Ever since iPhone Software 3.0, we've had the ability to copy text and pictures from one app and paste into another app. But what if you want to store the copied text or photo so that you can use it again later? Pastebot is a useful app from Tapbots that addresses this need. Tapbots gave me a free review copy of the $2.99 app, and I really like it.
When you launch the app, it takes whatever you last copied and adds it to the top of a list of clippings. If you want to take something that you have already saved into Pastebot and copy it to the iPhone clipboard, just tap it once and a blue dot will appear to the right of the clipping, indicating that it is now loaded into memory and you can go to another app and paste it. You can store up to 99 clippings in the main portion of the app, plus you can create folders to hold up to 99 clippings each so you can essentially hold as many clippings as you want.
If that was all that Pastebot did, it would be a useful app that I would recommend. But that is just the beginning. Tap on the arrow to the right of any clipping and you see a large screen containing the text. From there, you can easily edit the text in the clipping, add a title for the clipping, or see some statistics about the clipping such as the date of the clipping, the number of characters and the number of words. Even more impressive, if you tap the icon at the bottom left, you can select a filter to do things like convert the text to lowercase or uppercase, find and replace within the text, and even translate to a different language (a feature just added in the 1.1 update on February 23, 2010).
If the clipping is a picture, Pastebot will tell you the dimensions in pixels, and the picture filters give you some basic picture editing functions such as adjusting brightness or saturation or converting to black and white or sepia tones.
Indeed, you don't have to even bring up the full page version of a clipping to get at most of the functions. When you tap once on a clipping, in addition to setting the blue dot and copying the clipping into memory, a mini-dashboard pops up below the clipping from which you can access filters and other functions.
While the main feature of Pastebot is to copy and paste into the iPhone's clipboard, you can also press a button to send a clipping directly to e-mail, to save a picture to the iPhone Photos app, or to send text to Google to perform a search in Safari. The 1.1 update to Pastebot added the ability to duplicate clippings, useful if you want to make changes to a clipping but also keep the original.
The app also works with a free Mac application that will allow you to wirelessly send clips from a Mac to Pastebot and vice versa. I haven't had a reason to try this yet — for me, the main value of the app just comes from using it on an iPhone — but I'm glad to know that the function is there if I want to use it in the future. If this feature is of interest to you, you'll want to read this great post by Shawn Blanc which talks about the different file types that can be shared using Pastebot.
Perhaps best of all, Tapbots give you form, not just function. If you have ever used the other two apps sold by Tapbots, Convertbot or Weightbot, you know that Tapbots makes beautiful apps. The panels on each screen slide gracefully and make satisfying noises. It is really a joy to use any of the Tapbots apps; I use Convertbot all the time, not just because it is useful to make conversions, but also because it is, frankly, fun to use. In the last week that I've been testing Pastebot, I'm finding that is equally true for this app.
What's not to love? The only big negative for me is that the app doesn't handle all of the types of items that you can copy and paste on the iPhone. For example, you can copy portions of a webpage in Safari including both pictures and text and paste that into an e-mail, but you cannot paste that into Pastebot. Similarly, you can copy rich text from one e-mail (containing bold, italics, etc.) and paste it into another e-mail, but you cannot use Pastebot as a go-between. Why not? According to Ars Technica, Apple doesn't currently allow third party apps to use these features. Darn. Hopefully Apple will change this in the future because it would be a welcome addition to Pastebot.
Pastebot is useful app that is a joy to use. If you use copy and paste on your iPhone and want to get more sophisticated features, you won't regret buying this great app.