Productivity Windows

5 Tips to Manage Your Windows Clipboard Like a Pro

Mark O'Neill 20-11-2014

The Windows Clipboard. You’ll know it better as Copy & Paste Windows Keyboard Shortcuts 101: The Ultimate Guide Keyboard shortcuts can save you hours of time. Master the universal Windows keyboard shortcuts, keyboard tricks for specific programs, and a few other tips to speed up your work. Read More , and how students can lift large passages from Wikipedia for their assignments. The Clipboard can be your invaluable ally, saving you loads of typing time, and enabling you to stick pictures on documents and emails at will. Just ask our writer Mihir, whose GIF emails are legendary.


Today we will be looking at ways to manage your clipboard, as well as provide some information on what it is and what you can do with it.

What Is the Clipboard & Where Do I Find It?

5 Tips to Manage Your Windows Clipboard Like a Pro clipboard

So glad you asked. The clipboard is a function which enables you to copy potentially unlimited amounts of information and / or images; although it will probably slow your system down if you attempt to copy and paste the entire illustrated version of War & Peace all at once. It isn’t something unique to Windows. Other operating systems have it as well, albeit with different key combos.

You can copy something by highlighting the desired text, and then activating the clipboard with the keyboard function CTRL + C. To “paste” the copied text and / or images, just CTRL + V it. Easy. Nothing to it.

The Clipboard does have its limitations though. It can only save one thing at a time, so when you CTRL + C something, the clipboard automatically wipes the previous entry. The clipboard is also wiped when the computer is switched off or restarted.


Can I “See” My Clipboard?

5 Tips to Manage Your Windows Clipboard Like a Pro clipboardviewer

Not anymore. In Windows XP and Windows Vista, the command clipbrd.exe would bring up your clipboard and its contents. However, Microsoft, being the spoilsports that they are, retired the function in Windows 7 5 Windows 7 Features You Didn't Know Existed Windows 7 contains many little-known features. Here we highlight the more impressive ones that could boost your productivity and deepen your love for Windows 7. Read More .

BUT here’s the thing: If you have Windows 7, and you can also get access to either XP or Vista, then clipbrd.exe also works on Windows 7 (both 32-bit and 64-bit). So if you miss being able to visit your clipboard, you can move it over to Windows 7. It’s easy to do it. On either XP or Vista, just go to the %windir%\system32 folder, and CTRL+C that sucker over to your Windows 7. Then launch it by typing in clipbrd.exe from the Win+Run command.

Also, this page offers a download link if you want to get the clipbrd.exe file. But it is reported to have mixed results.


How Do I Clear My Clipboard History?

The clipboard does not have a “history”, and unless you are using a third-party clipboard manager (more on that later), there are three quick ways to wipe your clipboard:

  • Shutting down or restarting the system.
  • CTRL+C some harmless text from say a news website. This will wipe anything you copied before which you may want rid of.
  • Go to a harmless site and press the PrintScreen key. This is a good quick option if you have to leave your computer for a moment and you have someone sitting next to you who might sneak a peek while you are away.

Now for two more ways that involve slightly more work.

The first one is to place a shortcut on the desktop which, when clicked, will wipe your clipboard. It may not start working, however, until you have restarted the system. Here’s what to do :

  • Right-click on the desktop and choose > New > Shortcut.

5 Tips to Manage Your Windows Clipboard Like a Pro desktopshortcut1


In the shortcut box that now pops up, type the following :

cmd /c "echo off | clip"
  • Click Next and give it a name, such as “Clear Clipboard“. Now click Finish.
  • If you right-click on your new shortcut and choose Properties, you can also give the shortcut a logo, and a keyboard shortcut. But those are not necessary for the shortcut to work.

The second option involves diving into the Registry; if the thought unnerves you, don’t do this one. If you mess it up, then your whole system could potentially be damaged. But if you are brave enough, you can add a right-click option to your desktop 10 Best Shortcuts to Add to Your Right-Click Menu The context menu that pops up whenever you perform a right-click can help you become more productive. With the right tool, customizing the shortcuts within it is a breeze. Read More to clear the clipboard:

5 Tips to Manage Your Windows Clipboard Like a Pro empty clear clipboard

  • First, open up the Registry and head to:
  • In the left-hand pane, right-click on Shell and select > New > Key, and give it a name. Hey, “Clear Clipboard” is a good name.
  • Right-click on the new Clear Clipboard key, and choose > New > Key and name it Command.
  • Now divert your attention ladies and gentlemen to the right pane. Double-click on Default, choose Modify, and in the Value Data box, give it the following Value Data:
cmd.exe /c echo off | clip
  • Click OK. Press F5 to refresh the registry and shut it down.

You will now see the Clear Clipboard entry in the desktop context menu. Again, you may have to restart the system to get it to work for the first time.


I Really Want to Keep a Clipboard History. Help Me Obi-Wan MUO! You’re My Only Hope!

