Exploring the Office clipboard

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The Windows clipboard is quite limited but there’s a better one hiding inside Microsoft Office for Windows. It can collect more items, paste in any order and be cleared when you like.  We’ll also show how to keep the sometimes annoying pane out of the way.

You’re about to hear more about the clipboard because Microsoft is, a long last, improving the clipboard in Windows 10.

There’s no need to wait because there’s already a better clipboard in Office 2007, Office 2010, Office 2013 and Office 2016 for Windows. It works in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, the Outlook email editor, Access and Publisher.   It’s NOT available in Visio nor OneNote, which was always a strange omission.

The Office clipboard collects multiple items from any Windows program and lets you paste them into Office documents in any order.  It saves you the ‘back and forth’ of grabbing each item, switching to Office for pasting then returning to the other program for another item.

A common situation is copying from a web page. With the standard Windows clipboard, it takes two ‘trips’ to copy the web page text plus the url in the address bar into Word.  The Office clipboard lets you grab both items from the browser, then switch to Word for pasting.

Office Clipboard Pane

Here’s the Office clipboard in action with three items ready to paste; an image, text from a web page and the web link of that page.

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The icons show what type of item it is.  In the above example; image, HTML text or plain text.  Items copied from Word, Excel or Powerpoint show related icons.

Not everything added to the Windows clipboard appears in the Office Clipboard.

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Files copied from Explorer (including images) don’t show up in the Clipboard Pane but can be pasted into Office documents.

Turn on the Office clipboard

Office clipboard always works, the difference is whether it’s visible on the screen and how it appears.

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On the Home ribbon of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Message tab in Outlook email editor go to the Clipboard section then click on the little arrow at bottom right (see image above).  That opens the Office Clipboard pane and shows all the current clipboard items.  Then click Options at the bottom.

Show Office Clipboard Automatically – whenever you add something to the clipboard, the Office Clipboard pane will appear right away.

Show Office Clipboard when Ctrl+C Pressed Twice – keeps the Clipboard Pane out of the way unless you press Ctrl + C twice in a row.

Collect without showing Office clipboard – keeps the Clipboard Pane invisible unless you open it from the Home | Clipboard button.

Show Office Clipboard icon on Taskbar – enables a small Windows Taskbar icon.

Show Status new Taskbar when copying – enables a small pop-up at bottom right of the screen whenever something new is added to the clipboard.

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Taskbar icon

The Office Clipboard taskbar icon has the same options as noted above plus a few other choices.

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Show Office Clipboard – opens the Clipboard pane in an open Office program

Clear All – deletes all items from the Office Clipboard

Stop Collecting – keep the existing items but don’t add anything else to the Office Clipboard.  The standard Windows Clipboard still works.  A useful option if you’re dealing with sensitive information that should not be copied, even temporarily, to another part of your computer.

Using the Office Clipboard

Collecting items for the Office Clipboard is the same as in Windows. Just make sure an Office program is open (Word, Excel, PowerPoint or Outlook) and the right options are set as shown above.

Use the standard clipboard shortcuts Ctrl + C (Copy) and Ctrl + X (Cut).

Pasting the last copied/cut item works as usual.  Just Ctrl + V  or one of the Paste options on the Home tab.

To paste older items on the Office Clipboard, open the Clipboard pane.  Click the pull-down menu item next to the item and choose Paste.

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Or just click/tap on the item and it’ll be pasted into the document.

Alas, you can’t ‘drag and drop’ something from the Clipboard Pane to a specific spot in the document.

Clearing / Deleting

Remove everything from the Office Clipboard with the Clear All button on the Pane or the Taskbar icon menu.

Individual items can be deleted from the Office Clipboard from the pull-down menu next to each item.

Paste all

Sometimes it’s handy to collect various items from other programs and documents them paste them as one block, usually into a Word document.

Before collecting, clear the Office Clipboard of other things with the Clear All option.

Then start collecting items using Ctrl + C or Ctrl + X as usual.

Finally, open the Office Clipboard pane, choose the insertion point in your document then click Paste All.

Moving the Office Clipboard Pane

The Office Clipboard Pane can be quite annoying on the side of a working document, especially if you have other Office panes open as well.

Keep in mind that Office side panes can be dragged to the other side of the document or floated off to the side of an Office program.  Click the top of the pane and drag around to suit you.

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Closing the Office Clipboard Pane

Hide the Clipboard Pane with the  X  at top-right of the pane.  The same as any other Office pane.

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