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Copy and Paste, but not in haste

copy and paste keys on a computer keyboard

Top Tips and Tools for Cutting, Copying, and Pasting

There’s more to the Windows clipboard than meets the eye.

Cutting, copying, and pasting seems like such a simple process, having been a core feature of Windows and Windows applications for years. But there are some tricks, techniques, and tools you can use to ease and enhance the process.

Now, you can use the new and improved clipboard to store and paste multiple items in one shot. You can also tell the clipboard to sync your cut or copied items across all your Windows 10 devices so whatever you copied to the clipboard is available on every device.

If that’s not enough, you can turn to third-party clipboard utilities such as ClipX, Ditto (which is what I use) and ClipClip. And in Microsoft Office, you can control and customize the items you paste so they take on the desired formatting and other attributes.

First, let’s look at the new Windows 10 Clipboard. Open Settings and then System and click on Clipboard. To begin storing multiple items one after the other, turn on the switch for Clipboard history.

Now, copy several items one after the other. You can copy text, images, hyperlinks, and anything else you’d normally copy. Move to a blank spot in a document. Press Win+V. The clipboard history window pops up showing all the items you copied sorted by the most recent ones at the top.

Scroll down the window and tap on the item you want to paste. Continue pasting the items as needed.

Next, you can control the items in the clipboard. Click on the X next to an item you no longer need and want to delete. Click on the pin next to an item you want to keep even if you clear all the items. Click on the Clear all link to remove all the items in the clipboard. Only the items you pinned will remain. Your clipboard history also is cleared when you shut down or reboot your computer, so make sure you pin any items you want to keep indefinitely. You can always remove a pinned item by clicking on its pin and then clicking on the X.

You can sync your clipboard history so it’s available on other computers running Windows 10. Return to Settings, System, and click on Clipboard. Turn on the switch for Sync across devices. Choose whether you want to automatically sync text that you copy or never automatically sync text that you copy. The first option is easier to work with as all items get synced.

Now, jump to another Windows 10 computer. Open Settings, System, and then Clipboard. Turn on the switches for Clipboard history and Sync across devices. Open a document or text file. Press Win+V, and the Clipboard history pops up with the items you copied on the other computer.

If you like the idea of storing all your clipboard items in an ongoing list but want more power and flexibility, you can try any one of a number of free third-party clipboard utilities.

One of my favorites is ClipX. The program is simple and basic. Just copy your items – text, images, hyperlinks, etc. Press a hotkey such as Alt+V to display the menu of copied items. Then, click on the item you want to paste.

You can specify the number of items to store in the clipboard, save your history across sessions, and define different hotkeys for pasting. The one downside is that ClipX hasn’t been updated in a long time, so it doesn’t have the latest bells and whistles. But at its core, it still works well.

Another good choice is Ditto . The process is the same. Copy or cut each item one after another. Press the hotkey or click the system tray icon to display the Ditto clipboard menu and select the item you want to paste. Ditto offers a healthy array of options. You can define the types of items to store in the clipboard, customize hotkeys for a variety of actions, and sync copied items to other computers. Ditto retains entries after you reboot or shut down your computer.

A third clipboard utility I recommend is ClipClip. Again, the process is familiar. Copy your items. Press the hotkey you defined to display the menu. Then, select the item you want to paste. You can opt to paste text with its formatting intact or as plain text. You also copy and paste hyperlinks, images, and other types of content.

By default, ClipClip keeps track of the last 100 items you cut or copied and it can even retain entries after you reboot or shut down your computer. You can pin individual clips to save them, save all the latest clips, or clear all the latest clips.

Finally, if you use Microsoft Office, you can control how cut or copied items are pasted. You can select the formatting for pasted items either as a default value beforehand or a change afterward.

To do this in Word, Excel, or PowerPoint, click on the File menu and select Options. At the Options menu, select Advanced and scroll down to the section for Cut, Copy, and Paste. Word offers the most options, giving you the ability to control your pastes within the same document, across different documents, between different documents with conflicting styles, and from other programs. Review and play with the different settings here to see which ones work best for you as the default values.

After you paste an item in Word, Excel, or PowerPoint, you can adjust the formatting through the Paste Options button. Click on the button immediately after a paste.

In Word, you can typically opt to retain the source formatting, merge the formatting with surrounding text, or keep the pasted content as text only.

In Excel, you can control the formatting, and also choose to paste the item as a formula, a value, or a link.

And in PowerPoint, you can select such options as using the destination theme, keeping the source formatting, or keeping text only.
Help make this column better by sharing your tips or experiences with your own tech with the Sangat. Email me and tell me your story or tip and do keep sending me suggestions for column topics along with your fave smartphone apps and reviews so I can share them here. Just email them to me at [email protected]