How to enable Clipboard History in Windows 10 and customize it

Aug 14, 2019
Software, Windows tips

Windows 10 has a ton of features baked into the OS; one such feature is the Clipboard History which some find mighty useful, others not so much.

It has been around for about a year but in case you haven't used it, here's a tutorial.

The Windows Clipboard stored a single entry for the longest time. Whenever you put something into the clipboard, all what was stored in it was erased. If you wanted the clipboard to store multiple entries, you had to use third-party programs like Clipboard Master.

The Clipboard History feature unlocks multiple save slots to store multiple items in the clipboard for later use. The feature is available in recent versions of Windows 10 but it is disabled by default.

How to enable Clipboard history in Windows 10

How to enable Clipboard history in Windows 10

  • Open the Settings app and navigate to the System screen.
  • Locate the Clipboard option on the side-bar, and click on it.
  • The right-pane should display the corresponding options. The Clipboard History option has a toggle beneath it which you can click to enable or disable depending on its state.

Now that you have enabled the feature, it's time to test it to find out how useful it is. To do so, use the following shortcut: press the Windows and V keys together. A pop-up window will appear on the screen.

It should be empty now because you just enabled it and have not copied something to the clipboard yet. The popup confirms that the history feature is enabled.

Try copying something to the clipboard, e.g. a line from this guide. Now open the Clipboard History panel again and you should see the copied text now on the screen. Try copying something else and it should also be visible on the panel along with the older content.

This can be very useful in case you accidentally copied something else to the clipboard but don't want to type it again. In fact, text is not the only content that is stored in the history. It also works with images that you copy to the clipboard. That's really handy but that's just about it. You can't use it to recover files that you copy to the Clipboard or other data.

How to use Clipboard history

Now that you know how to enable and view the Clipboard History, there are a few ways that you can use it. To paste content from the history place the cursor in the application that you want to paste the content into, e.g. Firefox, Chrome, Word, Excel, or any location that accepts text input.

Once you have done that switch to the Clipboard History pane and left-click on the content. It will be pasted at the cursor location instantly.

Advanced Options

You can optionally choose to sign in to your Microsoft Account to save the Clipboard History to the cloud. The option for this is available at the Clipboard settings screen. If you choose to enable it, the history will be synced across other devices that you sign in to.

So, you can copy something to the clipboard on your PC and sync it with your phone or another Windows PC or device that you use.

Personally I don't use this as clipboard content may contain important data. Speaking of which, you can manually clear the clipboard by clicking the X next to each entry or use the Clear Clipboard option in the Settings screen to delete all the data that was stored previously.

Have you noticed the pin icon next to each entry in the Clipboard History? You can use it to pin specific items to the panel.  It is a little odd though, because in most programs pinning something puts the item at the top of the screen. Pinned items in Clipboard History are instead saved from being deleted when you clear the clipboard. Well, I suppose it works like a real board where you pin and remove stuff.

I love this feature but I wish that the panel would stay in the background instead of automatically closing when I switch to another app.

You can try some free alternatives like ClipAngel or CopyQ if you don't like Windows' Clipboard manager.

How to enable Clipboard history in Windows 10
Article Name
How to enable Clipboard history in Windows 10
We teach you how to enable Clipboard history in Windows 10, and paste the content in other apps.
Ghacks Technology News

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  1. Dora Saylıkoğlu said on February 18, 2021 at 8:19 pm

    When I go to Settings > System > Clipboard, it says that some of these settings are hidden or it is controlled by your company. But it’s not. My Windows 10 version is newer than the 17666. What should I do?

  2. Amir said on October 25, 2019 at 6:53 pm

    Ashwin, can you please review ClipClip?

  3. CGA said on August 17, 2019 at 11:55 am

    Been using Ditto for many years, remembers not only text but also copied files.

  4. Robert G. said on August 15, 2019 at 12:17 pm

    For many years, I use ArsClip:

  5. Benjamin said on August 15, 2019 at 10:44 am

    …the clipboard is on since like when i activated this function but now that i checked with windows key V i see that there are no entries… besides that i wish that in cloud thinking it would be great when one could integrate ones own cloud into windows…

    1. ThereIsNoCloud said on August 15, 2019 at 1:49 pm

      Nobody hinders you to run Internet services on your internal network, it’s all there. And by the way, there is no such thing named cloud. Microsoft has no cloud either. They are just a cheap Web host, and one of the worst in the industry.

  6. boris said on August 15, 2019 at 4:45 am

    Is any way possible to put Clipboard into taskbar?

  7. YouRememberAmiga said on August 15, 2019 at 4:00 am

    As usual, the Microsoft folks are somewhat late to the party. The Amiga guys already did that trick back in the 80’s (30+ years ago…).

  8. Bashir Abba said on August 15, 2019 at 1:33 am

    Thanks for this. Because of this article I have now uninstalled Ditto.

  9. Yuliya said on August 14, 2019 at 11:11 pm

    This is even in LTSC O.O Kind of cool, also the ability to wioe clipboard built into Windows is neat, I no longer have to rely on CCleaner for this task.
    I don’t frequent this Settings thing in Windows 10, I set it once and then I avoid it as much as possible in favour of Control Panel, so I’m amazed there is actually something useful in there.

  10. Anonymous said on August 14, 2019 at 10:05 pm

    “You can optionally choose to sign in to your Microsoft Account to save the Clipboard History to the cloud.”

    Wait until this becomes the default for all unsuspecting Windows 10 users. Surprise data rape !

  11. chesscanoe said on August 14, 2019 at 9:42 pm

    I do not recall ever setting clipboard on, so I assume Microsoft Windows [Version 10.0.18362.295] (or before) set the default to on. It does work.

  12. Ross Presser said on August 14, 2019 at 7:35 pm

    I do not have any Clipboard entry under Settings > System on my Windows 10 machine.
    I am running Windows 10 Enterprise, Build 16299.rs3_release.180808-1748

    1. Ross Presser said on August 14, 2019 at 7:38 pm

      It appears it was introduced in Windows 10 build 17666, and I have 16299. So that’s why I don’t see it.

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