ClipMenu so powerful and useful when working with text.

Once you install the app, you can adjust several of its settings, including the kind and number of items it will hold from your clipboard. You can also adjust the time the app will take to show up after you summon it, the different shortcuts you can use it with and more.

ClipMenu Settings

Once everything is setup correctly, all you have to do is press a shortcut to summon ClipMenu and you will be able to navigate across you most recent clipboard history.

ClipMenu History 1

ClipMenu History 2

ClipMenu is not limited to text though, it will also store entire PDFs, images, tables and virtually anything that you can copy to your clipboard. In addition to that, the app is also extremely keyboard friendly, allowing you to operate it without having to reach out to your mouse to do it, which is an essential feature for anyone who, like me, doesn’t like to interrupt their writing flow.

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Overall, definitely an essential app to work with text that will save you a lot of time and headaches.

PopClip

If you are a fan of working with text on your iOS devices, then you will be glad to know that our next little app, PopClip ($2.99 on the Mac App Store), draws its inspiration heavily from Apple’s tablets and smartphones’ text selection menus and interfaces.

Right after installing it and adjusting some of its settings, you can start using PopClip simply by selecting any text snippet with your mouse. Once you do, the app will display a small popover menu with a series of commands you can choose from.

PopClip in Use

What makes PopClip truly stand out though is that not only these commands can be customized, but can also be expanded thanks to PopClip accepting “extensions”, which are like plugins that instantly broaden the app’s capabilities.

PopClip Extensions

Using these, you can go from the simple, default commands like Search and Open link to more complex ones like Paste without Format for example.

If there is one gripe I have with PopClip, it is that it doesn’t support the Mac’s keyboard easily. There are workarounds to address this of course, but they are quite complex and far from perfect.

Text Tools

Aptly named Text Tools, this free utility is also one of the best aids for anyone who works with serious amounts of text on their Macs. Once downloaded and installed, the app creates a sub-menu that shows up whenever your right click on a document.

Text Tools in Use

Right from there, you can see that Text Tools is quite powerful, allowing you to customize your fonts, use rulers, create side notes, add tables, links, lists and more. Text Tools does not offer much on the customization department though, although I am guessing few will need even more than what the app already offers.

Conclusions

If you do any work with text on your Mac, there is no excuse for you not to try these useful tools. Two of them are free and the other one is extremely cheap, and all of them provide you with some very nice, specific features that will really (trust me) change the way you work with text on your Mac for the better.

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  • AK

    Clipmenu doesn’t have search history and it’s clubbing of entries is very difficult.
    If only jumpcut had a simple search and more than 99 history.