Clips is a clipboard, keyboard, and widget and one of my favorite new utilities for iOS 8. Put simply, it’s a way for you to copy multiple things to a scratchpad for pasting elsewhere. But my favorite feature is that it can copy more than what you have selected on a page, and you can customize what and how it copies.

Say you want to blog a quote from an article you’re reading in Safari on iPhone or iPad:

  • Select the quote on the page
  • Tap the Action menu in the toolbar, then Clips (like all extensions, make sure you enabled the Clips extension)
  • A Clips sheet appears with a preview of what will be copied and tools for copying other things from that page
  • Choose a template like Text + URL or [Title](URL) > Text
  • Clips updates the preview to show you exactly what will be copied
  • Tap a copy option down below—Copy and Add to Clips, Add to Clips, or simply Copy
  • Now switch to your blogging app and paste everything you copied in a single tap
  • Sit back and marvel at how clever you are

But Clips goes one better. In Settings > Copy Templates, you can create your own copy templates that fit your workflow (hello Markdown users). Maybe you usually paste a quote with the title of the article linked to the source just below. Clips’ template tools are perfect for this.

Anecdotally, I use my iPhone and iPad to post a lot of articles and quotes to my Tumblr. Now with Clips it’s just one tap to copy everything I need, then paste into a Tumblr Quote post, cut the Markdown-ified title + link, paste it into the source, and publish. What was usually about a four-step app dance is reduced to two, thanks to Clips. It’s fantastic.

One admitted catch is that this workflow is hit-and-miss in third-party apps. Tweetbot, for example, recently updated to support iOS 8 app extensions, but it doesn’t pass selected text from a webpage opened in-app to Clips (only the page title and URL get through). I don’t know if this is something third-party apps can update to support, but I sure would love it if they did.

Clips is awesome, and I think Clean Shaven Apps (makers of my favorite email app, Dispatch) is nuts for giving it away for free. Get it and buy the in-app purchase to unlock sync and support a great app shop.

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