If you’re an iPhone or iPad user, you’re familiar with the bubble that pops up when you select some text. Here you find contextual options like copy, paste, define, and highlight. If you’re a heavy user, you can get pretty fond of this interaction. Just having contextual options pop up over the selected text without having to do anything is kind of amazing.
This feature is not readily available for Mac. However, you can enable it and do a lot of awesome stuff using an app called PopClip ($5).
Once installed and activated, PopClip will activate every time you select some text using the trackpad (but not the keyboard). PopClip comes installed with some basic actions like search, copy, and define but the best part about PopClip is the amount of free extensions available on the website and the ones created by the community. Once you get into it, the kind of stuff you can pull off with this app is surprising.
How To Install PopClip Extensions
Once you have the app installed and running (it will show up in the menu bar), just download the extension file from the internet. They have a specific .popclipextz extension.
Simply double click on these files and they will be added to PopClip’s menu bar utility. You can then toggle the checkmark beside it to turn the extension on or off.
Now, let’s talk about the best extensions.
1. Paste Text without Formatting
If you’re a student, writer, or working on a research paper, you know a lot of copy and pasting is involved. Tap the trackpad twice to bring up PopClip and select Paste = to paste text without any sort of formatting.
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2. Share Highlighted Text to Twitter or Facebook
If you’re browsing the web and you come across something you must share with the world, highlight the text, tap this extension and OS X’s built in Twitter and Facebook popup will show up.
3. Add Highlighted Numbers and Do Other Calculations
Using Brett Terpstra’s PopClip extension called Sum, you can quickly add highlighted numbers.
Another extension called Calculate shows you answers to simple arithmetic.
4. Add Selected Text to Clipboard Instead of Replacing it
It’s really annoying when you need to copy and paste from different sources to one destination. Use this Append extension to add text to the current clipboard. Copy all the different text like this, paste it to the destination at the end and you’ve just saved a lot of time.
5. Count the Number of Words or Characters
Interested to know just how many words you’ve written so far in any kind of document? Without hunting for the app’s feature, just highlight the text and PopClip will tell you, as long as you have theseextensions installed.
Unit conversion sucks, but it’s something we all need to live with. So instead asking Google every time, just use this extension and get the misery over with quickly.
As I’ve said before, PopClip has a lot of extensions, the ones above were just the ones I think are a must-have for most people out there. But as making an extension for PopClip is easy, I’m sure you’ll find an extension tailored to your specific needs. You can try making your own extension as well.