PC Clipboard

PC Clipboard: a reader asks…

I use a Windows 10 PC. I know that I can copy and paste things from one window to another by using Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V. That seems to work fine for most things, but it’s limited in that I can only paste the last item I copied. Is there a way to be able to copy more than one thing?

You’re using the ‘invisible’ clipboard that works on all computers. You copy something to this using the Ctrl+C key combination (on your keyboard) and whatever you had highlighted or selected gets copied to the clipboard. Then you can place your cursor wherever you like and use the Ctrl+V key combination to paste that item. This works quite simply and reliably.

In Windows, the clipboard function is set by default to only keep the last copied item in memory, but this can be easily changed. In my article Screenshots of my PC I mentioned that the key combination Win+V (the Windows key and the V key on your keyboard) opens the Clipboard app, which lets you use the more powerful ‘history’ functions of the Clipboard. Clipboard history can keep up to 25 of the most recent items you copied using the Ctrl+C key combination.

The next time you want to copy and paste something, copy it just like you normally do, and then instead of pressing Ctrl+V, press the Win+V key combination instead. You’ll see a popup appear wherever your cursor was, showing you the item you last copied, plus older items you’d previously copied.

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If you didn’t have Clipboard History already turned on, you’ll see a popup with a blue Turn On button. Click that to start the Clipboard History app and from that point forward it’ll save all the items you’ve copied with Ctrl+C.

If you already had Clipboard History enabled, you’ll see a scrollable list of items you’ve recently copied, and you can click any one to paste it into the location of your cursor. I should mention this works the same way in Windows 11 as it does in Windows 10.

And notice the three horizontal dots (aka, an elipsis) to the right of each item in the Clipboard history popup: that’s the control you can click to either

  1. delete the item from the clipboard history,
  2. clear all items from the clipboard history, or
  3. pin a specific item so it remains in the clipboard history.

That third item can be important if you have things you copy and paste often. You can pin them in the history and then use them whenever you need them.

And if you don’t like the clipboard history function, you can simply stop using Win+V and go back to using Ctrl+V instead. Or you can turn it off completely by opening Windows Settings > System > Clipboard > and sliding the Clipboard history off.

Mac users aren’t left out in the cold, the only difference is the key combination Command + V. Macs have clipboard history turned on by default (unlike Windows PCs).


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