Mention the convergence of iOS and OS X, and many Mac users contort with rage. The thought of OS X moving toward iOS is viewed by many as “dumbing down” the desktop system. There are ways in which OS X can become more efficient by borrowing from iOS, however. One way is through text manipulation, via an app called PopClip. On iOS, if you select text, a little box pops up above the text, with options that are dependent on the context in which the box was invoked. Choices could include Cut, Copy, Paste, text formatting (bold, italics, etc.), or more.
PopClip makes this pop up box appear on your Mac whenever you select text with your mouse or trackpad (it doesn’t work if you select text solely with your keyboard, unfortunately). It goes well beyond what iOS offers, though. Think of PopClip as iOS text manipulation on steroids.
PopClip ships out of the box with a some basic functionality, such as searching for the selected text, opening links, and text formatting, but where the app really shines is with its ability to add functionality through extensions. The developer, Pilot Moon, currently lists over 100 extensions on its site. For example, there are extensions that add the ability to send selected text to Evernote, create a note in nvALT, create a new task in OmniFocus (or a number of other task management apps), and save a URL to Pocket or Instapaper. I use the Evernote functionality with some frequency when I want to capture text snippets into an Evernote note – I highlight text, and send it into Evernote with one click.
If there is an app in which you don’t want PopClip to work its magic, don’t fret. There’s an “Excluded Apps” section within the preferences, that does just what it sounds like – select an app, and PopClip’s popup interface won’t appear within that app.
PopClip is a simple app, but one that can prove to be a big time saver the more that you use it. PopClip currently sells for $4.99 in the Mac App Store, and there is a free trial available on the Pilot Moon website.