Instance Method


Reads from the receiver objects that best match the specified array of classes.


func readObjects(forClasses classArray: [AnyClass], options: [NSPasteboard.ReadingOptionKey : Any]? = nil) -> [Any]?



An array of class objects.

Because this method creates an instance of the first class that can read a given pasteboard item, you can order the classes in classArray to match your preferred order of representation. Classes in the array must conform to the NSPasteboardReading protocol.


A dictionary that specifies options to refine the search for pasteboard items, for example to restrict the search to file URLs with particular content types. For valid dictionary keys, see Pasteboard Reading Options.

Return Value

An array containing the best match (if any) for each of the items on the receiver that can be represented by a class specified in classArray. Returns nil if there is an error in retrieving the requested items from the pasteboard, or an empty array if no objects of the specified classes can be created.


Classes in classArray must implement the NSPasteboardReading protocol. Cocoa classes that implement this protocol include NSImage, NSString, NSURL, NSColor, NSAttributedString, and NSPasteboardItem. For every item on the pasteboard, each class in the provided array will be queried for the types it can read using readableTypes(for:). An instance is created of the first class found in the provided array whose readable types match a conforming type contained in that pasteboard item. Any instances that could be created from pasteboard item data is returned to the caller. Additional options, such as restricting the search to file URLs with particular content types, can be specified with an options dictionary.

Only objects of the requested classes are returned. You can always ensure to receive one object per item on the pasteboard by including the NSPasteboardItem class in the array of classes.

Consider the following example: there are five items on the pasteboard, two contain TIFF data, two contain RTF data, one contains a private data type. The following table shows what objects you get back in the returned array for different classes in classArray.

Classes in classArray

Returned objects


Two NSImage objects.


Two NSAttributedString objects.

NSImage, NSAttributedString

Two NSImage objects, and two NSAttributedString objects.

NSImage, NSAttributedString, NSPasteboardItem

Two NSImage objects, two NSAttributedString objects, and one NSPasteboardItem object containing the private data type.

See Also

Reading Data

struct NSPasteboard.ReadingOptionKey

Options for reading pasteboard data.

struct NSPasteboard.ReadingOptions

Options to specify how data on the pasteboard should be interpreted to initialize pasteboard data.

var pasteboardItems: [NSPasteboardItem]?

An array that contains all the items held by the pasteboard.

func index(of: NSPasteboardItem) -> Int

Returns the index of the specified pasteboard item.

func data(forType: NSPasteboard.PasteboardType) -> Data?

Returns the data for the specified type from the first item in the receiver that contains the type.

func propertyList(forType: NSPasteboard.PasteboardType) -> Any?

Returns the property list for the specified type from the first item in the receiver that contains the type.

func string(forType: NSPasteboard.PasteboardType) -> String?

Returns a concatenation of the strings for the specified type from all the items in the receiver that contain the type.