How To VIew the Windows 10 Clipboard History

The limited functionality of the humble Windows Clipboard has long been overshadowed by third-party software. A growing need for added functionality created a rich environment for so-called clipboard managers to gain popularity. If you’re a power user, chances are you’ve been using a clipboard manager for a long time, but that may soon change.

In October 2018, version 1809 of Windows 10 brought with it the long-awaited Clipboard History feature. Obviously taking a cue from user experience, Microsoft decided to integrate more functions into their native clipboard. For some users, this will completely remove the need for third-party clipboard managers.

How Does It Work?

Clipboard History, in a nutshell, allows you to copy multiple items to your clipboard rather than overwriting the last item when another is added. This is the most basic advancement, but more useful features are added as well. Clipboard History will also allow you to pin items, which then remain in your history, as well as sync your history across devices. This last part is particularly useful for remote work, as it allows quick access to files without having to upload them or transfer them physically.

Windows 10

The feature is only available for Windows 10 builds 1809 and newer, so you may need to update your Windows. To do that, follow the instructions on Microsoft’s official website. Once you’ve got the latest build, follow these steps:

  1. Before you can use it, you have to activate Clipboard History. To do so, head over to Windows Settings and click on System.
  2. In the System panel, click on the Clipboard tab and shift the slider for clipboard history to “On.”
  3. In the same panel, you can choose if you want to sync your clipboard with other devices you’re signed in to. To do this, shift the slider under Sync Across Devices to the “On” position.

An important consideration when using automatic sync is that you will be keeping a record of everything you copy on all synced devices. This can include sensitive information such as passwords or private pictures. Make sure that you clear your history periodically or keep the automatic sync turned off.

Using Your Clipboard History

Now that it’s activated, access your history by pressing the Windows key and the V key together. A window will appear showing the items you’ve clipped in order from newest to oldest. From this panel, click on any of the items to paste it into your application.

Every item will have a Menu button in the form of three horizontal dots in the top-left corner. This will open a menu from which you can pin an item to keep it in history when it’s cleared. You can also delete items individually or clear the entire history from the same menu.


Automatic Sync Feature

Windows’ sync feature can automatically transfer your clipboard history to all the computers that you are signed in to. Keep in mind that, for this to work with Clipboard History, all the PCs will need to have Windows 10 build 1809 or later.

If you activate this option, the default setting syncs everything you copy regardless of the file type. As the name implies, Automatic Sync works without any additional actions on your part. You also have the option not to sync automatically but to do so manually. You can sync individual files from the clipboard window through the drop-down menu.

A consideration is that the clipboard history has a size limit of 4MB, so while you can copy items larger than 4MB, they will follow the “last in, first out” protocol.

What If You Need More?

The Windows Clipboard History certainly adds a lot of functionality to the standard clipboard. However, for some users, even this won’t be enough. If you find that you need even more functions, you may want to look into what’s available from third-party developers.

As already mentioned, clipboard managers have long been a staple of productivity enthusiasts, so there are plenty to choose from. If you want to try an all-in-one solution with just about every feature you’ll ever need, Clipboard Master is the right choice for you.

This software will truly offer more functions than you know what to do with. It supports pictures, files, and text. A built-in search feature will make it easy to find what you’re looking for among the 10,000 entries that it can handle. It has a Fixed Clipboard feature to store the most common items you use for quick access. It even has an encrypted password manager.

If you want to go the extra step, try out Clipboard Master.

The Copycat’s Out of the Bag

Microsoft’s new Clipboard History feature solved a known issue very simply and elegantly. The average user will find it more than fitting to streamline their work process, and the no-frills design makes it very easy to use. Of course, some users will want a broader range of functions, and there are certainly many choices out there that surpass the functions added by Microsoft.

Do you have a favorite clipboard manager that you just can’t live without? Tell us what it is and why you like it in the comments below.

2 thoughts on “How To VIew the Windows 10 Clipboard History”

Avatar Narvey says:
I’ve used ArsClip for a long time, and it has been somewhat useful, but I can’t call it dependable since it has bugs and sometimes covers the entire screen and is very difficult to stop without Task Manager.
I’ll try to replace it with this built-in feature, with automatic sync turned off for security.
Avatar Aaron says:
Anybody else having this issue: When pasting with Win-V after the 1903 upgrade, current app just hangs for 15-20 seconds unless I alt-tab out and back in.. Worked great in 1809..

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