Pilotmoon’s PopClip is a tiny Mac OS X utility that makes your mouse more capable of handling text-based operations, thanks to some lessons learnt on iOS. With PopClip installed, you can easily cut, copy and paste text, look words up in a dictionary and perform Google searches, all without ever touching the keyboard.
Available for $4.99 on the Mac App Store (with a free trial version on the developer’s website), the app puts an icon in your menu bar upon launch, which gives you a quick toggle to turn PopClip on or off. It also provides a smattering of configuration options, so you can customise it as you want. You can set it to open upon login, remove the menu bar icon, change the size of its pop-ups and disable some of its features.
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With the app running, whenever you select text using the mouse, it will bring up a small menu with options to search for it on Google (which opens in a new tab if you are using your Web browser), cut or copy the text, replace it with previously copied text or look it up in the dictionary.
The software is intelligent enough to not bother you when you select text using the keyboard, because it is obviously easier to do the copy-paste actions using keyboard shortcuts. Even when used with the mouse, it is fairly unobtrusive. It appears on top of the text and, if you do not use it, disappears shortly after you move the mouse.
To paste whatever you have copied into an empty text box, you need to double-click on it to bring up PopClip’s paste option. However, double-clicking in empty text boxes causes Mac OS X to sound its little Funk alert, which can get annoying after a while. If PopClip found a way to silence that, the paste feature would become more useful.
It can also detect links and email addresses in any text you select, even if they are not hyperlinked, and give you the option to open them. However, the word lookup feature, instead of bringing up its meaning in the inline dictionary, opens the Dictionary app on Mac OS X, which we thought was less than ideal.
You can also use PopClip to correct a misspelled word, in those cases where the system does not do so automatically. And if you’d rather not have it pop up in a certain app, the settings under its menu bar icon allow you to add it to the excluded apps list.
Although we did find some instances where PopClip would fail to appear after selecting something with the mouse, those situations were rare enough to not be much of a hassle. In fact, PopClip has achieved near perfect integration with Mac OS X and seems like a default feature of the operating system. For that alone, it is worth its asking price.