PopClip is the Swiss Army knife macOS lacks

PopClip is a pop-up menu for macOS that enables myriad actions every time you highlight text, making commonly performed actions easier to access and execute. Here's how PopClip works.

Image: Apple

I'm always on the lookout for macOS utilities that improve the way I use my computer every day, and I'm always excited to I discover an app that saves time, adds efficiency, or simplifies using my Mac. PopClip, Pilotmoon Software's $9.99 program that generates a minimally invasive pop-up menu that appears whenever you select text, is such a tool.

SEE: How to get the most from Apple's free productivity apps: 9 tips (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

With more than 100 free extensions, PopClip's functionality is easily customized to enable performing specific actions whenever text is highlighted within macOS. You can set the program to automatically load at startup (Figure A).

Figure A


With PopClip active, a small, elegant pop-up window appears whenever you highlight text (Figure B).

Figure B


Depending upon the options you specify, you can choose to make all the selected text uppercase with a single click, look up the highlighted selection in the dictionary, or convert Markdown text to HTML. Extensions are available for all the following actions, among numerous others:

  • Format highlighting
  • Place quotation marks
  • Enclose within brackets
  • Capitalize specified text using typical spelling conventions
  • Search the selected string within one of numerous different browsers or translators
  • Create new Notes, Stickies, or OneNote entries
  • Create a new task within OmniFocus, Things 3, or Todo
  • Search the selected string within the Maps app
  • Track packages
  • Create calendar entries
  • Create a new email or text message
  • Search Wikipedia
  • Search online vendors
  • Compose a tweet
  • Perform numeric calculations

How do you configure PopClip?

How you choose to configure PopClip is up to you, but the actual process is straightforward. Just download the extension from the PopClip site, click the blue OK button that appears onscreen (assuming PopClip is active) to enable the extension, and begin using the corresponding action whenever you highlight text.

If you change your mind regarding actions you wish to use whenever text is highlighted, it's easy to adjust settings. Click the PopClip icon from the macOS Menu Bar and click the extensions icon to adjust active actions. You can also click the gear icon to change the pop-up menu's size or select the excluded icon to specify apps from which PopClip operation should be disabled.

How did you work without PopClip?

Just as Swiss Army knives and handy multi-tools typically become favorites among their owners, so too do such programs. PopClip is useful and similar to many tools that must be seen and used to truly appreciate. Like Magnet, which permits quickly resizing and relocating active windows, PopClip is one of those apps that, if you take a few moments to install it, you end up using repeatedly throughout the day and wondering how you lived without. For less than $10, I found PopClip a gamble worth taking, and I'm glad I made the wager.

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