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Clipboard History Switcher

The Clipboard History Switcher is in essence a Clipboard Manager. Whenever you copy something from any app, the Keyboard Maestro Engine saves a copy of the System Clipboard at that time to the Clipboard History file.

The Clipboard History Switcher (CHS) allows you to:

  • Save a copy of the System Clipboard every time you make a copy from anywhere.
  • Paste any previous saved clipboard in your History
  • View all of the Clipboards in your History
  • Perform special operations before you paste, like convert to plain text
  • Merge multiple Clipboards into one new Clipboard
  • Paste multiple Clipboards with a user-selected delimiter
  • Trigger Your Custom Macros to operate on the selected Clipboard.
  • Saves up to 200 items (the number is user adjustable in the Hidden Clipboard Preferences).

A typical display of the Clipboard History Switcher looks like this:

 Clipboard History Switcher Window

How To Use

Display the CHS

The Clipboard History Switcher is displayed using the Activate Clipboard History Switcher Action. You can find a Macro that uses this Action in the Switcher Group Macro Group (which comes installed with Keyboard Maestro).

Pasting from the CHS

  • To Paste the Selected Clipboard as is, do any of these:
    • Double-Click on the Clipboard
    • Press RETURN or ENTER key
    • Click on the Paste button
    • Right-click on the Clipboard and select “Paste”
    • Drag Clipboard onto App document
  • Hold the Shift key while pressing return or double clicking to paste as plain text.


Most of these Toolbar buttons operate on the selected Clipboard. There are currently no keyboard shortcuts for these tools.

Toolbar Buttons

  • Information i button
    • You can include information about the clipboard entry (index, time copied, size) by toggling this button.
  • Close CHS x button
    • Whether the switcher closes when you paste something is controlled by this button.
  • Mark as Favorite Button
    • You can mark entries as favorites, in which case they will never be removed from the clipboard history.
  • Search Box
    • Enter text to filter for Clipboards that contain that text
    • Click the Search Icon to show Only Favorites
  • Send Button
    • Send Selected Clipboard(s) via email?? FIXME
  • Delete Button
    • Delete Selected Clipboard(s)

Gear & Context Menu

This menu is available by either clicking on the Gear Button on a Clipboard, or by right-clicking anywhere on a Clipboard.

Most of the these menu items are designed to operate on one or more Clipboards, and produce a new Clipboard, which can later be pasted if desired.

  • Paste the Clipboard
  • Set the System Clipboard
  • Remove styles
  • Convert Text to an image
  • Processing by Your Custom Macros
    • Any active macros that have the Clipboard Filter trigger will be displayed in this menu.
    • These Macro operate on the selected clipboard(s)
  • Arrow Keys
    • You can press arrow keys to scroll through the clipboard entries
      * Drag/Drop Clipboards
    • You can also drag Clipboards to a new location in the History
    • If it becomes the first Clipboard, then it will replace the current System Clipboard
    • Drag text and images out from the clipboard switcher to other applications.

Operating on Multiple Clipboards

Select two or more Clipboards (using standard macOS multiselection), and then you can:

  • Paste them as a single unit, or
  • Press ⌘C to merge them to the System Clipboard.
    The Gear menu includes a selection for the separator to include between each item when pasting multiple entires. If multiple images are selected, merging them creates a single larger image (horizontally or vertically, depending on the separator).

Other Operations

  • Passwords – Clipboard entries that resemble passwords are obscured, deleted after they reach position ten in the clipboard history, and not saved to disk. You can option click on an obscured password to reveal it.
  • Send to another Mac
    • You can send clipboards to another Mac running Keyboard Maestro.
      • The receiving Mac will show the received clipboard entries in the clipboard history (assuming the Keyboard Maestro Web Server is enabled on the destination Mac).

      * Switch Between Normal Clipboard History and Named Clipboard Switchers

    • You can toggle to the Named Clipboard Switcher by clicking on the 🕘 button.


Excluding Clipboards from Selected Apps

Keyboard Maestro keeps a copy of everything you copy automatically each time you copy something. You can exclude certain applications (for example, badly behaved applications or applications that often have very large clipboards) using the Preferences > Excluded Preferences Panel in the Keyboard Maestro Editor app.

Hidden Preferences

The default Maximum Number of Items stored in the Clipboard History is 200.

This along with several other features may be changed with the Hidden Clipboard Preferences

By default, Keyboard Maestro creates a Clipboard History Switcher macro in the “Switcher Group” Macro Group, triggered by Command-Control-Shift-V. You can disable the Macros by selecting them in the Macros window pane and clicking the button.

Keyboard Maestro also has many macros in the Macro Library, such as macros for Paste Plain Text (Command-Shift-V) and Paste Previous Clipboard (Command-Control-V).

manual/Clipboard_History_Switcher.1623287564.txt.gz · Last modified: 2021/06/09 21:12 by peternlewis