How to activate the new clipboard functions in the Windows 10 October 2018 Update

The Windows 10 October 2018 Update adds several new and improved functions to the basic clipboard, making copying and pasting even easier.

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Image: Anatoliy Babiy, Getty Images/iStockphoto

The clipboard function is one of the most common features of Microsoft Windows 10. Cutting or copying bits of text or an image from one application and then pasting it into another application is a process many of us perform on an almost daily basis. In many ways, it is fundamental to our collaborative and social media-centric digital lives.

With the release of the Windows 10 October 2018 Update, which is currently back on track and headed for your PC soon, the basic clipboard is receiving several new and improved functions. By adding a history and a cloud component, the Windows 10 clipboard will now be able to remember more than one item of clipped data and could even include the ability to copy and paste between computers.

SEE: System update policy template download (Tech Pro Research)

This how-to tutorial shows you how to activate and use the new cloud features of the Windows 10 clipboard. Keep in mind, you have to run version 1809 of the Windows 10 operating system to access the new functions.

Improved clipboard

The new and improved clipboard functions are located in System settings. On the standard Windows 10 desktop, click or tap on the Start Button and then click the Settings icon. Click the System menu item and then scroll down the left-hand navigation bar until you see the Clipboard entry. Click that link to reveal the clipboard configuration screen shown in Figure A.

Figure A

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Figure A

Change the Clipboard History toggle button to the "On" position to activate the new features. Cut (CTRL-X), copy (CTRL-C), and paste (CTRL-V) keyboard shortcuts all work the same as before the update, only now each new cut or copy will not delete the previous action. Instead, you will retain a history of your clipboard activity.

To reach the clipboard history, type this keyboard shortcut: Windows Logo Key-V. As you can see in Figure B, this action opens a new window listing your previous cuts and copies. Click on the clipped item you want, and it will paste into your current application.

Figure B

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Figure B

If you look closer at the clipboard history (Figure C), you will notice that each clipped item can be cleared from memory individually. There is also a clear all button, which will reset the entire history except for pinned items. Pinning an individual item using the pin button will permanently store your clipped item, so you can paste it later. Pinning specific text or an image you use multiple times to your clipboard could be a real time saver for many.

Figure C

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Figure C

Back on the clipboard configuration screen (Figure A), you will notice an entry, Sync across devices, that will allow you to upload your clipboard history to the cloud. This feature will allow you to cut or copy an item from one Windows 10 PC and then paste it to another Windows 10 PC. The key to this function is that you must use the same Microsoft login for each PC. To set up the feature, you will have to agree to share your data and confirm your Microsoft login credentials on every computer involved in the transaction.

Updates and improvements to the Windows 10 clipboard have been a long time coming. People who use the clipboard on a daily basis are sure to make good use of its new features. If you cannot wait for the Windows 10 October 2018 Update to arrive naturally, you can download and install the update manually.

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By Mark Kaelin

Mark W. Kaelin has been writing and editing stories about the IT industry, gadgets, finance, accounting, and tech-life for more than 25 years. Most recently, he has been a regular contributor to BreakingModern.com, aNewDomain.net, and TechRepublic.