ClipTools: How To Use Smart Clips
Thursday February 2, 2023. 05:00 PM , from MacMost
Smart clips let you paste text with extra programmable elements. You can use previously copied clipboard items, ask for input, select from a list, a current or future date and more.
Check out ClipTools: How To Use Smart Clips at YouTube for closed captioning and more options.
Video Transcript: Hi, this is Gary with MacMost.com. Let's take a look at using Smart Clips in Clip Tools.
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So Clip Tools is a free utility that I created as part of what I offer here at MacMost. To see an overview of what Clip Tools does checkout this introduction video. In this video I'm going to take a close look at Smart Clips, a powerful way to paste information using Clip Tools. Now you can read all about Smart Clips and everything else Clip Tools does at MacMost.com/Clip Tools. If you scroll down to the Smart Clips section right here you can see everything I'm going to talk about.
So Clip Tools appears here in the Menu Bar. Smart Clips is one of the items here. You can add a new Smart Clip here and we're going to do that using an example of replying to an email. So suppose you get an email message like this that's got order information. Here we have three pieces of information that we want to use inside of text that we want to paste somewhere. So we would note that we would probably copy the name first, the product order second, and the quantity third. Then they would appear in reverse order up here. So like this, copy, copy, and copy. Then we would see here that the third item would be the name, the second item would be the product, and the third would be the quantity. So now we can create a Smart Clip that looks something like this. So that should be the name, the product, and the quantity. We'll click Add. So now when we compose an email message we could use this Smart Clip like this. Select it here and paste everything in. You can see the name. You can see the product and the number all taken from the last three things copied.
Another example might be doing some research. So, for instance, if you're on a page like this you might want to copy the URL up here first. Then also a title and then maybe a pertinent piece of information. You can see these here as the last three things. If I wanted to paste that somewhere to keep notes on what I was doing I could go in and create a Smart Clip that I could reuse. Something like this where I do the title, that was the second thing, then I could use Option and Return to put a new line in there. Just a Return would trigger the OK button. Then I could put URL and Clip 3, Option Return and then I could put that piece of information which would be in the first clip. Then I could put two more returns like that and then OK. Now when I use this Smart Clip here it pastes things in like that. So now when I'm at another page I could do the same thing. Copy the URL. Copy the title. Copy a piece of information like that and use the same Smart Clip and paste it in just like I want.
Now the next item I want to show is doing a date. So with a date you can put date colon and then a date format. Now the date formats refer back to another function in here where you can paste the date or paste the time. You see some examples of formats you can use. Then there is a link here to go to a page that gives you all the details about how to format the date really anyway you want. You have to pay special attention to exactly how you write things out, especially whether using capital or lower case letters in this notation here. So let's say when I create documents at the top of every document I need to put something standard like Document Date colon and then the date like using the month and day and year format like that. Well, instead of having to type that all out every time I could do it as a Smart Clip. So I'll add a new Smart Clip here and I'll do Document Date and then I use the date function here and do M/d/yyyy and then I'll even do Option Return, put a new line there, and when I use this it inserts it and you can see it uses the actual current date, this is the date when I'm filming this, and then tomorrow would be the 26th and all that. It would always be the current date.
However, let's say in an email message you need to put the date there for some reason. So we could take this, I'm actually going to Copy this and then I'm going to go to Smart Clips and Add New. I could paste this in here and we could put a date format here. So let's use a format like this. We can see from the help page that that's going to be the day of the week, this is going to be the month spelled out and we can use this instead. Now I can go in here, Smart Clips, you can see how it puts the date like that.
The only problem is what I really want to do is have tomorrow's date. Well, you can do that if you go to Smart Clips. I'm going to edit this clip by holding down the Option Key. You can see how these change to Edit. So now I can go in here and Edit the Smart Clip. I could put a pipe character, on American Keyboards that's the character just above the return key. Just a straight up and down line. Then I can do Plus and then the number of seconds. This is the number of seconds in a day. So by adding a whole days worth of seconds to this it would actually put tomorrow's date instead of todays. So now if I try this it will put tomorrow's date. You could put any number of seconds there. So enough seconds for two days, three days, etc. Then I don't even have to include a full date. It might actually make more sense, in this case, just to include the day of the week like that. So now, I'm filming this on a Wednesday, if I use the Smart Clip it will put Thursday there.
