I make my living as a writer (or
at least, I try to), and because of that I need to store text,
articles, and graphics all day. When gathering research, I need to
keep copies of what I find, so that I can paste them into documents
for easy access. When writing books, I need to store special coding
that I have to insert into my manuscript so that the typesetting
comes out right. And I also have email signatures I like to pop into
certain emails. In fact, like most people, I have a need for storing
reusable boilerplate text of all kinds.
I can't use the XP Clipboard to do any of that for
me, though. As far as it goes, the Clipboard is fine—a kind of
waystation where you can store a single clip at a time before you pop
the clip into another application. But it doesn't
store more than a single clip at a time, so it isn't
suitable for my needs.
Instead of the Clipboard, I use ClipCache Plus (http://www.clipcache.com), which is shareware
and free to try, and $19.95 if you decide to keep using it.
It captures all clips and lets me
organize them into folders and then reuse any clip when I need it, as
shown in . As you can see, it retains all
formatting of the original clip. It captures
files of any
kind—including graphics, spreadsheets, and word processing
files, as well as others—and gives you details about all your
saved clips, including their date and time of capture, size, format,
and application from which they were captured.
Figure 1. Storing and reusing multiple clips with ClipCache Plus
ClipCache is far more useful than the
Office clipboard, which also stores
multiple clips. The Office clipboard stores only a dozen clips at a
time, while ClipCache lets you store as many as you want. ClipCache
lets you organize your clips into folders, which the Office clipboard
doesn't do. The Office clipboard captures clips only
when you're working with Office, while ClipCache
captures clips from any application. And the Office clipboard
doesn't have a variety of other ClipCache features,
such as the ability to clean up clips by removing line breaks.
You don't need to do
anything to start storing clips with the program. Just install it and
it starts saving them for you automatically. But
you'll want to organize your clips into
folders (which the program
calls groups), by right-clicking on the
small book symbol in the Groups pane and choosing New Group. Once
you've created a new group, if you want to put new
clips into it, right-click on the group and choose Activate Group.
From now on, new clips will be saved into the group.
That's what I did when I started writing this book;
I created a group called Hacks and started collecting my favorite
To paste a clip into an
application, run ClipCache—either by double-clicking on its
icon in the Notification Area, or by pressing the hot-key
you've defined for it (for example,
Ctrl-Shift-C)—then double-clicking on the clip you want to
paste. You can then paste it as you would any other clip, by using
Ctrl-V or Shift-Insert. For a quick shortcut, right-click on
ClipCache's icon, then clip within a group you want
to paste, as shown in .
Figure 2. Using a shortcut for faster pasting
There's one more feature
that I use all the time and that by itself is worth the price of the
program—the ability to
clean up text by taking out
linebreaks, extra spaces, and indentations. This is particularly
useful if you want to clean up email and reuse the text in it,
especially if the email is part of a chain in which there are extra
spaces and line breaks added and in which the > symbol is used to
precede text quoted from a previous email. For example, look at the
text at the bottom of the screen in .
It's part of an email I received, and it is full of
extra spaces and > symbols because it was quoted from a previous
Figure 3. Text from an email, filled with indents and extra > characters
To clean it up, I choose Text → Cleanup Text and tell it to
remove email indents and the > symbols. As you can see in , ClipCache cleans out all extraneous
characters and indents.
Figure 4. The cleaned-up clip
There's a lot more to this program as well, such as
the ability to drag and drop clips between groups, edit clips, merge
clips, and more. But for me, the simple ability to organize clips,
save them in groups, and clean up emails is its strength.
One limitation is that ClipCache won't copy
HTML-formatted text across <table>