Ever since Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion) was released, there’s been controversy over the obvious influence of Apple’s iOS.
From gestures to scrolling to the overall interface, a good number of Mac users have complained that the Mac OS has become too similar to iOS. At the same time, there are people who wish OS X was more like iOS—or at least the good parts of it.
PopClip (also available on the Mac App Store) is sure to appeal to those in the latter category, although after testing it, I think even Mac traditionalists might be tempted. With PopClip running, any time you select text, in any application, you get an iOS-like popover with options appropriate for the context.
For example, if you select read-only text (such as in a Web browser, in a PDF document, or in an incoming email message), the popover offers options to Search that text in your default search engine, to copy the text, or—if you’ve selected a single word—to get the word’s definition. If the text includes one or more URLs, a single email address, or a file path, you also get an option to open the links in your default browser, send an email to the address, or reveal the file in the Finder, respectively. And if a selected word is misspelled, you can bring up a popover filled with suggested replacements. Click on any item in the popover to perform its action.
You can also use PopClip to more easily cut and paste text. If selected text is editable, the popover includes the option to cut; if you previously copied text using PopClip, you also get the option to paste the contents of the clipboard. Similarly, if you’ve copied text using PopClip, clicking anywhere in an editable document brings up a Paste popover.
The developer has provided a few useful options for tweaking PopClip. If a particular program doesn’t get along with PopClip—or if you’d just rather not see PopClip’s popovers in an app—you can add that program to PopClip’s excluded-apps list. You can also adjust the size of the popover, and you can disable specific types of commands (search, working with links, definitions, and spelling).
(Note: The current Mac App Store version of PopClip, 1.2.2, has a couple bugs, including one that causes the Firefox Web browser to launch whenever you launch PopClip. The developer is working on a fix, but you can currently download version 1.2.1 from the Pilotmoon website; this version is missing the Reveal in Finder option and a couple minor tweaks, but is otherwise similar to 1.2.2.)