The Windows Clipboard is your friend for cut, copy, or paste operations. Use these tips to learn how to manage your clipboard.
The Windows Clipboard can be your invaluable companion, saving you a lot of typing time and allowing you to move content between documents with ease.
Today, we’ll explore ways to manage your clipboard, as well as provide some information about what it is and what you can do with it.
What is Clipboard
Clipboard is a function that allows you to copy an unlimited number of information and/or images; although it might slow down your system if you try to copy and paste hundreds of pages. This is not something unique to Windows. Other operating systems also have a clipboard, albeit with a different key combination.
In Windows, you can copy something by highlighting the desired text, then activate the clipboard with the keyboard function CTRL + C. To paste the copied content, press CTRL + V.
The clipboard does have its limitations. Without some changes in the Settings menu, it can only save one thing at a time. Therefore, when you copy something, the clipboard automatically deletes the previous entry. The clipboard is also deleted when the computer is shut down or restarted.
How to Save And View Clipboard History
In mid-2018, Microsoft finally launched the all-new Windows clipboard. This lets you enable clipboard history per device, or even sync your clipboard history between all Windows devices connected to your Microsoft account.
To activate the new feature, go to Settings > System > Clipboard. Flick the toggle below Clipboard history and Sync across devices to suit your preferences.
Once activated, you can press Win + V anytime to view your clipboard history images and text are supported. If you leave both settings disabled, the original Windows clipboard will continue to function the same way it did before 2018.
How to Clear Clipboard History
Assuming you have activated Windows’ new clipboard feature, you can delete items individually by pressing Win + V, click the three dots next to the entry you want to delete, and select Delete.
If you want to clear your entire clipboard history, open the app Settings and go to System > Clipboard > Clear Clipboard data > Clear.
Let’s say you don’t want to enable a new feature. Perhaps, for privacy reasons, you’d rather not keep a complete record of everything you’ve copied. Can you still see what’s currently copied to the clipboard? And how can you remove that item to leave your clipboard blank?
Use Windows XP Tricks To View Your Clipboard
In Windows XP and Windows Vista, entering the command clipbrd.exe in dialogue Run will bring up the clipboard and its contents. Microsoft is discontinuing the feature in Windows 7.
However, if you can get access to XP or Vista, the clipbrd.exe method still works; just move the EXE file to Windows 1o. This is easy to do. On XP or Vista, open the folder %windir% system32, highlight the EXE file, press CTRL + C, and move it to the same path in your Windows 10 installation.
If the downloaded file doesn’t work, try running it in Windows XP Service Pack 2 compatibility mode. To make changes, right click on the EXE file, open Properties > Compatibility, mark the checkbox next to Run this program in compatibility mode for, and make a choice.
Wiping Your Clipboard
To quickly clear your clipboard from prying eyes, there are three quick fixes you can use.
- Shutting down or restarting the system.
- Highlight some plain text and press CTRL + C to delete whatever you copied earlier.
- Press the button Print Screen while viewing a blank document or similar.
There are also some advanced tricks you can try.
Create Custom Shortcut
First, you can create a shortcut on the desktop that, when clicked, will delete your clipboard.
Follow these steps to set up a custom shortcut:
- Right click on the desktop and select New > Shortcuts.
- In the shortcut box, type cmd /c “echo off | clip
- Click Next and give it a name, like “Clear Clipboard”.
- Click Finish.
If you right-click on the new shortcut and select Properties, you can also provide logo shortcuts and keyboard shortcuts. However, the shortcut does not need to work.
Use Registry Hack
If you feel confident, you can add an option to the right-click context menu on the desktop to clear the clipboard. Use the steps below to see how to do this:
- Press Win + R to open the Run tool.
- Type regedit and press Enter.
- Navigate to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTDirectoryBackground.
- In the left pane, right click on Shell and select New> Key.
- Name the new menu item, such as Clear Clipboard.
- Right click on the item Clear Clipboard new, go to New> Key, and name it Command.
- In the right pane, double click on Default and select Modify.
- in the box Value Data type cmd.exe /c echo off | clip.
- Click OK.
- Press F5 to refresh the registry and turn it off.
You will now see a Clear Clipboard entry in the desktop context menu. Again, you may have to restart the system for it to work the first time.
Third Party Clipboard Manager
Even with its new features, the native Windows clipboard is still rather basic. If you need a more powerful clipboard, you can turn to a third-party solution.
Here are two of our favorite alternative clipboard managers.
Comfort Clipboard is a paid app; lifetime license is $20. It introduces many features you won’t find in Windows apps, including app icons for easy identification, editing, color tags, hotkeys, and more.
ClipboardFusion has a free and a pro version ($15). It supports macros, triggers, hotkeys, cloud sync, and even 256-bit clipboard encryption. All features are available to some extent in the free version.
Pro Tip: Use Notepad To Remove Formatting
How many times have you copied something, then had to spend minutes fiddling with all the formatting too?
If you paste text into Notepad before moving it to its final destination, Notepad will remove rich formatting such as bold, italics, underlines, tables, font colors, embedded objects, and more.