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  • Lowell

Using the New Windows Clipboard

Updated: Nov 19, 2020

Features - On Windows based computers, it is often convenient to use the built-in Cut/Copy/Paste operations as you work. (If you do not understand these terms, then click to review the post on Cutting, Copying, and Pasting.) The Windows clipboard lets us handle these operations easily, but before the October 2018 Windows Update, the clipboard would hold only one item at a time. You have the new (well, two-year old as of this posting) clipboard if you have regularly installed Windows Updates. The new clipboard lets you:

  1. Save multiple items for pasting. If you use Ctrl+X to Cut, Ctrl+C to Copy, or right-click a selection and choose Cut or Copy from the popup menu, that item is saved on the clipboard until you shutdown or restart your computer.

  2. Paste items from the clipboard into documents or programs.

  3. Pin a cut or copied selection, so it is permanent until you Unpin or Delete it. It remains on the clipboard even after a shutdown or restart and is stored in Microsoft’s “cloud.”

  4. Share the clipboard across multiple devices. If you have multiple Windows devices and log in using a Microsoft account, the clipboard is synced across all those devices if you activate that feature.

  5. Delete items without shutting down or restarting your computer.

  6. Prevent duplicate clipboard entries if you accidentally copy the same selection one after the other. However, if you copy a selection, then copy something else, then go back and copy that first selection, you will duplicate that selection on the Clipboard.

  7. You must manually activate the Clipboard. Click the Start button, then click Settings (gear icon), then click System.

Now, use the picture below and its numbered steps to set up the Clipboard.

  1. Click Clipboard

  2. If History is Off, click the button to turn it on.

  3. If you wish to sync across devices, click Get Started. Assuming you are already logged in with a Microsoft account on the device you are using, a Window will open and ask you to confirm your identity via a security code. Microsoft will either email or text a code to you, depending on how you set up your recovery contact information when you created your Microsoft account. Automatic syncing is usually selected by default.

  4. I could not capture the entire screen and keep all relevant information visible. Below the Clear clipboard data section, there is a Clear all button. This clears all clipboard entries except those you have pinned. This is a way to clear lots of clipboard entries, without shutting down or restarting your computer. However, there is an easier way I will describe below.

Using the Clipboard

In the picture below, I have copied the four above steps individually and then copied all of them at one time to show how the Clipboard works. After copying, I pressed the Windows Key plus the V key (normally written as Win+V) to display the Clipboard contents. Notice, the clips are arranged in newest to oldest order. Also notice the top clip displays only the first two steps, even though I copied all four steps.

There is a skinny scrollbar on the right side. It will widen if you hover your mouse over it, so you can scroll easily. I have copied several items while creating this document, so that is why I have the scrollbar.

To paste a clip into the active document or program, place your cursor in the correct location, press Win+V, find the clip you want to paste, and click it.

Notice the three dots to the right of each clip. This is a dropdown menu that offers three options – Delete, Pin/Unpin (depending on the pinned status of the clip), and Clear all. This last option is the easier method of clearing all unpinned clips that avoids going back into the Settings section. Remember, pinned clips are not removed by Clear All or by shutting down or restarting your computer.


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