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Copy and Paste: New support for an old feature by Jim Matthews

Copy and paste dates back to the first Mac OS release in the 1980s, and Fetch is one of a handful of applications from that era that is still actively developed. So it’s about time that the two got together!

Imagine that you’re browsing your files, perhaps using Leopard’s CoverFlow view and Quick Look command to find the image or PDF or Keynote presentation that you want to upload to your website. Once you’ve found it, what do you do? You could drag it to a Fetch window, but Fetch might be hidden behind other windows, or not even running. You could drag it to a droplet shortcut, or the Fetch widget, but you might not have one of those handy. And as cute as the Fetch widget may be, you may not be a fan of the drag-with-one-hand, invoke-Dashboard-with-the-other hand jive.

So, as of Fetch 5.3, you can simply choose Edit > Copy (or type Command-C) in the Finder, switch to Fetch, and take your time navigating to the right server folder before choosing Edit > Paste. Whatever you copied — one file, multiple files, even folders — will be uploaded.

The same trick works for copying files inside of Fetch. Copy files and folders, navigate to the destination — on the same server or another one — and paste to make the copy.

There are only two small catches. One is that you can’t download files by copying them in Fetch and pasting in the Finder. A Finder bug keeps that from working today, but hopefully Apple will fix the Finder at some point. The other catch is that Fetch’s copy and paste support requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later. So, bizarrely, this ancient feature requires relatively new system software. But at least it exists: we iPhone owners are still waiting for our chance to copy and paste like it’s 1984.

In other news:


  • Nice post,

    These are some great tips,

    Anyway, thanks for the post

    geeks October 21, 2009
  • very interesting post! Thanks for sharing!

    Teresa April 11, 2011
  • What would we do without copy and paste!

    DCSL June 20, 2013
  • Great to read that one of the oldest applications from the good old days of the 80s that is still being developed. Is this still the case in 2013?

    Laura August 22, 2013
  • Yes, we are working hard on the next Fetch release!

    Jim Matthews August 22, 2013
  • Did apple adapted the Find and is it possible to download files by copying them in Fetch.

    Global Reach April 11, 2015
  • No, it appears that they haven’t.

    Jim Matthews April 12, 2015
  • There is nothing for copy and paste.

    GoodCore June 26, 2019
  • We applaud your backwards compatibility of Fetch. Recently had issues trying to install FTP on an old MAC that we could not update, but Fetch worked a treat!

    David Kelly July 22, 2020
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