Most operating systems like Windows 10 only copy one thing to the clipboard at a time and don’t store any history. In this way, the clipboard is constantly being overwritten by any subsequent thing you copy to the clipboard. This is why you cannot find previous things you copied. Anything other than what you just copied is basically lost forever. Just think of the operating system as having a short-term memory when it comes to clipboard history. The only workaround (unless you are using an OS like Windows XP’s Clipboard History) is by using various software applications that may have their own built-in clipboard capability and store a bit more clipboard history. Here I’ll explain how to use MS Word’s clipboard history feature, and even better, a standalone free application that saves
all text history plus all your screenshots!
A limited method – Use MS Word to see all “recent” text you copied to the clipboard
Various software applications like recent versions of MS Office have built-in clipboard features that allow you to view all recent text you copied to the clipboard. MS Word stores to clipboard the last 24 instances of text you copied.
- Copying text in editors like Windows Text Document or Google Docs is saved in the MS Word clipboard if you have MS Word open.
- Copying text from websites is saved in the MS Word clipboard if you have MS Word open.
- Copying text from an e-mail is saved in the MS Word clipboard if you have MS Word open.
- No need to download an application if you have MS Office or Word installed.
- You need to have MS Word always open in order to take advantage of this feature.
- The MS Word Clipboard only allows you to copy a maximum of 24 text items.
- Even if you save the MS Word document you will lose your clipboard history.
- The clipboard is limited to text only. This is a disadvantage if you need to have a clipboard history of screenshots. This is because of capacity limitations.
- The clipboard is not searchable.
The MS Word clipboard process explained
With MS Word open it can collect copied text from other other text editors you are working in, copied text from websites, copied text from e-mails, and Google Docs. Here I’ll explain the process:
1. Open MS Word.
2. Create a new blank document in MS Word.
3. Locate the MS Word clipboard feature and expand it by clicking the icon.
4. Once you have this open you can run some tests like copying text inside Google Docs, from a website, or from an e-mail. Use keyboard Ctrl + C to copy text. The copied text will appear inside MS Word Clipboard view panel as shown. Remember this will only hold up to 24 instances of text you have copied and will not be saved once you close MS Word.
The BEST method – Use a 3rd party application to save your “entire” clipboard history containing all the things you copied
The best way to save all of the things you copied is by using a 3rd party application and keep it running in the background. I recommend using a popular application called Clipdiary. I have chosen Clipdiary because it has numerous features and it’s currently offered as a free 60-day trial. You can retrieve data stored in the clipboard history whenever you need to, even after many years. Clipdiary essentially creates a database which you can monitor and set to a preferred size depending on how much information you want to save.
- Clipdiary saves all text you copy from your text editors, e-mails, and websites.
- Clipdiary saves all of your screenshots!
- Even if you close Clipdiary it will permanently save your previous copied text and screenshots, unlike MS Word. (Just don’t forget to reopen Clipdiary on your next session)
- It’s fully searchable.
- The interface and features are very thought-out and streamlined with quick keyboard shortcuts to view your clipboard at any time.
- Exceptionally easy to use. In fact, part of the installation process has a quick tutorial built-in. I found this to be pretty impressive.
- Non-intrusive. The Clipdiary full interface only pops-up when you tell it to. This is done by using the shortcut keys you specify during the easy installation process.
- I’m only putting a con here as a reminder to you. Clipdiary must remain open in the background in order to capture your clipboard history. By default, Clipdiary will open on Windows startup so this really isn’t an issue.
1. Visit Clipdiary’s website http://clipdiary.com/ to download the latest version.
2. Install Clipdiary. You should see Clipdiary’s Welcome to the wizard for configuring and getting acquainted with Clipdiary. Follow the installation and configuration process by following the prompts like setting your Hot Key and then use their Practice Page to understand the basic principles of how Clipdairy works.
A quick overview of some Clipdiary features
When you first start out you will only have what you have recently copied to the clipboard since installing Clipdiary. The example shows a fresh start because I deleted all but one test, but I literally had hundreds of clipboard items.