3. SnippetsLab Assistant

SnippetsLab Assistant is a handy utility that lives in the menubar. It allows you to browse existing and create new snippets without having the main window clustering your desktop space. Those that prefer the keyboard over mouse may also find the extensive list of keyboard access features a valuable boost in productivity.

To activate the assistant, click the assistant button from the menubar. You can also specify a custom keyboard shortcut in Assistant preferences. To dismiss it, simply click outside of the panel, or press the Esc key.

The assistant is enabled by default, but can be disabled in Preferences… > Assistant.


3.1. Browse

Click on the list.bullet.rectangle.portrait Browse button on the very top to activate browse mode.

Most common list-navigation keyboard shortcuts also work here, below is a quick recap:


Keyboard Shortcut

Go to the previous or next item


Go to the previous or next page

Option- or Option-

Jump to the top of bottom

Command- or Command-

Scroll up or down without changing selection

Fn- or Fn-

3.1.1. Default Snippets

By default, when not searching, the assistant will display all recently modified snippets. You can customize the default list in Preferences > Assistant > Default Snippets, when the option Use custom search criteria is chosen. This can be especially useful when you have a subset of snippets that you access often from the menubar, for example–those that you reuse the most.

3.1.3. Snippet Actions

You can perform the following actions with any search result in the assistant window:


How-To Perform

Copy to clipboard

Click or press return

Open in the main window

Option-click or press option-return

Paste directly to active app

(unassigned by default)

Quick look

Double-click or press (To dismiss quick look, press or esc)

The action that is performed when you click on a snippet or press the return key is called a primary action, and the action performed via option-click or option-return is called a secondary action. SnippetsLab allows you to customize and reassign the primary and secondary actions in Preferences > Assistant to fit your workflow.


The action “Paste directly to the active app” requires accessibility permission because it uses Apple Events to simulate the paste operation. You will be prompted to grant access the first time this action is chosen. You can also manually grant or revoke access at any time in System Preferences > Security & Privacy > Privacy > Accessibility.

From SnippetsLab 1.6 and OS X 10.11, you can also swipe left on a snippet to reveal the primary and secondary options:


3.1.4. Quick Look

Starting from SnippetsLab 2.0, you can detach a quick look preview by dragging the popover to its own window. A detached quick look popover will always show above other windows, and as of v2.0.1, above fullscreen windows as well. It can also be freely resized by dragging its window edge.


3.2. Create

Click on the square.and.pencil Create button on the very top to activate create mode.