Create Reusable Text With Text Clippings

Text Clippings are little files you create using drag-and-drop. Once you have a text clipping, you can drag-and-drop or copy-and-paste it back into another document. You can organize your text clippings in the Finder. They are particularly useful because they retain text styling.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: Create Reusable Text With Text Clippings.

So what are text clippings. Well you know how to copy and paste text, right. So you can copy some text and actually put it in a special file called a Text Clipping. It's really easy to do and then you can reuse that text clipping anywhere. So let's try it here with this bit of text. Let's say this is something I want to use elsewhere or from time to time in different documents and situations. I just select the text. That can be in Pages. That can be in TextEdit. That can be in Microsoft Word. I can be in almost anything. I want to drag this piece of text. It's a little tricky if you've never done this before. But you can drag text around in documents.

The key is to click and hold and wait a second for the cursor to change. If you click and drag immediately you're just selecting more text. Now you can actually drag this around. I can actually move it if I want. So I can put it there at the end. I'll Command Z to Undo. Click, wait, and drag again. But instead of dragging it inside the document I'm going to drag it out here at the Desktop. If I drop it here it creates a file. This file is called a Text Clipping. You can see it's got a little piece of text in it. If you could read really small text you could see that it's the text that I selected there.

It names it with the beginning of the text. But I can name this whatever I want. So I could change it to be something that makes more sense to me. Now if I want to reuse it all I need to do is drag and drop it somewhere. So say I want to put it here in the same document. I could drag this text clipping from the Finder right here into the same document. Or I could create a new document and I could drag it into there. So you can drag it in very easily.

Now it would be nice if you could actually select it and Command C, copy, or Edit, Copy. But if you do that you just paste the file name in there. So in order to copy it like that you would double click it and it opens it up this little window here. You see I'm still in the Finder. But it gives you this little window here. I don't do anything else except Command C just for copy or you can do Edit, Copy. Now I can close this window and when I paste now it actually paste the content. So there is a way to do it using the keyboard rather than drag and drop.

A better way to handle text clippings is not to put them on the Desktop and clutter your Desktop with them but to create a new folder for them. So in my Documents folder here I'll create a new folder. I'll call it Text Clippings. I can move this one in there. I can drag other ones in there just as easily. So I can take say this paragraph here. Click and wait. Now drag and stick it in there. You can see in Text Clippings I've now have got this second one here. So this is, just call it something else.

Now I have this folder here of all these text clippings. I can drag into Pages documents. I can drag them into TextEdit documents. I can drag them into Word documents or Keynote, or anything I'm using. So they really can be used universally. You can use them in Mail, for instance. They work with styling. So you can style text, you know, put italics, bold, change the color, change the font size, and it remembers all of that. So now I grab this. I can drag it here to the Desktop or into whatever folder I want and you can see it's all saved in there. Also when I have this little window open, if I want to grab only a segment of it, I don't have to just Copy and copy everything. I can actually select text and then copy. So now I can paste a portion of it in there.

So this is really useful. You can do things like common greetings, common messages that you want to put in emails. You know long addresses like the address of your company that you're always putting into documents. Things like that. Any text that you reuse a lot. Of course there are other ways to do that like Text Replacements and such. But this is really useful especially since it uses styling and allows you to actually names these things and put them into the Finder. You can create an entire hierarchy inside your clippings folder, for instance, for different types of text clippings. File them all in there and have them readily available to drag and drop or copy and paste into documents and messages.

Comments: 6 Responses to “Create Reusable Text With Text Clippings”

    Lynda Farabee
    3 weeks ago

    I’ve been missing the capability of creating text clippings and you made it clear as water! It’s the “click and wait” before dragging! Thank you so much.

    Inghilt Muñoz
    3 weeks ago

    Really usfull tip, thank’s a lot .

    3 weeks ago

    I’ve just tried it and it works like a charm with Pages. But when I tried to pull a text clipping from a Microsoft Word document, it didn’t work. Selected text; tried dragging and dropping; nothing happened. Is that a Word quirk?

    3 weeks ago

    Caroline: Worked for me using the latest Microsoft Word. What version do you have? Remember to click and hold for a second or two before dragging.

    3 weeks ago

    Does this work with iOS too? Sync across devices using iCloud so they can be used cross platform?

    3 weeks ago

    David: No, Text Clippings are a type of Mac file. If you need to have bits of text you can access on iOS, synced across iCloud, then you can use Notes. Not as quick, but it works.

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