One of the problems of having multiple computers and different operating systems is that you have no easy way to copy paste text between computers. For example, I have a desktop running Windows 8, a laptop which runs Windows 7 and linux (ubuntu). I also use a macbook air; you can imagine the frustration when I am dealing with multiple operating systems and devices. I need a straightforward way to share copied text and clipboard data to other computers and devices I own.
Now there are numerous occasions when I want to transfer a piece of text from one computer to another. For example, I copied a piece of code from my macbook air and want it instantly on my pc. I copied a URL on my linux system and want it on my macbook air. And the list goes on.
The problem of sharing clipboard data across multiple computers and operating systems becomes more complex, when you do not have an internet connection. Precisely, it becomes impossible because the only possible way to transfer your clipboard data across computers is to use a text file, paste it in a thumb drive and then use the same drive on each computer. Its just too many steps but this is the only way, when you’re not connected to the internet.
Now, when you are connected to the internet, how do you transfer clipboard data across multiple computers? Lets look at some possibilities
- Email yourself the copied text and access the same text from any other computer. This is probably the easiest and quickest solution but there are a couple of disadvantages to this approach. First, you have to be logged in to your inbox all the time, on all the systems, which may not be very convenient due to obvious reasons. Second, your inbox will eventually get cluttered with a lot of emails, random text flowing around, not a very good practice.
- Another approach is using free code sharing services like Pastebin and Tinypaste but then again it is not feasible due to security reasons. You dont want a third party service to know what clipboard data you are sharing across your computers.
- The third approach is to use cross platform clipboard sharing apps for Windows Linux and OSx. I remember using a software called Input Director for sharing the same mouse and keyboard across two computers. The program also supports sharing Windows clipboard data across two computers running Windows but unfortunately, Input Director does not work in Linux or MAC. Although it worked great initially but eventually, I gave up. The reason I stopped using it – it was overly complex and I was spending more time tweaking and managing the program rather than doing my main work.
Back to the point, how do we share clipboard data across two computers? The answer lies in the cloud and the browser is the gateway. I use Google Chrome as my default browser, no matter which computer and operating system I am using. I also use Google Chrome sync to sync bookmarks and browser preferences across all my computers, so why not use my favorite browser to share and sync clipboard data across Windows, Linux and MAC?
Clipboard sync is a superb Chrome extension which allows you to do just that. If you use Google Chrome on Windows, Linux and MAC and have activated Chrome sync on each of them, this is the easiest way to share text and clipboard items across each computer. Install the extension on any of your computers, and Chrome sync will do the rest of the installations for you.
Now that you have Clipboard sync installed on each system, you will notice the extension icon on the right corner of Google Chrome. When you want to share your clipboard data or some copied text between two or more computers, simply hit that button once. The extension will take your data, copy it and push it to the clipboard of all other computers. The data will be automatically copied into the clipboard of other systems, all you have to do is select the target and hit “Paste”.
Currently, Clipboard sync works only with textual data and not images but I think this is the easiest way to share URL’s, code snippets, email addresses and almost anything across two computers, without depending on a third party text sharing service and without having to email yourself the same thing over and over again.
Try it and let us know your thoughts in the comments section.