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Yoink: Efficient Swatch Snatcher Makes Full-Screen Feel Less Bloated

Yoink: Efficient Swatch Snatcher Makes Full-Screen Feel Less Bloated

Running applications in full-screen mode in OS X Lion has its advantages in terms of visibility. But it can get in the way of users who prefer to shuffle content around by way of a direct drag-and-drop. Yoink helps out by providing a visible clipboard onto which content can be dragged. Find the receiving app or window, call up Yoink again, and drag it to where it needs to go.

By Paul Hartsock MacNewsWorld ECT News Network
01/31/12 5:00 AM PT

Yoink, an app from Eternal Storms Software, is available for US$2.99 at the Mac App Store.

Yoink
Yoink
Of all the changes brought about with OS X Lion, full-screen viewing was one that failed to make much of an impression on me, at least at first. Ballooning a window to the edges of the screen and blowing out the menu bar seemed a little restrictive at first. It's the kind of thing I'd do all the time when using a Windows computer, but OS X is different in how it manages the desktop, and full-screening an app just felt uncomfortable and weird at first.

But over the course of a couple of weeks, I found myself using it a little more. It's good for applications that hit you with something like a big control board that you'll need to keep in full view at all times.

Once in a while, though, it feels a little too stiff, especially when trying to drag an item from one window into another. If one of those windows is in full-screen mode, it's not going to be as smooth as it is under normal conditions.

This is what Yoink aims to solve.

Making the Clipboard Real

Even users who live on full-screen mode as much as possible aren't able to do it with every app they open. As of this writing, the latest version of Firefox doesn't seem to support it. Chrome does. OpenOffice doesn't. Yes on most stuff Apple puts out, but not if its interface is so spartan that going full screen would make it look ridiculous.

In situations in which full-screen mode can be used, copying and pasting from one document to another is usually not a drag-and-drop proposition. Command C/V must be used, or photos must be saved to the desktop and then introduced into the receiving document. Moving around something like an iTunes song means going for a dig in Finder.

Yoink solves this by making the concept of a clipboard more literal. It provides a little mini-window capable of showing up over a full-screen app. Drag content from an app or your dock to the Yoink mini-window, and that's where it'll sit until you change apps, call up Yoink again, and drag the content over to where it needs to go.

For an app like this, it's important that Yoink knows how to show its face when it's needed and how to get the hell out of the way when it's not. Otherwise it's just elbowing in on the primary app's real estate. Yoink appears on the side of the display (which side or corner are customizable in Preferences) when a selected item is being dragged somewhere -- usually. In some apps, that's apparently not possible, so Yoink has included a hotkey option. Hit a key or keys of your choice (default is F5, but that's adjustable in Preferences) and in pops the window.

Making Yoink go away is another matter. Sometimes it goes away on its own, other times I had to hit my hotkey to make it hide, regardless of whether I was using an app in which the hotkey's necessary to call up Yoink in the first place.

Multiple items can reside on Yoink's clipboard. They're represented as icons, but they can be previewed by clicking on the adjacent eyeball icon or dumped from the list with the X. They can be listed as individual files or as stacks.

Just as certain apps apparently don't observe full-screen mode, some applications don't seem to observe Yoink either. For instance, I can't use Yoink to get an OpenOffice document to take text I was importing from Chrome running at full screen. Then again, I also can't drag text from a browser directly into OpenOffice, Yoink or no Yoink.

Bottom Line

For rampant copy-and-pasters who want the ability to work in full-screen mode more often and more efficiently, Yoink is worth a look. It seems like an app one could get very used to using, though its apparent unwillingness to hide when it's no longer needed could get irritating.

There are a lot of these little interface tweak applications in the Mac App Store. They're great for customizing OS X to behave just the way you want it.

Full-screen mode, for example, is generally meant for apps that command the users' undivided attention. But sometimes a scrap from here just needs to be copy/pasted over there, between a couple of apps running full bleed, and anything less than drag-and-drop just feels clunky.


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