Elevate your copy and paste game with this handy built-in Windows feature that takes seconds to enable.
The Keyboard Shortcut
The simplest way to turn on the Windows clipboard history is to simply press the Windows key + V. The clipboard window will pop up with a button to Turn On.
This works in both Windows 10 and Windows 11.
Click Turn On to enable the feature.
Now every time you press Windows + V, it will show a list of items that have been copied to the clipboard, allowing you to easily select and paste previous entries by clicking on them.
That’s the simple ‘less than a minute’ way to get started with it.
For more tips about how to manage those items in your history, read on (or take your newfound power and go drive around in it like you stole it — that’s okay too).
What is the clipboard history?
The clipboard history is a convenient feature that allows users to easily access and reuse previously copied or cut items without having to go back and recopy them. It can save a lot of time and effort, especially when working on repetitive tasks or projects.
It’s important to note that the oldest items in the clipboard history will automatically disappear after 25 items have been saved, unless they are “pinned”. This means that users can pin important or frequently used items to prevent them from being overwritten by newer ones.
Overall, the clipboard history is a useful tool for managing and accessing recent snippets of data that have been copied or cut on a Windows computer.
How to view and use your clipboard history
The difficult way to enable it in the Windows settings first. Go to Settings > System > Clipboard, and turn on the “Clipboard history” toggle. Knowing this location is handy if you decide to share your clipboard across your devices, but the Windows Logo Key + V keyboard shortcut is all you really need to turn it on.
The windows clipboard menu that pops only holds 10 of your items by default.
You can paste items at the cursor position by clicking on them.
In the upper-right-hand corner of each item is the three-dot menu. If you click that you can perform a few actions:
- Delete: To delete individual items
- Pin: To pin items for long-term storage, click on the Pin icon. Pinning items will increase the max from 25 items. For example if you pin 5 items, your max items will then be 30.
- Clear All: This will clear all items from your clipboard history. Items that you’ve pinned will remain, however.
Additionally, you can consider sharing or syncing the clipboard content with other devices by enabling the “Sync across devices” option in the Clipboard settings.
Whether you want to reuse a piece of text, an image, or a link, the clipboard history makes it convenient to do so. By taking advantage of the pin and sync options, you can ensure that important items are readily available across all your devices.
If you’ve ever wondered how to keep something in the clipboard between reboots of the computer, pinning items to the clipboard history is how you can do it.
Pro Tip: Pasting without formatting using the Windows Clipboard History
There are times you’ll copy something but it has troublesome formatting that comes with it like colored text or tables that are trying to hitch a ride onto your document.
Here’s a cool workaround.
After you’ve hit Windows + V, just before you click the item you want to paste, hold the SHIFT key down. Then click.
If you were looking for plain text, you got it.
(Another workaround is to paste the clipboard entry into notepad or the run dialog first, but holding shift is way easier).
Macs can be set up to use a clipboard history too
To enable clipboard history on a Mac or Macbook, you can install a third-party clipboard utility such as CopyClip or PasteBot as the Mac does not have this feature built-in. These utilities provide the functionality to paste multiple recently cut or copied items.
First, you’ll need to download the desired third-party clipboard utility from the Mac App Store or their official website. Once the utility is installed, you can typically access the clipboard history by clicking on the utility’s icon in the menu bar. From there, you can see a list of the most recent items that have been copied or cut.
To enable the functionality, you may need to adjust the settings within the third-party utility to ensure that it starts automatically when you turn on your Mac. You may also need to grant the utility permission to access your clipboard in order for it to work properly.
Once the third-party clipboard utility is installed and set up, you can enjoy the convenience of having access to your clipboard history and easily paste multiple previously copied items whenever you need them.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to turn off clipboard history
There are times you may not want to keep this enabled. Maybe it’s a shared computer.
To turn off the Clipboard History in Windows, got to Settings > System > Clipboard and toggle the pill-slider to off.
What if I don’t have a Windows Key on my keyboard?
The popular answer is that if you don’t have a Windows Key, you’re just out of luck. That’s not true. You can use one of the software keyboards that comes with Windows. This article explains out to enable that keyboard and use it.
Where is the Windows clipboard history stored?
The Windows clipboard history is stored in RAM, the part of the computer that only holds information when power is supplied to it. It’s important to note that this excludes the pinned items. Pinned items are not just stored in RAM and will still be present when the computer is restarted.
Pinned items are stored in a folder so they’re present between reboots. That folder is located here:
Unpinned items are not stored on the hard drive.
Where are screenshots stored?
Seperately from the actual clipboard history, screenshots are stored on the hard drive in a couple of places. If you’ve used the Windows Key + PrintScreen key combo, these screenshots will be stored in your Pictures > Screenshots folder.
Where are screenshots stored using the Windows-shift-S key combo?
For screenshots using the Shift + Windows Key + S, they’re a bit harder to find (and only last until your computer is rebooted). On my Windows 10 computer, that location for me (at the moment) can be found at:
Different releases of Windows 10 and Windows 11 store these clips in different folders underneath \AppData\Local\Packages\
How to clear the clipboard history?
To clear the Windows clipboard history, open the history using Windows-V and look for the three dots next to one of the items in the list. Click those three dots. Then click “Clear All”. This will clear everything except your pinned items.
To clear those pinned items you’ll need to manually unpin each item that’s pinned
Note: restarting your computer will have the same effect as the “Clear All” method.
If you would like visitng the settings of the computer instead, navigate to Settings > Clipboard and at the bottom click the “Clear” button.
Mastering the Windows clipboard history feature enriches your productivity by enabling quick access and management of copied or cut items.
By simply pressing the Windows key + V, you can unlock a convenient way to reuse previous entries, save time on repetitive tasks, and streamline your workflow across Windows 10 and Windows 11.
This built-in tool, complemented by options to pin, delete, or sync items across devices, demonstrates a significant boost in efficiency for both casual and power users alike.