How to view your clipboard history

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Your Windows computer has a clipboard feature that you are probably not even aware of!



Before I tell you today’s tip, a little background or “setup” information so that everyone is on the same page.

One of the most useful features of a computer is the ability to Cut and Paste or Copy and Paste. If you don’t use this, you should learn how to do it. It’s really easy and comes in very handy all the time.

Here’s how it works in a basic example – let’s say you have a Word document that has five paragraphs. You want to move the second paragraph down to the end of the document. Well, you could just retype the whole paragraph at the end, and then delete it from its original spot. That would achieve your end result. But there’s a much easier way!

You can highlight the entire paragraph, then tap CTRL + X (this is the “cut” part of Cut and Paste. When you do this, two things happen:

  1. The paragraph disappears from the Word document (don’t worry, it’s not gone)
  2. The paragraph gets stored temporarily on the clipboard (keep this in mind; we’ll come back to it)

Now, you go to the end of the document and put the cursor where you want that paragraph to appear. Now you tap CTRL + V (this is the “paste” part). And there’s your paragraph, where you want it.

That’s how Cut and Paste works.

If instead of CTRL + X, you did CTRL + C, that means you are “copying” instead of “cutting”. So when you paste, the paragraph will be at the end of the document, but it will also still be in its original position.

So what’s the clipboard?

When you Cut or Copy, whatever you have highlighted gets stored on the Clipboard. You won’t see this on the screen though. Think of the Clipboard as being an “invisible” thing that temporarily stores whatever you are cutting or copying. You can’t see it, but it’s there and it’s doing what it’s supposed to be doing.

So that’s the background of how Copy/Paste and Cut/Paste works. Now here’s today’s cool tip:

You can actually view the past items you have put on your clipboard, and paste them over and over. Here’s how: hold down the Windows key, and tap the letter “v”. Windows + v.

You’ll see a little window pop up on your screen, and there are the last several items you’ve cut or copied. I’m not sure how many it’s able to display, but I just checked mine and it shows the last 16 items.

So if you need to paste something over and over, you don’t have to go back to the original, highlight it, and copy it again. Just click to display the Windows Clipboard, and grab it from there.

And by the way, it doesn’t matter if you copied text or an image – they will all show up in the Windows Clipboard.

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August 16th, 2021

Your tip on showing past clipboard items is so hidden as to be unknown! Very useful, thanks!

Richard Grondin
August 19th, 2021

Tried Windows+v several times and nothing comes up.
I put something on my clipboard.
What am I missing?

Scott Johnson
August 19th, 2021

Not sure – I would need to see it in order to see what’s happening. Seems like what you’ve done is correct but there is something missing.