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Auto-push/pull clipboarder?

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If these don't quite suit your needs, have you thought of using a full-fledged macro program like Macro Express?

This sort of utility wouldn't be that hard to write from scratch.  Let me know if you can't make something work with any of the existing clipboard managers.

I finally managed playing a bit with ClipMate's trial version and particularly with their "PowerPaste" option as rjbull had pointed out (thanks again). I found the concept not as intuitive as I thought it should be, but I guess, this is the price for fitting into the bigger concept of the tool, and the main concepts made sense , once I had got more familiar with them. There are a few weak points in my opinion, but it actually might become more intuitive and faster to use with just a few improvements.

I tried two slightly different approaches, one using the "inbox" (standard clipboard list in ClipMate), and the other using a "collection" (folder like in CHS) that I explicitly created for this purpose (however, there are no options to dedicate a folder for this purpose, see below).
I think, using an explicit collection for this type of application makes more sense, because it separates the "stack" of clipboard items to be used for a specific paste sequence from the arbitrary stuff gathering together in the default "inbox".

How it works in ClipMate:

* Create a collection explicitly for the "PowerPaste" task (e.g named "PP" or "PowerPaste" or so; however, since there are no dedicated folder properties or implicit automatisms, the name is arbitrary)
* Before starting copy-to-clipboard, select the PP collection in the tree. If you re-use it, it's probably wise to delete the remainders from a previous usage (see below).
* Start copying things as required.
Note that the copied entries do only appear in the PP collection now, not in ClipMate's "inbox" folder. Generally, ClipMate's philosophy apparently is to have every entry in one folder only (you can only move entries, but not copy them, even though a "plus" icon during drag&drop implies a "copy" action).
* Activate PowerPaste mode in ClipMate window.
You have to select one or more entries, otherwise you cannot activate PowerPaste (which makes sense under certain circumstances, but can make the handling a little clumsy, see below).
If a single entry is selected, pasting starts with this entry and processes the rest of the list, even if the entries are not highlighted. If you select multiple entries, only those entries are processed during PowerPaste.
Note: The order, in which you highlight entries, does not matter for the paste order; pasting always starts at the first highlighted entry and steps through until the last highlighted entry (with the "PowerPaste Down" option; vice versa with the "PowerPaste Up" option);
(-) PowerPaste cannot be activated via hotkey from other applications, thus requires to use the mouse or to switch to the ClipMate window (via hotkey, e.g. Ctrl+Shift+Q), activate "PowerPaste" (Ctrl+U or Ctrl+D), switch back to the application (Alt+Tab) and then run the paste sequence.  I personally would prefer having an easier option to enable the PowerPaste option by keyboard; however, maybe this is not really an issue, because a paste sequence probably will include using the mouse for fast navigation, anyway.
Optional "Loop" mode: Starts over, if sequence is finished. A corresponding icon can be put to the icon bar (no default though). This mode cannot easily be enabled/disabled via keyboard (not even an active key in the menu option). It remains active even if the PowerPase sequence is switched off (which is sometimes good and sometimes unexpected...).
* Paste as usual
In the ClipMate window, the next entry to be pasted is highlighted. However (and this is particularly why the extra collection makes sense): you cannot see wich entries are actually part of the sequence, if you created the sequence by highlighting a number of clipboard entries instead of using the entire list. The approach works pretty well; due to the separate collection and its explicit scope, it is easier to see which entries are part of the PowerPaste sequence. Also, the order can be rearranged without interfering with the rest of the clipboard (rearranging could be more intuitive though; also, rearranging via keyboard should be possible). To start a new sequence, it proabably makes sense to select the folder, delete all entries (CTRL+A, DEL; entries are recoverable from the "trashcan") and then start the new copy sequence. For specific (recurring) paste sequences, it can make sense to use multiple different "explicit PP collections".

Ideas for CHS:
Since CHS's folders are similar to ClipMate's collections, I guess, something similar to the PowerPaste approach would be useful in CHS, too. However, here are some thoughts, how usability could be improved in my opinion, particularly to support several "load/shoot" actions one after the other with little overhead and to have a better control of the paste list during a ... well, let's call it "Sequenced paste" action for now. Please don't take this too literal though, I might have missed quite a few details …:

* There should be a sort of hotkey that enables/disables the Sequenced Paste mode from other applications, but leaves the focus in the current application (or returns it).

