Windows 10's Clipboard History is the best little tool you're not using

One little Windows keyboard shortcut makes copying and pasting much more useful.

Credit: Jared Newman / IDG

Sometimes the best software tools are built right into the operating system you’re already using.

Case in point is Windows 10’s Clipboard History tool, which lets you store multiple items at a time for copying and pasting. While there’s no shortage of third-party clipboard managers for Windows—many of which cost money—Microsoft’s own option might be all you need. It’s especially handy if you’re often juggling a lot of text or images, and find yourself re-copying and pasting the same items repeatedly.

Using the Windows 10 Clipboard History tool is easy: Press Win+V, and you’ll see a small pop-up prompting you to turn on the feature. From that point onward, you can press Win+V to view a running list of the last 25 text snippets or images that you’ve copied.

To paste an older item from your Clipboard History, just click on it in the pop-up menu, and it’ll insert itself wherever your cursor is located. For text, you can also hold Shift while clicking to remove any formatting, similar to how you’d press Shift-Ctrl+V to paste the most recent item in your clipboard without formatting.

Extra Clipboard History options

The Windows 10 Clipboard History tool also tucks away a few extra features that you might not notice at first glance.

For items that you plan to paste repeatedly, you can pin them to the top of your list. Just open the Win+V pop-up menu, then click the three-dot icon next to the item and select Pin.

clipboardhistory3 Jared Newman / IDG

From this same menu, you’ll also notice options for Delete, which wipes that individual item from your clipboard, and Clear All, which nukes your entire clipboard history. Keep these options in mind if you’re copying sensitive data that you don’t want other users of your computer to see.

Don’t overlook Windows clipboard’s cloud sync capabilities, either. Head to Settings > System > Clipboard, then enable Sync across devices. You can then choose either to sync your entire clipboard or select items one a time. (For the latter case, you’ll see a Sync option in the three-dot menu next to any item in your clipboard.)

clipboardhistory Jared Newman / IDG

Synced clipboard items will automatically be available on other Windows 10 PCs signed into the same Microsoft account. On Android, Microsoft’s Surface Duo and certain Samsung phones also support clipboard sync via the Your Phone Companion app. Of course, deleting an item from your clipboard will remove it on other devices as well, and they’ll be removed automatically after 12 hours.

As with anything shortcut-related, the biggest challenge with Windows 10’s Clipboard History tool is remembering to use it in the first place. Next time your pinky’s hovering over the Ctrl key to copy and paste, just keep in mind that you can hit the Win key right next to it to make your clipboard a lot more useful.

For more neat Windows 10 tricks, check out this story by my colleague Brad Chacos. And for more practical tech advice in your inbox, sign up for my Advisorator newsletter.

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Jared Newman

PC World (US online)
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