5 Tips to Manage Your Windows Clipboard Like a Pro shapeshifter

OK, now let’s assume that you are one of those Windows users who doesn’t care about obsessively deleting their clipboard history, or that perhaps you are irked by the fact that the clipboard only holds one thing at a time. The solution to this? Yes, third-party clipboard managers 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 ! Wait, you didn’t honestly think Microsoft would give you something like this, did you?

The number of third-party clipboard managers online is simply overwhelming, which makes you wonder why Microsoft doesn’t introduce their own official one. As for the third-party clipboard managers 10 Incredibly Useful Clipboard Management Utilities [Windows] Copy and paste is one of the best features we have at our fingertips, especially when combined with keyboard shortcuts. You can’t argue that copying and pasting is one of the most common things we... Read More , some look really dated (as in XP-looking dated). Here are some more which you might want to check out:

Can I Share Clipboard Content Remotely?

Why yes you can! You’re asking lots of good clipboard-related questions today.

For those of you who don’t know, a remote computer is, as the name implies, a computer not in your current location. So if you are at home on your personal PC, your work computer would be considered a remote machine (and vice-versa). You can share clipboard information between the two, so if you CTRL+C’d something at work and it is still on the clipboard there, you can access it with your home computer. Both computers obviously have to be on, and have to be Windows PC’s.

  • Go to the Start Menu (or press the Windows logo key on the keyboard) and type “Remote Desktop Connection” (without the speech marks). It will then show up, so select it.

5 Tips to Manage Your Windows Clipboard Like a Pro rdc

  • Go to the Local Resources tab and at the bottom, there are two checkboxes – one of which is for the clipboard. Make sure it is checked.
  • Now connect to the other machine remotely and the clipboard should work as normal. Copy from one, paste to the other.

If it stops working, it is likely due to something called rdpclip.  This little program manages the shared clipboard between your local machine (the one you are currently on) and the remote desktop. However, rdpclip runs on the remote desktop, not the local machine. So if the copy and paste between machines stops working, go to the remote machine, go to the Task Manager, then the Processes Tab, select rdpclip.exe, and click End Process. Now go to the Application Tab, click New Process, type rdpclip, click OK, and you are done.

Aaaaarrrrghhh!!! I Copied Something & Brought the Formatting Along With It!

How many times have you CTRL+C’d something, and discovered that all of the formatting is there too? It can be extremely annoying to have to open a notepad text document, paste the text, then copy the plain text again, just to get the formatting out. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a small program that did the job for you? Maybe PureText fits that bill?

5 Tips to Manage Your Windows Clipboard Like a Pro puretext options

PureText will remove all of the rich formatting such as bold, italics, underlining, tables, font colours, embedded objects, and more. However, it will leave some things alone, such as HTML tags or word wrapping. If the actual text is a mess, it will not clean it up for you. It will just strip away the rich text formatting.

How Do You Make Use of the Clipboard?

So I hope that today we have shown you some of the things that the Windows Clipboard is capable of. Let us know in the comments if you have any other power user tips How to Customize Windows 10: The Complete Guide You decorate your office – why not your computer? Find out how to make Windows look just the way you want. Make your computer your own, with free tools. Read More for the Clipboard or if you know of any software which improves it.

Image Credit: Man With a Checklist – Shutterstock

Related topics: Clipboard, Productivity.

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  1. Daniel Tan
    January 13, 2019 at 5:11 am

    I wonder if its safe to use a 3rd party clipboard which may read what we copy

  2. Fiskeflax
    February 7, 2018 at 10:03 am

    When I am deleting text in any program Windows moves it into the clipboard, and wipes the good text that I was storing there. Extremely annoying. Is the idiot who came up with that idea still alive or can I shoot him?
    or... How can shut it off?

  3. Danny Kahumba
    January 17, 2017 at 3:49 pm

    I was trying to copy something over Teamviewer and it just wouldn't paste, it only past what I had last copied locally. So I did not select anything then press CTRL+C which essentially wiped he clipboard and I was able to copy the remote text I wanted.
    Thanks for the hint

  4. J. Johansen
    July 21, 2016 at 11:29 pm

    Is there a means on Vista or earlier Windows OS's of creating an autorun file of some sort to fill your clipboard in with a preset value after a restart? The restart clears the old clipboard content but I'd like it prefilled with a simple word, no spaces.

    I don't know code, so this is kind of an idea and not a real programming language. I'd like to know if this is possible, either before login screen, or after login. If so, would I create a batch file, or a txt file with the code, then set that file to run upon startup?

    Here's made up code to get an idea of what I mean:
    /run cmd.exe +open clipbrd.exe copy "PrefilledTextHere" /echo to clipbrd.exe at startup

    Once I've created a file with real code, if it's possible, what extension do I use to have it recognized as something I can add to every new startup of computer, whether from sleep, hibernate, log off, switching user, or an actual shutdown and fresh start/restart.

    Any help appreciated and great suggestions in the article for alternative clipboard options.

  5. Zafar
    February 23, 2016 at 2:16 am

    I want to know how to send clipboard data to printer. Without using any other software. MS word etc to print text. I want to use print-screen directly for printer.

  6. HCS
    January 16, 2016 at 5:59 am

    Instead of PureText or something fancy like that, using ctrl+shift+v usually works to paste plain text only in Windows 8 and later.

