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How to use all of the Clipboard features in Windows 10

The Clipboard is probably one of the most widely used features inside of Windows. It used to be just for copying a small amount of text, but not anymore. Let's take a look at all of the Clipboard features inside of Windows 10.

How to use all of the Clipboard features in Windows 10

In the early days of computing, users were able to store small amounts of data in the computer's RAM (Random Access Memory), and it was called the Paste Buffer. You could only save one piece of data at a time, and every time you copied a new piece of data, the last piece was erased.

But over the decades, the Paste Buffer, now known as the Clipboard, has evolved into a useful and essential tool for productivity. The Clipboard in Windows 10 can hold multiple pieces of text and images. And how you access the Clipboard has changed over the years.

Before you can take advantage of the full capability of the Windows 10 Clipboard, you have to do a couple of things. The first thing you need to do is to make sure that the Clipboard history feature is turned on.

With Clipboard history turn on, you can view and paste all of the different items you have copied to the Clipboard. You will need to go to the Windows Settings to make sure that this feature is activated.

There are three (3) ways to bring up the Windows Settings in Windows 10:

  • Left-click on the Start button, which will bring up the Start menu. On the Start menu left-click on the gear icon (Settings)
  • Right-click on the Start button, which will bring up the Power User menu. On the Power User menu left-click on Settings
  • Press the Windows logo key Windows logo key + I

Once you have the Windows Settings on-screen, left-click on System, then scroll down the left-hand column and left-click on Clipboard.
The Clipboard history switch inside of Windows 10 Settings
Make sure that the Clipboard history is turned on. You can clear all of the items on the Clipboard from here too.

Now copying text to the Clipboard has always been pretty straightforward, but there may be times you want to copy images to it. The second thing to do is to make sure you have all the programs you can use to capture images.

Now the Snipping Tool has been in Windows since Windows 7, and it works well for capturing anything on-screen (if you can see it, you can capture it).
The Snipping Tool inside of Windows 10
And it automatically copies whatever you snip to the Clipboard. But it does prompt you to save your snip to a file when you close it.

But Microsoft is going to depreciate it eventually and has a new program to replace it called Snip & Sketch.
The Snip & Sketch inside of Windows 10
Snip & Sketch is not installed by default, but you can easily install it from the Microsoft Store.

Just open the Microsoft Store, do a search for Snip & Sketch and then click Install. It also automatically copies its snips to the Clipboard. The beautiful thing about Snip & Sketch is that it does not prompt you to save your snips when you close it.

And then there is a third way of capturing screen snips, the Snipping Bar.
The Snipping Bar inside of Windows 10
Microsoft included it in Windows 10 Version 1809, and not too many people know about it. That's because you have to use a combination of three (3) keys on the keyboard to bring it up (Windows logo key Windows logo key + Shift + S).

The downside of the Snipping Bar is that it only captures one snip at a time. Every time you want to capture a screen snip, you have to press the Windows logo key Windows logo key + Shift + S. The Snipping Tool and Snip & Sketch will capture as many snips as you like until you close them.

We are now all set to start copying items to the Clipboard. Remember that you can paste text from the Clipboard into almost any program, but you can only paste images into programs that can display images.

For example, you can paste text from the Clipboard into Notepad but not images. But can paste both text and images from the Clipboard into Paint or Wordpad.

There are several different ways to copy and paste from the Clipboard. Here are a few of the most common ways to do it.

Ways to copy to text to the Clipboard

Highlight the text you want to copy and then:

  • Press Ctrl + C on the keyboard
    Copying text to the Clipboard using the context menu inside of Windows 10
  • Right-click on the highlighted text and select Copy from the context menu

Ways to copy to graphics to the Clipboard

Highlight the image you want to copy and then:

  • Press Ctrl + C on the keyboard

If you can not highlight the image then:

    Copying an image to the Clipboard using the context menu inside of Windows 10
  • Right-click on it and select Copy
  • Use the Snipping Tool, Snip & Sketch or the Snipping Bar to capture a snip of it

Ways to paste from the Clipboard

Select where you want to place the graphic or text in the program of your choice then:

  • To paste the last item copied to the Clipboard press Ctrl + V on the keyboard.
  • To select an item on the Clipboard, press the Windows logo key Windows logo key + V to display the Clipboard history.
    Pasting an item from the Clipboard using Clipboard history in Windows 10
    Then use your mouse or keyboard arrows to scroll through the clips. When you find the one you want to use, left-click on it (mouse) or press enter (keyboard).

For more information on the keyboard shortcuts discussed in this article, just follow the links below.

Windows logo key shortcuts for Windows 10
General keyboard shortcuts

Check out the following video for examples of copying to and pasting from the Clipboard inside of Windows 10.

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