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As any productivity guru knows, Ctrl + C (Copy) and Ctrl + V (Paste) are arguably the two most important shortcuts on a keyboard 15 Keyboard Shortcuts That Work With Continuum in Windows 10 15 Keyboard Shortcuts That Work With Continuum in Windows 10 The Continuum feature in Windows 10 is surprisingly useful. However, it only supports a subset of the keyboard shortcuts in the PC version of Windows 10. Here are the ones that work. Read More . It’s difficult to express how much time they save compared to using a mouse.

But although those simple shortcuts have served people well since the beginning of the computer age, another key aspect of the copy/paste process — the clipboard itself — is in major need of an overhaul.

And that’s where the new Microsoft Cache app steps in.

In this article, I’ll explain what the Cache app is, what it can do, and why it’s an improvement on the Windows clipboard. At the end, I’ll offer you three alternatives, in case Cache isn’t right for you.

What’s Wrong With the Current Clipboard?

The clipboard makes it easy to move text and images around on a page, or transfer them from one app to another. You just press Copy, which temporarily stores the information on what we call the clipboard, put the cursor in the new location, and click Paste. Easy.

Except, there are issues:

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  • A piece of information you temporarily copy to the clipboard stays there until you replace it with a new piece of information or until you shut down your computer.
  • Once replaced or removed, you can no longer retrieve the information you copied to the clipboard earlier.
  • The files we want to copy have become much larger.
  • The clipboard is confined to one device and user profile, meaning it doesn’t help you in copying information between different devices or users.

All this presents problems. For example, a high-definition image with a large resolution has the potential to eat through a significant amount of RAM 4 Tips to Fix 100% Disk Usage & Improve Windows Performance 4 Tips to Fix 100% Disk Usage & Improve Windows Performance Slow performance can't always be blamed on a lack of processing power or memory. Sometimes your system drive is the limiting factor. Windows 10 and 8 have disk usage issues, here's how to fix this. Read More until it’s replaced. If you don’t manually replace it quickly, it’s easy to forget it’s even there. And how many times have you either accidentally overwritten something stored on the clipboard or pasted the wrong thing into a document?

An invisible, unmanageable clipboard is no longer fit for purpose. An upgrade is needed Hold That Thought: 5 Reasons You Need A Clipboard Manager Hold That Thought: 5 Reasons You Need A Clipboard Manager When you think about it, copy paste is kind of weird. You copy stuff, but there's no way to see it. And if you copy over what you had, it's gone – forever. Read More .

What Is Microsoft Cache?

Microsoft Cache is best described as a universal clipboard for everything. It has one simple goal: to make it easy to transfer content between apps and devices.

Keen followers of Microsoft news will recall rumors of an app called Microsoft OneClip in May 2015. It was developed by Microsoft Garage — the company’s outlet for experimental projects — and was designed to be a virtual clipboard that could store, organize, and share “clips” in the cloud.

OneClip never made it to public release, but it appears that Cache could be OneClip v2.0 — and this time, it will be offered to the public.

Note — In some tutorial videos, Microsoft is referring to Cache as “Bundle”. It seems the final name has not been fully agreed upon.

How to Get the App

At the time of writing, Microsoft has not officially released Cache to the public, although you can sign up to receive it.

However, a preview of the app has been leaked and is available for download from windowsblogitalia.com. If you don’t speak Italian, Windows expert Paul Thurrott provided a direct download link in a recent tweet.

If you don’t want to download a dodgy leaked preview, you can wait for the real deal. It’s expected the app will form part of Windows 10 Redstone 2, AKA the Creators Update A Peek Into the Windows 10 Creators Update A Peek Into the Windows 10 Creators Update Microsoft just announced the next major Windows 10 upgrade. The Creators Update will come to 400 million users in Spring 2017. Here are the highlights of Wednesday's Windows 10 event. Read More , the next major Windows update that’s scheduled for early 2017.

What Are Cache’s Best Features?

At this stage, the full feature list is impossible to clarify. But, based on the leaked preview, we still have a good idea of what you can expect.

Microsoft Cache Options

Here are some of the most exciting features:

  • Bookmark Whole Documents — You’ll be able to copy entire documents into the app and access them on other devices. Think of it as a more transient version of OneDrive.
  • Organize Saved Content — To organize what you save to Cache, you can create groups.
  • Never Lose Anything — The app will automatically save everything you copy. No more accidental overwrites or RAM-eating images.
  • Access Your Information Anywhere — Cache automatically syncs across your devices (currently Windows and iPhone only).
  • Drag-and-Drop — Mouse lovers won’t have to use shortcuts. You can just drag-and-drop text snippets, images, web pages, files, URLs, and sticky notes directly into the app.
  • Dock Mode — You can permanently attach Cache to the side of your screen while you’re working, allowing you to easily access your content.
  • Reading Lists — Reading lists are one of the best features in the Edge browser. Cache will let you curate these lists and share them with friends and family.
  • Projects — “Collections” are the centerpiece of the app. They are glorified folders, but are a great way to effectively manage content for multiple projects at once.
  • Shopping Lists — The consumer focus continues with a way to manage shopping lists. Apparently, there aren’t enough apps that perform this function already!
  • Availability — It appears that Cache will be cross-platform, but at the moment we can only confirm the app’s existence on Windows and iOS. It would be safe to assume an Android version How to Share Your Windows Clipboard with Your Android Device & Vice Versa How to Share Your Windows Clipboard with Your Android Device & Vice Versa Ever wished you could share a URL or a snippet of text from your phone to your PC or vice versa? Your wish shall come true. We'll show you how to sync your clipboards. Read More will also be available on release day.

Alternatives to Cache

If Cache doesn’t sound like it would fit into your workflow, there are other clipboard managers available.

We’ve covered six of them in detail 6 Free Clipboard History Managers to Track What You Copy & Paste 6 Free Clipboard History Managers to Track What You Copy & Paste You need a clipboard manager because it can remember all the things you copy and paste. We have compiled five of the most functional tools to manage your clipboard history . Read More elsewhere on the site, but here’s a quick summary of my three favorites:

Spartan Multi Clipboard

If you’re looking for something that focuses on Microsoft Office integration Save Time by Creating Outlook Items Directly from Your Clipboard Save Time by Creating Outlook Items Directly from Your Clipboard Instantly create new Outlook items with nothing more than your clipboard. Read More above everything else, Spartan Multi Clipboard is the clear winner.

It has a large clip list, can work with macros in Excel, and supports images, files, and text.

CopyQ

CopyQ is great for project management. It saves your content in customized tabs, clips can be dragged-and-dropped into apps, and it supports tagging to keep all your clips organized.

CopyQ App Screenshot

Shapeshifter

You might not realize it, but clipboard managers can suffer from security issues. Someone who hacks your PC might be able to find sensitive information — such as passwords and important documents — saved on the clipboard.

If security is your main concern, go for Shapeshifter. It stores clips in your computer’s memory rather than on the hard-drive. When you restart the computer, it automatically deletes everything.

Are You Excited for Cache?

It’s still early days, but has the preview version of Cache done enough to get you excited for its release?

Or do you think it’s too complex, will you keep using some of the third-party alternatives instead? Maybe your seriously old-school and are more than happy with the traditional copy/paste feature?!

As always, you can get in touch with your thoughts, opinions, and feedback in the comments box below.

Image Credits: FabrikaSimf/Shutterstock

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