Blog Post

Quicksilver Screencast: The Clipboard

More often than not when Quicksilver is blogged, the topic focuses on simply launching apps or some other pretty basic use. But here on TAB, I’ve tried to show some of the more advanced features of this amazing program. Recently David at TUAW got down with the Quicksilver screencasts too, and did a great piece on Quicksilver and iCal. (Even if you’re not an iCal user, I’d say it’s worth checking it out.) So today I’m back with another slightly a-typical use for Quicksilver, accessing your Clipboard.

If you find yourself copying and pasting lots of stuff on your mac, it either drives you crazy going back and forth between windows, or you’ve adapted and now use something like iClip, or Shadow Clipboard, or another similar offering. As a personal opinion, these are just too invasive. They take up screen space, and for the most part I have to use my mouse to access them, or learn all new keyboard shortcuts just for these apps. They’re great programs, but I just can’t roll this way.

So the following is a video demonstration – screencast for you hip boys and girls – of how I access my clipboard history with a couple keystrokes using Quicksilver. It’s always there waiting, out of sight until I need it. Then it’s there, does it’s thing, and it’s gone in a flash. Perfect.

Without further ado…
Quicksilver and The Clipboard
(45.6MB / 10:21mins / 716 x 446)

UPDATE: For those having trouble getting the “Clipboard History” and “Show Contents” items, I’ve been trying to track them down. Check the comments below for more information.

UPDATE #2: Found the clipboard history item – here’s how to get it.

46 Responses to “Quicksilver Screencast: The Clipboard”

  1. hi, i am a quicksilver junckie, but i don’t get quicksilver’s clipboard history thing yet.
    i understand your screencast. but in quicksilver built-in guide, it says i can copy the item just by double-clicking it or type the number next to the item. However, it doesn’t work for me.
    I’m using the latest version right now.
    Can you help me with this? thanx

  2. Igor Blomberg


    Grat screencast. Still having problems finding the Shelf plugin though. I did as you said in the comment above, but i still cant find a Shelf plugin in the Plugins menu. There is one Shelf Module, is that the same thing?
    Also there is a Shelf and Clipboard in the Catalog, although it is in Catalog -> Modules instead of in Catalog -> Quicksilver. Am i running a older version than you where n the screencast?

    Thankful for any help!

  3. I cant make this work on my installation.
    I’m running B51. I cant find Clipboard History, I can find a Clipboard Contents…

    Do you know if there’s a great deal of difference between what you were using when you put together this demo, and the release of QS that i am running?


  4. You can hide The clipboard history window to the edge of your screen. Just drag the clipboard history window to the edge of screen and it will disappear. Using mouse point could bring it back!

  5. I had problems getting it to work. I had to do the following:

    Catalog Tab->Quicksilver->Shelf & Clipboard->Set “Rescan” to manual

    Then I clicked the button to “rescan the source” and everything was there.

    Then I changed rescan back to Every 10 minutes

    Hope this helps

  6. I still miss Butler’s great clipboard history feature, but it doesn’t make sense to install Butler just for that – so this will do for now. Thanks for the tip.

    By the way, the Paste command is very buggy. I only got it to work once, and all other times it crashed the app it was trying to paste in. Copying first and then pasting doesn’t make any sense, especially when you are coding, but I will have to get used to it for now, as this is still better than the other options out there (PopCopy, Jumpcut, etc.)

  7. Christian

    Hello Nick,

    Thanks for the great screencast. I use iKey because back in the day QS wasn’t all that but it appears that QS has come a long way.

    In any event, one thing that I absolutely LOVED about your screencast was the desktop wallpaper!!! Where did you get it! Is there some kind of theme that you have on your mac? cause the way the windows closed looked like they faded before they closed.

    Anything you can tell me would be greatly appreciated. Am looking forward to your reply with great anticipation.

