How-To Mac Apps

How to Sync your Copy/Paste Clipboard across macOS and Windows

Many of us switch between multiple computers on a regular basis – for example, maybe you have a computer at home and a Mac you’ve been assigned at work; or an older MacBook that you’ve kept as your personal laptop and a shiny new Mac that’s setup as the communal, family computer.

If you regularly move between computers, then wouldn’t it be convenient if these computers shared the same clipboard?

Built-in synced clipboard functionality is becoming more common, for example macOS Sierra has a Universal Clipboard feature that lets you copy something on your Mac and then paste it on your iPhone or iPad, and vice versa. However, this feature is limited to certain models of Mac, iPhone and iPad, so if you want to copy/paste between MacBooks that don’t meet Universal Clipboard’s system requirements, then you’ll need to use a third party app.

In this article, I’m going to show you how to setup and use 1Clipboard, a free application that can synchronise the contents of your clipboard between multiple Macs, and even between the macOS and Windows operating systems.

Setup 1Clipboard

1Clipboard synchronises the contents of your clipboard via Google Drive, so you’ll need a Google account in order to use 1Clipboard’s sync functionality. If you don’t already have a Google account, then you can create one for free. You’ll also need to sign into this Google account on every device where you want to access the shared clipboard, so you should consider the security and privacy aspect before setting up 1Clipboard on devices that other people potentially have access to, as they’ll also have access to your Google account.

To setup 1Clipboard:

  • Download the free 1Clipboard app from the 1Clipboard website.
  • Once the file has downloaded, double-click to launch it and follow the onscreen instructions to install.
  • Launch the 1Clipboard app.
  • Select the ‘Sign in to Google to synchronise clipboard on multiple computers’ radio button, and then click ‘Next.’
  • Enter the details for your Google account.
  • Read the onscreen information about the features and information that 1Clipboard will have access to, and if you’re happy to proceed then click ‘Allow.’
  • Click ‘Finish.’
  • Rinse and repeat on every computer where you want to use 1Clipoard.

Sync your entire clipboard history between multiple computers

1Clipboard adds a new icon to your Mac’s menu bar toolbar; you can access your synced clipboard (plus lots of other 1Clipboard features) by giving this icon a click.

To use 1Clipboard, simply copy any piece of text as normal and then click the little 1Clipboard icon in the menu bar – you’ll see that this text has been saved to your synced clipboard automatically.

Now, if you switch to any other machine where you have 1Clipboard setup, and select the 1Clipboard icon from the menu bar, you’ll see that this text is ready and waiting for you to paste to its new location, on a new machine.

In addition to creating a shared clipboard, 1Clipboard saves your entire clipboard history. Copy another piece of text, then open the shared clipboard, and you’ll see that both pieces of text are now available for pasting. To paste an item from your clipboard’s history, simply select it in your clipboard, and then paste it as normal.

In addition to the list of copied text, 1Clipboard includes the following features:

  • Favourite. You can “star” any item that you’ve previously copied, at which point it’ll be saved to a separate Favourites menu. This is useful for making sure you always have easy access to the text you use on a regular basis, such as your postal address or a phone number you always struggle to remember. To favourite a piece of text, hover over it in the 1Clipboard menu until a little star icon appears, and then give that icon a click. This text will now appear in your favourites menu, which you can access by clicking the ‘Star’ menu item (where the cursor is positioned in the following screenshot).

  • Search. If you’re struggling to find a piece of text that you know you copied at some point, then you can search for it by giving the magnifying icon a click.
  • Settings. You can access some additional 1Clipboard settings by clicking the three-dotted icon, and then selecting ‘Preferences.’ This menu contains a number of options, including the ability to choose a new keyboard shortcut for 1Clipboard and to prevent 1Clipboard from launching automatically on system startup.

You don’t have to use 1Clipboard as a synced clipboard

Although 1Clipboard is mainly designed as a universal clipboard, it is possible to disable its syncing function and just use it as a local clipboard. Even in its non-syncing, “offline” form, 1Clipboard still has a number of features that aren’t available via your Mac’s native clipboard, such as the ability to browse and search your entire clipboard history, and build a list of “favourite” copied text.

To disable the syncing feature:

  • Click the 1Clipboard icon in your Mac’s toolbar.
  • Select the three-dotted ‘Settings’ item from the left-hand menu.
  • Click ‘Preferences.’
  • In the subsequent window, select the ‘Account’ tab.
  • Find the ‘Sync Clipboard on multiple computers’ slider and drag it to the ’Off’ position.

If you change your mind and want to resume using 1Clipboard’s syncing feature, then simply repeat the above steps, but this time push the slider into the ‘On’ position.

Alternatively, you can temporarily pause 1Clipboard’s sync, which can be useful if you’re copying a piece of text that you don’t want saved to your 1Clipboard history, where it’ll be accessible across multiple devices.

To pause 1Clipboard:

  • Select 1Clipboard’s three-dotted ‘Settings’ icon.
  • Set the ‘Sync clipboard history’ slider to the ‘Off’ position. A little ‘Pause’ icon will appear in 1Clipboard’s upper-right corner.
  • When you’re ready to start saving your copied text to 1Clipboard again, click this ‘Pause’ icon. The icon will disappear, and you can resume using 1Clipboard normally.

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About the author


I've been a passionate evangelist for Apple and the Macintosh throughout my working life, my first love was a Quadra 605 working with a small creative agency in the south of Norfolk UK in the mid 1990's, I later progressed to other roles in other Macintosh dominated industries, first as a Senior graphic designer at a small printing company and then a production manager at Guardian Media Group. As the publishing and printing sector wained I moved into Internet Marketing and in 2006 co-founded which grew to become one the top 200 visited sites in the US (according to Quantcast), at its peak receiving over 15 million visits per month. For the last ten years I have worked as an Affiliate and Consultant to many different business and start ups, my key skill set being online marketing, on page monetisation, landing page optimisation and traffic generation, if you would like to hire me or discuss your current project please reach out to me here.

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