Missing Clipboard Previews in KM Preferences in Big Sur?

I recently updated to Big Sur from High Sierra. For the most part the transition went very smoothly, with one exception: I can no longer see a preview of custom clipboards when looking in preferences. Is this a known issue?

This screen image illustrates the issue. The selected Clipboard has graphic content that was visible in High Sierra and, I believe, Catalina, but is blank in Big Sur. But it pastes fine.

The content is mostly vector artwork created in Adobe Illustrator.

Hey Ray,

All saved clipboards?

What about new ones?



What happens if you paste it back into a new saved clipboard?


Created a new "Test" clipboard. No preview, but content pastes from clipboard just fine.

Saving a screen image previews correctly.

I went from Adobe Illustrator 2015 to 2020 in addition to updating to Big Sur. But many of the named clipboards have content from AI 2015. It must have something to do with the SVG preview in Big Sur/KM. The AI "Clipboard" settings is set to "SVG" for "Copy".

I tried with and without "Include SVG Code" and there is still no preview. SVG is necessary because it allows me to test for a text string in the clipboard content.

As mentioned, the clipboards still work, but I miss the KM preview for quick reference/troubleshooting.

Hey @peternlewis,

I've no idea if this is simply B.S. [sic] being problematic, or it's something you can fix.

In any case – it should be on your trouble-list if it's not already.


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If it is specific to Illustrator, I would presume the images cannot be displayed by whatever system API I am using to display the images.

Do they show up in the Clipboard History?

If you select one and use the Set Clipboard to Image:


does that make an image that can be displayed?

If you save the clipboard to a .tiff file using the Write to a File action, does that work?

The vector clipboard does NOT show up in Clipboard History Switcher.

Choosing "Set Clipboard to Image" does nothing that I can tell.

Choosing "Set Clipboard to Plain" previews the SVG text.

Using "Write to a File" action produces this Failure notification:

Illustrator Vector Named Clipboards produced a preview in High Sierra. They disappeared in Catalina and Big Sur (I have not tested Mojave).

OK, so basically it looks like SVG is not being supported as a displayable image.

Certainly Keyboard Maestro has no specific code for displaying images, it relies on the system, and it seems like the system is not considering them images.

I'm not sure there is much I can do about that.

If you put one in a Named Clipboard, and send me (via email to support@stairways.com) your Keyboard Maestro Clipboards.kmchunked and the name of the clipboard, then I can take a look at the data and see if there is something that is displayable that Keyboard Maestro is missing currently.

Note the file will contain all your Named Clipboards, so you will need to ensure there is nothing overly confidential in them.

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I do not know if this relates to what the system can do. But you can Quick Look a SVG-file. So in that way the system sees it as an image.

Yes, and SVG Clipboards were viewable in KM under High Sierra.

Sent. Thanks!

OK, so there is no good flavor included in the clipboard.

  • public.utf8-plain-text
  • public.utf16-plain-text
  • com.apple.traditional-mac-plain-text
  • com.apple.pict
  • com.adobe.illustrator.svgm
  • com.adobe.pdf
  • com.adobe.illustrator.svg

Of those, the only one that NSImage can read is com.apple.pict and it either fails to read it, or it is corruptly created by Illustrator, because it reads the pict as a 0x0 image. I have added code to exclude that, and then since nothing else is readable as an image, Keyboard Maestro will display it as text showing the svg.

While QuickView in the system can display SVG, NSImage cannot read SVGs.

As such, Keyboard Maestro does not display them. If they become supported by NSImage, then they should be displayed by Keyboard Maestro, assuming the com.adobe.illustrator.svg flavor is recognised as a valid SVG case.

As to why they were viewable in Keyboard Maestro under High Sierra, I'd guess that the issue is actually that the PICT format (which dates back to Class Mac OS in 1984!) is no longer supported, but Apple did not actually remove conformance of the type com.apple.pict as an image even though they removed support for reading and parsing the image type.

So the two hopes for improvement would be NSImage supporting SVG, or Illustrator including a more modern image rendering of the image, eg a PNG or TIFF.


@peternlewis, thank you for your thorough explanation. I will report this on the Adobe "Feature Request" site. Although I do not expect much response.