How to Use the Windows 10 Clipboard History and Sync

From the October 2018 Windows 10 update onward, Clipboard now records all copied images and text. You can also preview and then paste items from history. In addition, there is an option to pin the things that you need to copy and paste often.

Windows 10 also now uses cloud technology to sync Clipboard history across devices and for quick access. Find out below how to use these options, followed by a few tips that can improve the user experience.


Turning On Clipboard Options

The following actions apply to Windows 10 version 1809. If you’re running anything older, you’ll want to update Windows first. In short, there are two ways to get to Clipboard options and they are as follows.

Settings App

Launch Settings and select System and then Clipboard. Toggle the button under Clipboard history and do the same for “Sync across devices.”

The same menu allows you to “Clear clipboard data” by just clicking the corresponding button to trigger the action. This will remove everything except for pinned items.

Important Note

When you toggle on “Sync across devices,” you’ll be greeted by the following:

“Automatically sync text that I copy” — this will sync everything to all your devices and cloud.

“Never automatically sync text that I copy” — you need to manually choose what you want to sync.

After selecting one of the two, Windows will initiate syncing.

Shortcut Method

Depress the Windows key and V on your keyboard to get to Clipboard history and then click the “Turn on” button. If you haven’t copied anything that day, it will inform you that the history is empty.

Using the Clipboard

Needless to say, the old shortcuts still work. Use Ctrl + C to copy or Ctrl + V to paste. You can do the same by right-clicking and selecting copy or paste.

Furthermore, hitting Windows Key + V will open clipboard history. It’ll list the history based on application (OneNote, Word, Snip & Sketch, etc.) and also text and pictures.

How to Copy an Item from History

Select the item and right-click on it before selecting Cut or Copy. Go to the destination document, use Windows Key + V, and select the item one more time.

How to Pin or Remove Items from History

Go to Clipboard history (Windows Key + V), find the item that you want to pin, and click on the corresponding icon in the upper right corner.

To unpin an item, you’d just click on the pin icon again. And to remove, just click the X after selecting the item.

Nowadays, you can also “Clear all” Clipboard history. Click on the three horizontal dots in the upper right corner and select the appropriate option. That’s where you’ll also find Delete and Pin.

Clipboard History Limitations

Some of the copied items don’t show up in history or sync to other devices. For instance, if you copy or move a file, it’s not going to show up in Clipboard history. But, of course, if you only copy the file name, it’s going to show up under history.

However, as you probably know, Clipboard will record copied images. Not the entire though, but rather only images that you copy in a document.

There is also a 4 MB limit on the image size that can be stored in history. This is an upgrade over the previous limit of just 1 MB.

Moving on, the history menu displays 25 previously-copied items from last to first. And there no way to change the order or arrange by filename, size, and such.

It bears to bring up the security concerns too. If you’re going to copy sensitive data like passwords or your social security number, you might want to disable Clipboard history first. This is because anyone who gets on your PC will be able to look up your Clipboard history.

That said, this is something that can be resolved with user profiles. For example, only let other people access your PC as a guest.

Neat Trick

If your devices are syncing, you should choose “Never automatically sync text that I copy” under Automatic syncing. This prevents Windows from uploading copied texts to Microsoft servers.

Enjoy Revamped Clipboard

Despite the limitations, Microsoft has done a really good job to improve Clipboard. Advanced users can enable and disable options in Windows Registry. And if privacy is your main concern, you can enable or disable history for each user via Group Policy.

It’s great that the UI is streamlined and you don’t need to navigate too many menus to make it all work. This also applies to the advanced settings in Windows Registry and Group Policy. Here’s the deal. If you haven’t enabled history or syncing, now might just be the time to do it.


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