On a basic level there’s nothing wrong with Window’s clipboard. When you’re copying an image for a word document or grabbing details for an application form, it does its job perfectly well. When you want to go beyond storing one piece of data, however, Windows’ clipboard can’t keep up!
If you’re looking for something more advanced with your clipboard, there are a variety of free clipboard managers out there. Here are some of the best free clipboard managers you can use in Windows.
1. Clip Angel
If you find yourself copying different kinds of media as you work, Clip Angel is a great choice. It watches your clipboard as you use it and stores a history of each item you copy, from text to folders to URLs. What makes it particularly useful are the little icons beside each icon. At a glance, you can tell what’s a picture and what’s text, for example. It even lets you know where each of these copied items comes from when you click each entry, so you can figure out what came from where. To paste something, simply double-click it on the list. This includes files and folders which can be placed within a folder you’re currently exploring.
Ditto is a Clipboard Manager that supports many different types of files. It is a single interface that truncates copied items into rows. You are only able to import files that were created in the system. When you hit “copy + paste,” it automatically saves in the program. As with the previous Clipboard Managers, Ditto allows you to create groupings of clips.
One great thing about Ditto is that you are able to share clips between different systems. You just need to add the system information in the Friends tab.
Ditto even provides statistics that helps you understand how you are using the Clipboard Manager.
Ditto is no doubt a robust Clipboard Manager. It will be the best if it includes the import/export functionality found in other Clipboard Managers.
ClipCube is a text-based manager suited for programming and writing tasks. What makes this clipboard manager useful is its ability to tag entries. There are three set up at the start: clipboard, links, and scratchpads. The clipboard is where everything goes when you copy data. It will begin to cull later entries as you add new ones, but you can save old data from “falling off” by adding it to the scratchpad or tagging it.
The scratchpad is for saved clips, as well as notes you’ve created in ClipCube itself. Once you’ve copied something, you can assign it to a tag you’ve created to help keep things managed. This makes for a nice research and collection tool that keeps everything together. By double-clicking an entry in ClipCube, you put it to the top of the list and load it into Windows’ clipboard, ready for pasting.
4. Clipboard Fusion
Clipboard Fusion is a free manager that comes with a 30-day trial of its Pro version. As a manager, it comes with a lot of options to it. This includes hotkeys and macros, and those who opt for the Pro version get access to online syncing between devices. At a base level, it can list the things you’ve copied so far. This can be seen by clicking on “Clipboard Manager” in the settings, then “Open Clipboard Manager.”
If you’re a programming wizard, you may enjoy the C# macros you can make with Fusion. There’s even a database of pre-made user macros to select from, in case you don’t feel like reinventing the wheel!
One of the best features of Save.me is how in-depth it gets. When you copy an item, it will appear within Save.me’s “default” view, which you can access on the left. Save.me will let you know what was clipped, where it was clipped, what application the clip came from, when the clip was made, and even its file size. This makes for a fantastic choice if you need every detail of copied items readily available. It has a handy search feature, so you can find specific files or data easily. You can even put the entire program on a memory stick and have a portable program to use anywhere!
If you need a no-frills attached clipboard manager that focuses only on text, Echo is a great choice. Its portable version is a measly 5MB in size, which makes it easy to carry with you. It comes with a powerful search function that searches as you type with near-instant speed, making it perfect for sifting through large amounts of text. On top of this, each entry remembers where and when it was clipped, as well as a tally on how many times it has been posted since it was put onto the clipboard.
Controlling the Clipboard
While Windows’ default copy-paste function does a good job, it’s lacking for people who want more functionality. Now you know of some great options to download and use if you find yourself copying and pasting a lot.
How dependent are you on advanced clipboards? Let us know below!
This article was first published in Nov 2009 and was updated in Nov 2017.