Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, and 2013. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Understanding the Clipboard.

Understanding the Clipboard

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated April 11, 2015)

Any long-time Windows user knows that the Clipboard is the place where information is temporarily stored when you are cutting or copying. The Clipboard is a feature of Windows, but it is supported completely by Word. (There is also an Office Clipboard; more on that in a moment.) You place information in the Clipboard by first selecting it and then choose Copy or Cut from the tools available on the Home tab of the ribbon. You can also press Ctrl+C (to copy) or Ctrl+X (to cut).

When information is stored in the Clipboard, Windows also keeps track of the type of information stored. For instance, if you copy some text to the Clipboard, Windows tracks the source of the text. The reason for tracking the source is so the information can be correctly pasted into a different program. This means that if you copy cells from an Excel worksheet, you can paste them into Word in a variety of formats.

If you have something in the Clipboard, you can either paste it into Word by clicking the Paste tool on the Home tab of the ribbon or by pressing Ctrl+V. If you want more control over how something is pasted from the Clipboard, use the Paste Special tool on the Home tab of the ribbon.

Microsoft Office (which includes Word) also has an expanded version of the Clipboard. The Office Clipboard interacts with the regular Windows Clipboard in that the latest item copied to the Clipboard is in both the Windows and Office clipboards. The Office Clipboard, however, will keep track of many more than a single cut or copy. You can display the contents of the Office Clipboard by displaying the Home tab of the ribbon and then clicking the small icon at the bottom-right of the Clipboard group. Word displays the Clipboard pane at the left side of the document.

Clicking any of the items in the Clipboard pane pastes it wherever the insertion point is in the document. The Options drop down list at the bottom of the Clipboard pane sets options of when to automatically display the Clipboard pane and Clipboard indicators displayed at the system taskbar.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (10415) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Understanding the Clipboard.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...


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