So the next item I want to look at is just simply Ask. Ask will just prompt for some input. You type that input and then it will insert that in a larger piece of text. So, for instance, you could have a Smart Clip that's like this. Most of this is just regular text. But after the dollar sign character it is going to ask for something called current balance. Current Balance, that's just a prompt. It could be anything you want. So if I were to use this here in this email message I can go and you'll see will ask for current balance. I'll type, like, 56. Then OK and then you see it inserts the 56 in that location. I could go and have multiple asks. So I could do something like this. To ask for the number of items like that. Then you would get a message like this pasted in. You could ask for something else and it puts this here and this here.
Now instead of asking for input you can ask to just to choose from several items. So, for instance, here I've got the Pick function. I have three different things that you could pick from separated with those pipe characters. So now it is going to prompt us for one of those. So let's use this and you could see it asks for one of these. I actually don't need to use the pointer for this. I could use the arrow keys just to keep my hands on the keyboard. I could select one and then hit return and then return again will select it. I've also set this up so that you're not limited by just those things. I could type something in here and it will insert that instead. So if you have a situation where you have three or four or five typical answers you can use the Pick function knowing that you could also put other answers there if you want.
Now in addition to Pick there's also Random which works kind of in the same way except it's not going to ask you. Just going to choose one of these things at random. So if I were to use it here one time you could see it says Have an excellent Day. But the next time I use it, it is going to choose something different which is going to be random each time.
Now the last item here is actually to use the Selection. So whatever you have selected at the time that you use the Smart Clip. So let's say you're writing documents and you have some sort of standard format that all URL's need to be in. You could create a Smart Clip like this and then have a parenthesis, the word link colon then the selection before close parenthesis. So if I were to select this and then activate the Smart Clip it will simply take what was selected and use that inside what's pasted from the Smart Clip.
Now you can also have something like this where it uses selection multiple times in the pasted text. So you can take this piece of text here, select it, then go to Smart Clips and then replace it with some other text but it took the selection and used it in two places in what it pasted.
You can combine the functions of Smart Clips in all sorts of ways. For instance in this text I'm going to take what was just copied and that's going to be the order number. Then I'm going to also use the date right here adding one day and I'm going to pick a random thing here at the end to say. So, in this email message here I'm going to select the order number from the subject line. Copy and then in a new email message I'm going to use this Smart Clip here and you could see it took what I last copied, the thing that's right here at the top, and put the day right there, and chose an excellent as the random part.
Now here's the modifier keys that you can use with Smart Clips. If you hold down the Shift key it will move one of the items to the top. So, if that last one we used is really important and you want to use it all the time you can move it up to the top and now you can see, in Smart Clips, that's the top item. Also notice that by holding the pointer over it the Tool Tip here to the right shows the entire Smart Clip. Of course I showed you how to use Option to edit a Smart Clip. You can use Shift and Option together to remove one that you no longer need.
One tip is if you have a long Smart Clip you may not want to edit it in the little editor inside of Clip Tools. In the future I may have a larger text editing area. But you can always use something like TextEdit to create a long Smart Clip. Make sure everything is right and then Copy and then Paste it into the Smart Clip editing area here to add it. This works especially well if you've got lots of different lines. It's easier to compose that, say, in TextEdit and paste it in than it is to work with it in here.
Now you don't have to go to the Menu here to use Smart Clips. You can use Keyboard Shortcuts. So the first thing you want to do is go to Settings and make sure you've got a global keyboard shortcut set for Activate Menu. Okay, so I've got Shift, Command, C for that. So now if I use Shift Command C it goes right to the menu. I didn't actually have to use the pointer to do it. Notice the first ten Smart Clips are all assigned to
F Keys. So if I wanted to use, say, this one here I would use F5. Of course you may need to hold down the fn key on your keyboard depending upon your System Settings. But I could do Shift Command C and then just do F5 and you could see I get that Smart Clip pasted in without ever having to use the trackpad or mouse.
Now you can also set a Hot Key for the first or second Smart Clip if you really want. So if you use something a lot, like let's say this one right here, we can use Shift to move that to the top. So now that is the top one. If we wanted to assign a Hot Key to it we could set it, I'm going to assign Shift Command M to that. Set it to Paste Smart Clip one. So now I can do it with just a Shift Command M.
So that's how you use Smart Clips. All that information is available here at the Clip Tools Help Page so you can just refer to this every time you need to create a Smart Clip. They are easy to create, remove, and edit so you can kind of play around with them to get things just right. I hope you find Clip Tools useful. Thanks for watching.
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Get ClipTools here: https://macmost.com/cliptools
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