  8. Howard – thanks!

    With the questions here in the comments, I fell back to the Quicksilver documentation (for the first time). So later when I saw your name in comments I knew where I’d seen it. good timing I guess.
    As I was going through the Doc, I saw that you basically use Quicksilver for the clipboard the same way. Cool! I’d use my dad’s comment of “great minds think alike” but I won’t do you the disservice of lumping you in with me… ;) Thanks for the great work on Quicksilver and the Documentation.

  9. leafy – most of what you saw in the screencast was staged so I could demonstrate things a certain way. Same with my home folder. I just made sure that before I started recording the screencast, the last thing I’d brought up in Quicksilver was my home directory – rather than already have it on ‘clipboard history’. No special magic to default there – but you could always create a trigger!

  10. Not sure where my previous comment went but hope you can answer my question….

    Nick, when you invoke QS in your screencast, your home folder appears by default, how do you do this? Is it set up in preferences, if so, could you tell us how?


    It appears that in addition to the Clipboard module plugin, you ALSO need the Shelf plugin.
    Once that’s installed, you need to make sure that catalog item is indexed and available to you. here’s where to look:
    In Quicksilver Preferences
    Catalog ‘tab’
    Quicksilver Catalog
    Shelf & Clipboard
    click the ‘i’ for more info
    on the info screen, click the middle ‘tab’, “Contents”
    There you should see Clipboard History(QSPasteboardHistory)

    Here’s a screenshot to help you out.

    You’ll need to look in your Catalog under Quicksilver, and made sure that the “Internal Commands” are all checked. If checked, rescan that catalog and be sure they’re all registered with QS.
    You can even highlite Internal Commands and click the info button (lower right corner) and see if the corresponding (clipboard history) item is listed.

    I can’t find anything that says this shouldn’t be visible to all users. Perhaps ensure that you’ve enabled ‘Advanced Features’, but otherwise, I cannot find any documentation to show why or why not you’re seeing it… I’ll dig on my own system for this further tonight.

  13. I’ve got the same problem here, no “clipboard history”, even though i’ve got the current qs-version and a fresh installed clipboard-plugin (and some text in my clipboard, just to make sure…). I’m using a localized version of os x (german), so it has maybe something to do with it?

  14. Howard Melman

    Very good screencast. I liked how you took an overall approach to using the clipboard and showed the plugin, prefs, and a trigger. I also really liked that you showed changing the order of actions. Showing the Keyboard Viewer is very clever, but this time you went slow enough and mentioned each key you pushed so I don’t think it was necessary. It probably would have been worth showing the Clipboard History items in the Catalog as well.

    I think you should have mentioned that there’s a default opt-cmd-L binding that opens the clipboard history window. You said you prefer the that window to disappear after pasting, to achieve that change the “Hide after pasting” setting in prefs

    I use Paste all the time and am glad you showed it. I think it probably would be worth mentioning that the Copy to clipboard action makes a copy of the item in the top slot (and that cmd-v pastes what’s in the top slot) which is why the same text accumulates as the top 5 items by the end of screencast.

    Great job.

  15. well, I’d point you toward the (relatively boring) screencast I did of setting up Quicksilver. It basically runs through all the plugins and such that I’m using currently. The interface for QS prefs has changed a bit, but all the settings remain basically unchanged. that screencast is here.

    The sort of weak point in QS seems to be where all the actions come from. Installing plugins makes the app extremely powerful, but after you install a couple, you lose track of which actions came from where…

    So I’d suggest trying the setup screencast and then trying this clipboard screencast again.
    If this doesn’t work, please let me know, and I’ll delve deeper into QS tonight and try to find the exact answers for you.

  16. I can start clipboard history by invoking QS then pressing Cmd L. But I can’t open the clipboard history by typing it in QS. So I can’t add it as a trigger. What do I need to so?

  17. Rahul Sinha

    I have a fully updated QS instance, and the clipboard module is installed, but I don’t have the clipboard history action and the module window for the clipboard doesn’t register new entries, when I copy something.

    I have turned on clipboard recording in preferences.

    Does anyone have any ideas?

    PS what does a small circle with a verticle line within in mean, when it is next to an item in the Application section of the preferences tab?

    Thanks all