I like to think that a clipboard is like the ‘Dark Knight’ of features present on our desktops. We don’t acknowledge its presence, but we need it, and use it, all the time. It has become so intrinsic to our usage that we use it without even realising it. However, the clipboard suffers from its own flaws. The restriction of holding only one copied element at a time makes it an inefficient tool for users handling too many things at once.
Third party clipboard managers solve this problem and ‘Paste for Mac’ is probably one of the best one out there. Think of it as a clipboard on steroid. It allows you to hold an unlimited number of copied elements at once, lets you organize them, and even adds search functionality, so that you can get to your desired clip as soon as possible. But, what if you are a Windows user? While the Paste app is not available on Windows, there are some great alternatives you can use on your PC. In fact, we tested and used all the best clipboard managers we could find and created a list for you. Here are the best Paste alternatives for Windows you can use:
Paste for a Mac has set a standard for clipboard managers which is hard to surpass. Its fluent UI and organisational and search features are top notch. ClipClip is the only Windows clipboard manager which comes close to it. It is the best clipboard manager for Windows you can get today. It strikes the perfect balance between features and usability. After you launch it, it lives in your system tray. Whenever you copy something, whether it be link, text, or an image, it stores the information in the form of clips which are organised chronologically. You can access your saved clips by double-clicking the app icon in the system tray. Here, you can organize your saved clips into folders. You can create new folders, rename them, and drag and drop clips into them.It also allows you to nest a folder inside another folder if you want so. You can even link folders to your ‘Google Drive’ to sync your clips across devices.
What ClipClip really excels at is the way it handles pasting of your clips. If the ClipClip window is open, you can just drag and drop saved clips to paste them anywhere you like. If the window is not open, just hit the keyboard hotkey (user customizable) and a small window will open up. Click on the clip you want to paste and it will paste it at the head of your cursor. Finding a clip is also easy. The inbuilt search function allows you to find the clips in real time using only keywords. For these reasons, ClipClip tops our list. Also, did I tell you that it’s free.
Ditto is a classic example of “too much of a good thing can be bad”. It is one of the oldest and possibly the most popular clipboard manager for Windows. Just like ClipClip, it lives in the system tray and saves all your clips in a chronological order. You can create groups to organize your clips and access them either by clicking on the app icon, or, by hitting a user customisable hotkey. But their similarity ends here. Ditto’s interface looks as old as the app itself. It will surely take you some time to get use to the aesthetics of the app. Apart from aesthetics, my main problem with this app is the layout of its settings menu. It has a myriad of options, which in my opinion require a manual to go through and understand.
Ditto is a powerful clipboard manager but it makes using its power quite hard for users. It does not even come in the vicinity of Paste when it comes to user interaction. While Paste’s main aim seems to make managing clips easier, Ditto seem to be doing the opposite here. Hence, it did not top our list. If you are a user who really likes to tweak every aspect of the software you use, go for Ditto. But, if you want something that just works, look at other options on our list.
At number three comes the best-looking app on the list. Just like others, it lives in the system tray and saves all your copied material as clips. However, unlike Paste it trades heavily on features for its looks. Pasting your clips takes more effort. Once you click on a clip it copies it and then you will have to manually paste it. With Paste, you can just drag and drop or click to paste on the cursor head. Here, you can neither drag and drop to paste nor create a folder to organise your clips. It does let you mark a clip important by using ‘stars’. If you are looking for a good looking clipboard manager for Windows, check out 1Clipboard.
Arsclip is the easiest and simplest clipboard manager on our list. Once launched, it saves all your clips. When you hit the keyboard hotkey it will open a small window. Clicking on any clip will paste it at the present cursor head. One neat feature is that colour codes the clip which you paste. This makes it easier to know which clips you have already used. You can also pin a clip at the top. This feature is helpful if you have a clip which you know you are going to use frequently. It also lets you take a screenshot of your desktop and save it inside the app. It might be not as good looking or as feature rich as Paste but it gets the job done efficiently. If you are looking for a simple clipboard manager which just works, give Arsclip a try.
5. Copy Space
Copy Space is quite different from Paste or the other clipboard managers on our list for that matter. Firstly, it follows a very different design language. It opens like a windowed app and does not live in the system tray. Once launched you can close the window and it will run in the background saving all your clips. It can also sync through Google Drive, however, it is a paid feature.
It is also the only app on this list which is available on Windows Store. With the launch of Windows 10 S, this might be the only option for a lot of users out there. However, it has a lot of catch-up to do if it wants to compete with our top picks. It severely lacks in functionality and there are bugs here and there. Sometimes, it just fails to save a clip. Selecting a clip and pasting it is also not very intuitive. As mentioned, it has lots to improve upon but it is an app worth keeping an eye on for the future.
Install: (Free, with in-app purchases)
Bonus: Cloud Clipboard by Microsoft
The popularity of third party clipboard managers has made even the Microsoft acknowledge their importance. Microsoft is yet to release a clipboard manager which can store and manage multiple clips at a time, but they are making some improvements. In their latest Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, they have included a new feature called cloud clipboard. The idea here is that a user can copy something on their windows machine and then paste it on their mobile devices including Android and iOS. We are hopeful that this might pave the way for a first party clipboard manager for Windows in the future.
SEE ALSO: 15 Best Windows Tools for Power Users
The Best Clipboard Managers and Paste Alternatives You Can Use
You might think that you do not need an extra app and the inbuilt clipboard which comes with the OS is good enough for you. You would be wrong. It’s one of those tools you don’t know you need until you use it. The right clipboard manager will improve your productivity by reducing the loss of data and saving time. You might also feel that none of these apps are as good as Paste, but I would beg to differ. Firstly, apps on Windows and Mac follow a different design language. Also, all of them are free while Paste costs $9.99 on App Store. Considering these facts I would say the clipboard managers on Windows are as good as their Mac counterparts. So, give them a try and do tell us in comments below which one you think is the best one for you.