Ditto: My Newest Favorite Micro-Productivity Tool

"That's what she said."

Ditto: My Newest Favorite Micro-Productivity Tool

The Merriam-Webster online dictionary puts out several definitions for the word, "ditto":

ditto adverb

  • as before or aforesaid : in the same manner—used to indicate that a previous statement also applies to something or someone else

ditto verb

  1. to repeat or imitate (something, such as a statement or an action)
  2. to copy (something, such as printed matter) on a duplicator

ditto noun

  1. a : a thing mentioned previously or above—used to avoid repeating a word—often symbolized by inverted commas or apostrophes
    b : someone or something that is the same as or very similar to another
  2. or ditto mark : the inverted commas or apostrophes used to symbolize a ditto

ditto adjective

  • having the same characteristics : similar

ditto utility

  • an extension to the standard windows clipboard
  • saves each item placed on the clipboard allowing you access to any of those items at a later time
  • allows you to save any type of information that can be put on the clipboard, text, images, html, custom formats, .....

OK, I have to be straight with you.  From Merriam-Webster is not where that last one comes.  I went to the Ditto Clipboard Manager website and got it off there.

PureText Didn't Last Long

I wrote recently about my pent-up frustration with the copy-paste Notepad dance:

PureText: Paste Unformatted Text From Your Clipboard
Are you tired of the Notepad dance: Copy rich text, paste in Notepad, select all, copy, paste plain text? If so, this simple utility could be life-changing.

In the comments section of that article, longtime reader Ben Sacheri turned me on to the Ditto Clipboard Manager utility.

Like PureText, Ditto can strip special formatting from rich text on the Windows clipboard.  Unlike PureText, though, Ditto also gives you easy access to your entire clipboard history.

I had tried a different clipboard history app in the past, but it never satisfied me.  I could never remember how to turn it on when I needed to.  And when I finally did get it up, I spent so much time fumbling around that it just led to more frustration.  To be honest, the user interface sucked.  The whole experience left a bad taste in my mouth.  

Ditto changed all that, though.  Using it just feels good.  It feels natural.  It's a clipboard history app that I can finally get behind.

Use Your Fingers for Best Results

The keyboard controls are so fluid you don't even have to touch the mouse if you don't want to.

  • [Ctrl] + [`] (backtick): open the clipboard history
  • [Shift] + [Enter]: paste without formatting
  • [Up]/[Down] arrow keys: navigate past clipboard entries
  • [Ctrl] + [2]: paste the previous entry
  • [Ctrl] + [3]: paste the entry before that one, etc.
  • {begin typing}: immediately search past clipboard entries

A Sackful of Benefits

PureText, you did nothing wrong.  Ditto just has a bigger feature set.

At the risk of ending this article prematurely, let's go blow by blow through some of Ditto's features:

  • blazing fast
  • intuitive interface
  • can strip special formatting from rich text
  • shows thumbnails of copied images in list
  • customizable keyboard controls
  • free and open source
  • starts up with Windows
  • appears at caret (i.e., current cursor location)
  • syncs across computers (I have not tried this yet)
  • full Unicode support
  • backed by a SQLite database

And best of all?  It has a chocolatey package!

So if you already have the chocolatey package manager, you can install it with:

choco install ditto

The Michael Scott Stamp of Approval

Every "That's What She Said" Ever - The Office

All original code samples by Mike Wolfe are licensed under CC BY 4.0