Clipboard is a short-term data storage utility that stores the copied data from anywhere on the computer and erases it on the next copy task or the system restart. The data in the clipboard will be overwritten upon the next copy task. For example, once you copied a text “Hello,” the clipboard contains that information and when you paste it anywhere like a text editor, the text “Hello” will be displayed. Once you copy any other text or an image, the clipboard will erase the previously stored information and overwrites it with the newly copied image or text. This is how the clipboard works.
Not only in computers, but the clipboard is implemented in almost of the modern-day tech gadgets such as Smartphones, Tablets, Smartwatches, etc. In simple words, clipboard allows transferring data between programs or applications via the copy-paste method. It was introduced in the GUI systems. On the Command Line operating environment, the clipboard wasn’t a practical possibility. Now, on almost all of the GUI enabled devices, the clipboard is one of the most essential features to make it easier to operate with the device.
Data formats supported by Clipboard
While talking about the meaning of clipboard, it is essential to talk a bit about the data formats it supports. You might already know some of them. This is for those that still doesn’t know.
In early days before the real clipboard that we are seeing in modern-day devices being invented, the clipboard was used to copy the data such as typeface, typestyle, or color. From there, now we are able to save multiple types of data and complex functions without any difficulties. This clearly states the technology advancement we achieved over the years.
Now, the clipboard is used almost everywhere. Either to copy a spreadsheet to another document or to just transfer a music file from one device to another. Clipboard is everywhere. There is no limit on what types of files and data we can copy using the clipboard functionality on Windows, Mac, Linux, or any other operating systems. You could copy almost anything including Pictures, Videos, Text, Documents, Software, Music, and almost everything.
Where is Clipboard data stored?
Clipboard data is stored in the RAM of the device. Whether it is a computer or mobile system, most of the clipboard functionalities that are in-built makes use of the RAM space. If you are using some advanced clipboard features with the help of a third-party tool, it might use the device storage instead. This is extremely rare.
Clipboards on different Operating Systems
To completely understand what is a clipboard, let’s now have a look at the usages of this function in different operating systems. Even if there are small differences from one to another, almost every OS utilizing the clipboards for the same purpose.
On Windows, we utilize the clipboard for the simple copy-paste purposes. The usage is explained as below.
- Ctrl+C: for copying data onto the clipboard
- Ctrl+X: for cutting data to the clipboard
- Ctrl+V: for pasting data from the clipboard to anywhere else
On Mac, we use the clipboard for the same purpose, but the shortcut keys vary a little.
- ⌘ Cmd-C: for copying data into the clipboard
- ⌘ Cmd-X: for cutting data to the clipboard
- ⌘ Cmd-V: for pasting data from the clipboard to anywhere else
Unix and Linux
On Linux and Unix operating systems, the usages are similar to Windows and the shortcuts are also the same. But In some advanced systems, the clipboard has some advanced facilities than a normal Windows PC.
- Ctrl+C: for copying data to the clipboard
- Ctrl+X: to cut data to the clipboard
- Ctrl+V: for pasting it from the clipboard
Even if the clipboard is a very small function with nothing special to implement or notice, there are numerous software available for enhancing the abilities of the simple clipboard that comes with the operating systems. We listed some of them below to help you. Have a look.
Some of them may not be available, and some links may be broken. It is an old list collected from Wikipedia. So, have a search to know more about them.
Clipboard Software for Windows
- AceClipboard: A simple clipboard app that floats on top of your current work for easier access.
- AtoZ Clipboard: A good software that allows copying up to 25 times before pasting.
- Spartan Multi-Clipboard: Clipboard for OneDrive synchronization.
- ClipSync: One of the best clipboard software for copying text between devices.
- 3D Clipboard: A good clipboard manager software for Windows OS that keeps track of the items you copied to the clipboard.
- ArsClip: Freeware clipboard manager utility that supports any version of Windows from Windows XP.
- Clipboard History: A versatile tool with numerous functions for easily organizing the data in your clipboard.
- Clipboard Magic: A nice clipboard software for cutting and pasting repetitive text or for web form entry.
- Clipboard Master: A software with templates, screenshot options, keyboard shortcuts, etc.
- Clipjump: A multiple clipboard management utility for Windows.
- ClipboardMultiSharer: A lightweight cross-platform utility to share the clipboards.
- Clipboard Typist: Paste the text from the clipboard, even if the program does not support this.
- Clipcomrade: A very simple and free open source windows clipboard manager tool.
- Clipomatic: A clipboard utility that stores and saves copied items for future use.
- ClipX: Yet another simple clipboard software for daily usage.
- Clipmate 7: Move a series of items, or save items for later use using the Clipmate.
- CopyTexty: Allows you to quickly paste the predefined text.
- Ditto: Search and paste previous copy entries, data is encrypted when sent over the network, keep multiple computer’s clipboards in sync.
- Hot Copy Paste: Comes with multiple snippets, full-text search, secure storage, and hotkey access.
- Open Paste: An advanced clipboard software for Windows.
- PasteCopy.NET: A clipboard manager that allows users to store multiple items and organize the clipboard content.
- Rclipstep: A simple clipboard manager tool.
- Shapeshifter: Comes with numerous shortcuts for easier usage.
- Wlipper: KDE’s Klipper or GNOME’s Glipper is very similar to this Windows Wlipper.
- Yankee Clipper 3 / X: A good alternative for the above-listed items.
- Clipboard Stripper: Allows strip formatting from the rich text, add rich formatting to the plain text, fix the formatting for the badly formatted text.
- Clipdiary: It saves complete clipboard history.
Clipboard Software for Mac
- BethClip: A cloud multi-platform clipboard sync & manage tool for Mac.
- Clipboard Evolved: A clipboard software with hundreds of functions.
- Clipmenu: Clipboard Manager for Mac OSX with the screenshot ability on Mac.
- Clyppan: An elegant tool for clipboard management.
- Cute Clips: A good tool that stores the clipboard history for a long time.
- Iclip: Copy plain-text, rich text, images, files, etc. in a convenient and easy way.
- Jumpcut: An application that comes with a unique function, namely “clipboard buffering.”
- Savvy Clipboard: Helpful for storing a list of items you copied to the Clipboard on Mac.
- Stuf: A multiple clipboard manager that can share your clippings over the Internet using the services like DropBox.
Clipboard Software for Linux
- ArchiveClipboard: A software for Linux which automatically stores clipboard content such as text, images, links, and files via cloud services.
- Glipper / Klipper: A clipboard tool to maintain a history of text copied to the clipboard.
- CopyIt: A simple application for the Linux / Unix platform.
Did you know? You can also copy images to the clipboard
Apart from the regular texts, you can also copy images to your clipboard and paste it in an image editing program. To test it out –
- Open your favorite browser.
- Search for an image.
- Right-click on the image.
- Click on Copy Image.
- Open an image editing program such as Paint or Photoshop.
- Press Ctrl + V on your keyboard.
- You will see the image pasted there directly.
If you copy PNG images to the clipboard and later paste it in an image editing software, it will lose its transparency.
Now you not only know the “Clipboard definition“, but also something more about it.