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Yoink Takes Mac Drag and Drop to the Next Level

Eternal Storms Software’s Yoink is a powerful enhancement to the standard drag-and-drop experience on the Mac that you don’t realize you need until you’ve spent an hour or two using it. Then you wish you had been using it for a lot longer than that.

In short, Yoink acts as a temporary holding spot for items you drag and drop from the Finder or any other app, letting you store them for use later in other applications.

Think of Yoink like a virtual shelf for your Mac. Drag files or other items to it and they sit there, right at hand, until you’re ready to drag them off the shelf and into another app or folder.

The first time you open Yoink, it walks you through a brief tutorial explaining how the app works and what kinds of files it accepts. Close the tutorial window and the only thing letting you know that Yoink is running is its icon in your menu bar. You can use the menu bar menu to change settings, but you don’t need it to use the Yoink app. Instead, Yoink activates as soon as you start dragging anything on your Mac, displaying a small drawer into which you can drop whatever it is you’re dragging.

Yoink can handle most anything you drag to it. I added text from a word processing document, images dragged from Web pages, pictures from Photos, entire Web pages, and files from the Finder. I didn’t find anything Yoink couldn’t collect.

By default, Yoink displays only the last three items you’ve dropped on it. Using either the menu bar or a pop-up menu that appears when you click the gear button in the app, you can customize Yoink so its window expands until it reaches the top and bottom of your screen with each added item. Regardless of window size, you can continue adding items, you’ll just have to scroll up or down in the drawer to find the one you want to use.

Unfortunately, Yoink lacks some way of letting you know that there are more files in the window than you can see. This is in part because macOS doesn’t display scroll bars by default, but Yoink would benefit from something that lets you know there’s more in the drawer than meets the eye.

Yoink’s drawer remains visible as long as there’s something in it, and you can choose whether it appears on the left or right edge of your screen, aligned to the top, center, or bottom of that edge.

Yoink works with multiple screens, but exactly how depends on the “Displays have separate Spaces” checkbox in System Preferences > Mission Control. If that checkbox isn’t selected, Yoink’s drawer appears only on the primary screen, which can result in some tedious dragging across long distances. However, if you select that checkbox, Yoink can put its drawer in any of its six positions on any screen. The trick is to access the necessary Window Position menu from the menu bar icon located on the desired screen.

Regardless, those with large Desktops might prefer to use Yoink’s option to display its drawer right under the pointer’s position when you start a drag.

Also, Yoink sits on top of everything else on your Desktop, so if you find that it’s in your way, press F5 (you can change the key) to make it hide or reappear. If you’ve set Yoink to appear at the pointer position, another press or two of F5 brings up it at the pointer, making it easy to drag items to Yoink without looking for the drawer.

Using items you’ve added to Yoink is easy. All you need to do is drag them from Yoink’s drawer to the app, folder, or document where you want to use them. By default, when you drag something out of Yoink, it disappears from the Yoink drawer. But you can also lock items so they remain in Yoink after you’ve dragged them, which might be useful for frequently used bits of text or graphics.

Yoink can display either file icons or Quick Look previews in its drawer, and you can click an eye button to peek at the contents of any item in the drawer. You can also share any item in Yoink to available apps.

It’s important to note that files dragged from Yoink to anything, whether it’s an app or a Finder folder, behave the same way they would if you were dragging normally without Yoink as an intermediary. So, drag a document from Yoink to Apple Mail and Mail attaches a copy of the original to the current message. Drag a file in Yoink’s drawer to a folder in the Finder and that item will be moved from its original Finder location to the location where you dragged it. Drag that same item to a server or external drive and it will be copied
to that new location.

A click of the broom button in Yoink’s drawer empties any items in it, but if you accidentally sweep Yoink clean, the Yoink menu includes an option to “Bring back last removed files,” which will restore your dragged items.


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On the Yoink support site, Eternal Storms provides several tutorials and a variety of blog posts on how to make the most of Yoink. One of my favorites was about how to use Automator to create a macOS Service that automatically sends screenshots to Yoink. Another tip explains how you can add files to Yoink with a
keyboard shortcut.

If you frequently find yourself dragging things around your Mac, and particularly if you find that task onerous or prone to error, Yoink can enhance your day-to-day Mac experience. I recommend that you give it a go today. Yoink costs $6.99 from the Mac App Store, and the company provides a separate demo because the Mac App Store doesn’t allow demos. It requires Mac OS X 10.7.3 Lion or later.

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