  7. Anonymous
    December 10, 2015 at 2:43 pm

    Pure Text (or similar apps) is not necessary anymore since Office 2013 apps have "paste and keep text only" among many of the various paste options.

  8. RALPH
    November 12, 2015 at 4:14 am

    wao; this is interesting but what if you don't have xp or vista to move the clipboard.exe?

  9. Joe Aiken
    April 22, 2015 at 10:20 pm

    I'm also a long-time user of ClipMate (from and find v7.5.26 easily meets my needs,
    It stores clips in a database and claims to be able to share clips between users by using a single multi-user database stored on a shared drive/folder. I've not tried this but I have used BeyondShare to share latest clipboard contents with others on the same LAN.

  10. Paludour
    March 21, 2015 at 8:46 pm

    As an alternative to PureText, you can try TenClips at
    It has some interesting features.

  11. Rob
    February 5, 2015 at 7:58 pm

    Can't seem to find anything that does what I want. I frequently copy 2 -3 lines of text from web pages to place in emails. In order to cut down on clicks and time, I was looking for something that would store a brief history of said copies in a sub menu of the contextual paste menu. That would make it much easier to past multiple items without going back and forth. Is this possible? Does such an app exist? I vaguely remember doing this years ago on my old Mac.

    • magnus
      March 6, 2015 at 3:40 am

      This is exactly what I am looking for. I have a clipboard manager but I want to add clips to the paste menu

  12. Marcopolo
    November 23, 2014 at 5:59 pm

    Been using Clipmate7 since forever, and now with Win8.1.
    Works like a charm. Can create a "Safe" where I move passwords/serial numbers, etc. Can't delete accidentially.
    Can also create various folders based on the clips you want to keep. Can clip anything from text, to gifs, jpegs, urls, etc.

  13. John Hall
    November 22, 2014 at 8:09 pm

    Well that's reassuring! Many thanks Bruce E.

  14. Catweazle
    November 22, 2014 at 6:07 pm

    One day I wanted to copy some train times from the browser to the printer. By the time I'd messed about pasting them into Notepad and messing about, it occurred to me I could have written a bit of code to do the same job in less time.

    So I did, and over the years it has been very useful, Mark, Copy and click the icon, and out it comes on the printer, no fonts, no formatting, no asking silly questions, it's just bright enough to do basic word wrap.

    And that's it.

    A modification of it saves the contents to a named file, dated and timed, very useful for collecting stuff together for research purposes, my offspring found it very handy when they were at uni.

    I made a few other useful widgets to do small tasks on stuff in the clipboard for programming purposes too, all in all, the clipboard is a very under-utilised resource IMO.

  15. Jason
    November 22, 2014 at 4:25 am

    Freeware Multiplatform Network Clipboard - Simidude

  16. John Hall
    November 21, 2014 at 11:10 pm

    You know, I'm perfectly satisfied with having just one item in the clipboard. The thing that is REALLY winding me up is the fact that Windows 8.1 routinely "loses" what I have put into the clipboard. If I have a piece of text that I want to email to someone (yes, I know it's a clunky method) - and I copy said text and then go off into Outlook 2007 and open up a new email form - lo and behold, the text is not available to CTRL+V (or Paste from the context menu). I then have to go back to where I got the text and copy it again in order to get it into my email. I know I'm not alone as there are lots of other users who complain of the same problem ..... but there don't seem to be any solutions.
    Any idea what the problem is please?

    • Bruce E
      November 22, 2014 at 3:48 pm

      @John: Apparently this is a "feature" of Outlook. When the application starts, it clears the contents of the clipboard. I have previously reported this as a bug to Microsoft, but it seems to be a design choice by their developers that they do not wish to change. The only way around it is to have Outlook running prior to copying the content you wish to paste.

    • Windowshater
      March 30, 2015 at 9:12 am

      I'm using whine-dos 7 and the same gawd damn thing happens. If I ctrl-c I have to immediately go to the window where I want to paste. or I lose it.

    • Clonkex
      April 28, 2015 at 1:23 am

      That's not Windows' fault. Windows (7, 8, 8.1, 10, whatever) will not randomly empty your clipboard. Only badly-written programs will do that (Outlook, for example).

  17. Christopher Wetmore
    November 21, 2014 at 9:15 pm

    I miss Linux-style autocopying of highlighted text. I've never found a decent Windows equivalent, and the one's I've found seem to be based on XP and don't work well with 7.

    • Krish
      November 22, 2014 at 5:08 am

      I think this is the best. It is not free.

  18. Bruno Casarini
    November 21, 2014 at 12:24 am

    I still use Windows 7 and the best clipboard manager I've used for years now is the Clipboarder gadget ( Windows 8 users can get it through the 8GadgetPack (

  19. Davoin Shower-Handel
    November 20, 2014 at 10:44 pm

    Whatever happened to cool web sites?

    • Mark
      November 23, 2014 at 6:12 pm

      Cool Websites in its previous form is now over. We have now relaunched it with a different perspective to make it more useful, fun, and interesting.