What's your use case for Named Clipboards?

Curious to learn how other people use these. It looks like a cool feature, but can't think of a way I'd use them for me.

I use them when I want to store information semi-long-term that I can't store in a variable, such as formatted text, images etc, and when I don't want to risk losing it by using the system clipboard.

I also use them to store images that I use to set my Stream Deck button icons, but I imagine that's a case-use that few would benefit from.

I also keep images.
It’s more practical to store them in there and then reference them in one place.
Also makes updating macros that use them a breeze since there’s only one image to replace in a single place, and all macros that reference that image automatically use the updated one.

Stupid question (beginner here), but can you store multiple things in one named clipboard that I can choose from to paste?

Yes, see Clipboards [Keyboard Maestro Wiki], especially the "Paste from History" section.


Do you have an example of what is your goal and your current flow?

Ideally I’d like to have a bunch of pre-written emails that I can pick from depending on the enquiry. Would be great to have done way to browse and select the one I need.

Do you need to browse -- ie see a preview -- of the responses? Or could you just display a pick list prompt that let you choose which named clipboard to paste into the response?

Depending on your email client and the desired mail format, you may be able to drive this even further with a set of mail-merge style templates that you could choose from then automatically customise. You might not want to do this yet, but it's worth keeping such stretch goals in mind from the start so you don't have to do a huge refactoring operation later...

Funnily enough I've just been setting up a set of such responses for my own use. Here's how I chose to do it:

  1. create a new macro group (called "Replies" or whatever you want);
  2. set the "enable" options for the macro group so that it will only apply to your mail application(s) and any other applications you want the replies to be accessible from;
  3. for each reply, make a macro and give it a name that describes to you the purpose of the reply, with a unique letter, followed by a space, added to the front;
  4. the action for each macro is "insert text by typing", containing the relevant reply;
  5. set a trigger type to suit your use case (I use "typed string trigger" for when editing the text in a reply).
  6. make sure that the trigger type and value are the same for each of those new macros.

Now when you trigger your macros, in the applications you specified, they will appear listed in the Conflict palette (aka fluffy bunnies' picnic palette). Press the relevant key to choose the reply.


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To bring this back on topic..! If there's a better way, using a named clipboard, I would be interested to see it. Conflict palettes are my default method, without doubt. :slight_smile:

IMO there's two separate questions here:

  1. Given multiple responses, how to choose which to use
  2. The best way to store/insert the data

For the first it's multiple hotkey triggers (could still be only one macro), a single hotkey and conflict palette (multiple macros), a single hotkey and pick-list (one or multiple macros), and probably more options I haven't thought of.

For the second it'll really depend on the app and the data. For example, it's pretty trivial to programmatically make a new outgoing plain text Mail message, but a lot harder to to do a rich text version -- pasting from Named Clipboards could be good solution for the latter.

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Yes, well defined.

My comment about conflict palettes was just a playful admission that I probably should widen my repertoire when writing macros, but you are right of course that we need always to break down the problem into the relevant questions!

Yes, interesting... I have only ever sent text emails, over many years - and these days use MailMate, which is text-only... so that use case didn't occur to me!


there are some KM macros that use the Prompt, I remember a teacher here in the forums worked on one, to help create quicker responses.

I use named Clipboards to paste in static and variable vector artwork into Adobe Illustrator templates. The only downside is I have to go back to KM to load the System Clipboard with the Named Clipboard before continuing the workflow.

An upside is the Vector Clipboard info is SVG that is searchable and can be tested for content.


That's really creative Craig!