1. Computer Skills

Quick Tip: Manipulating Clipboard History With Launchbar 6

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When you copy an item on a Mac it’s saved to the clipboard history. There are many tools that let you manage the clipboard history but one of the best is Launchbar 6. In this quick tip I'll show you how to use it to access the clipboard history, combine multiple pieces of text into a single clipboard and purge your clipboard history of sensitive information.

Launchbar 6

Launchbar is one of my favourite apps. While originally an application launcher, its feature set has expanded to the extent that it’s a broad productivity tool with more than 1000 features. I’ve written before about how you can use it to speed up your workflow. Although that tutorial features Launchbar 5, most of the basics haven’t changed. You might find it useful to read that tutorial before continuing on with this one.

Accessing the Clipboard History

A Mac’s clipboard history can be accessed with Launchbar in a number of ways. The first is to activate Launchbar and simply enter the first few letters of Clipboard History as you would anything else you want to launch. 

The second is to activate Launchbar and instead use the keyboard shortcut Command-K

You can also activate Launchbar’s clipboard history directly by using the keyboard shortcut Command-Option-\.

Pasting Items From the Clipboard History

With Launchbar’s Clipboard History active, use the up-arrow and down-arrow keys to navigate the items available. To paste a particular item into a document, select it and press Return.

Combining Clipboard Items

As you copy items to your clipboard history, you can use a Launchbar feature called Clip Merge to combine them into a single item. This is really useful if you are copying several separate sentences that you want to combine together in one paragraph.

Select the first piece of text you want to copy and use the regular copy keyboard shortcut, Command-C. For the second, and subsequent, sentences, instead of using Command-C, use Command-C-C

Launchbar then merges all the copied text into a single item on the clipboard history allowing you to paste them all at once.

Clearing the Clipboard History

Depending on what you do, you may be working with text that you do not want available in the clipboard history once you’ve finished with it. Launchbar makes it really easy to clear the clipboard history. Activate Launchbar and enter the first few letters of Clear Clipboard History to select it. Press Return and Launchbar will purge the clipboard history.


In this quick tip I’ve shown you some of the many ways you can use Launchbar 6 to access and manipulate the clipboard history. It’s a really useful utility for when you are working with text. I use it all the time when I am creating lists of URLs to reference or combining different text documents.

If you have a great use for Launchbar 6’s clipboard history features please let me know in the comments below.

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