A note on the Quick-Paste option that is available in both ClipMate and CHS:
I did not find it very helpful for a paste sequence, because the focus and thus the way of processing switches during the action: The first paste action is performed in the Clipboard utility by double-clicking an entry in the list there, but since the focus goes back to the main application then, you have to use Ctrl+V or the menu there to continue with the further paste actions. Actually, I think, the interaction with the clipboard utility should be as little as possible during such load/shoot sequences. Ideally, the users get the feeling that they are exclusively dealing with their main application, because they have to spend quite a bit of energy and concentration to do the right assignments with their copy&paste sequences.
* It should be possible to assign folders in CHS's folder list to the sequenced paste actions by providing the following options:
Sequenced pasting:
Loop sequenced pasting:
      [Don't loop|Loop]
New "Copy" items during Sequenced paste: (should maybe set in the general options, not in the folder properties)
   Folder to be added to:   
      [Add to highlighted folder|Add to folder <xyz>|Add to default clipboard list]
   Position to be added at:
      [Add before current position|Add after current position|Add after last entry|Add before first entry]
Access via Sequenced Paste hotkey:
      (If the hotkey is pushed, all folders with an "on" option are stepped through one after the other)
Paste to specific application windows only
(use default clipboard list otherwise):
     [<list of regex or grep strings>*]
Accept Copy entries from specific application windows only
(use default clipboard list otherwise):
     [<list of regex or grep strings>*]
(* to be matched by application window; this way, it should be possible to address both application names and even file names)

* "Paste stack": If Sequenced Pasting is active, there should be an optional little panel near the mouse pointer that shows the paste list (or the most relevant part of it). This is actually similar to CHS's Quick-paste list and maybe could be realized in a similar way. However, the current Quick-Paste list is too bulky and too static for this purpose and does not reliably display the next entry to be pasted next to the mouse pointer, thus forces me to re-focus and to realign all the time (also, it does not follow the mouse pointer at all on a second monitor).
For example: If the list panel is below the mouse pointer, the next entry to be pasted should be the uppermost in the list; but if the mouse is too close to the lower screen border, the list panel should display on top of the mouse pointer and the list should be top down, showing the entry to be pasted as next at the bottom of the list to have it next to the mouse pointer (Would it be possible to fade the font color along the list with decreasing paste order to sort of visualize the relevance this way, too?). Also, ideally, the list has an adjustable transparency and maybe even an adjustable width and height (=number of entries displayed; I guess, I'd restrict it to displaying the next 5-8 entries to be pasted by default). 

If the loop mode is enabled, the pasted entries should be re-inserted at the end of the list, and a line or a color code should show the user where the loop point is (i.e. to show when the list is done)

If more than one Folder has an active "Access via Sequenced Paste hotkey" setting, the panel should also display the name of the folder used for the current Paste sequence. This way, the user needs not check the CHS window at all. The folder name should appear at the remote end of the panel relative to the mouse pointer and should have a different color or background or so.

Even though I don't think, scrolling the paste list is a standard requirement, it might turn out to be useful over time, e.g. to pick up an interrupted paste sequence or to repeat a failed paste or so. However, such a scroll feature should probably stick with the "stack" paradigm, thus should not move a highlighting bar up or down the list, but should rather roll the entire list "underneath" the panel. For example, if the panel is displayed below the mouse pointer and thus shows the next entry to be pasted on top, pushing the Up key should move the entire list one entry back (in this case: down) to as it was displayed before the previous paste action.

* Interim Copy actions: If Sequenced Pasting is active, new copy actions should not break the paste  sequence, but should be integrated according to the options listed above. This way (if I haven't overlooked some details), it should be possible to use the Sequenced pasting in a very dynamical way, all the more as the "Paste stack" panel should get updated correspondingly and thus will show the changes to the stack right at the mouse pointer.

Please let me know what you think, or if you have questions.

This sort of utility wouldn't be that hard to write from scratch.  Let me know if you can't make something work with any of the existing clipboard managers.
-skwire (August 19, 2010, 10:01 PM)
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If these don't quite suit your needs, have you thought of using a full-fledged macro program like Macro Express?
-rjbull (August 19, 2010, 03:11 PM)
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I'm sorry, I left your posts unresponded for far too long.

Re macros: I have to admit, I've been planning for years meanwhile to check out some macro tools (I saw some reviews about Auto Hotkey and Auto-It, hadn't known Macro Express yet), but I haven't managed yet to get beyond downloading the related installers. Also, I'm not sure, wether such an approach would really help here, because I'd probably have problems to convince the people whom I have in mind to install and prepare all this stuff (some of the guys are pretty remote for me and no "techs" at all)

Re skwire's offer: Thanks for your kind offer. Actually, I'm wondering whether having the principal load/shoot function in a separate application wouldn't make sense, because it would be available for any kind of clipboard utility then (if it had a parsing option to split a single clipboard entry at certain regex/grep matches, it probably could be combined with the "glue" option in most clipboard utilities to transfer an entire sequence of clipboard entries without a special hand-shaking API). However, I think, the potential of the other functionality (particularly the integration of interim copy actions, switching forth and back between "load" and "shoot", and managing the sequences in a context like CHS would make it much more powerful if it were integrated in the clipboard utility.
But I might be getting back to you some day… ;)

i like these ideas.. let me try to chew on them and boil them down to a proposed first basic version to add to CHS and make sure i've captured the important bits.


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