How to Use the Built-in Microsoft Office Clipboard in Windows

There’s a very good chance you use your operating system’s clipboard on a daily basis, even if you’re unsure what a “clipboard” is! The clipboard is where data “goes” when you copy or cut it and where data “comes from” when you paste it. If you use Windows, the clipboard you use on a day-by-day basis is likely Windows’ own. In terms of functionality, Windows’ clipboard is very basic; however, the Microsoft Office clipboard is far more advanced and makes working within the Office suite much easier.

How Is It Better?

When you copy or cut data in Windows, it will store it on its own clipboard. From here you can paste that data wherever you like, as much as you like. The moment you copy or cut something different, the clipboard is wiped clean and the new data replaces it. This is fine for basic migration of data, but it’s not so great if you want to manage copying and pasting multiple chunks of data at once.

The Microsoft Office clipboard is a little different. When you copy data to the Office clipboard, it takes up one of twenty-four slots that Office has on its advanced clipboard. This means you can copy twenty-four different items and they won’t erase one another; they’ll each reside in their respective “slot,” ready to be pasted whenever you need them.

How Do I Access the Clipboard?

You might have used Office for years and not known about its advanced clipboard. That’s because it’s not 100% intuitive on how to activate it. With a few easy steps you can get the most out of this great (yet hidden!) feature.

First of all, let’s bring the clipboard out of hiding. On the Home ribbon, under the Clipboard category, you should see a tiny box on the bottom right. Click this.


The clipboard will appear on the left.


This is where all your copied and cut data will be kept. If you’ve copied multiple items before opening this clipboard, only the most recent entry will be present. This is because the Office clipboard doesn’t activate until you open it for the first time each session. If you want to change this, you can make the Office clipboard store data even if you don’t open it, which we’ll cover later.

Using the Clipboard

If you leave this clipboard open, you’ll notice that when you copy or cut data, it will pop up within the Microsoft Office clipboard.



If you click on each entry, it will paste it into the document where Word’s cursor is. Pasting an entry won’t clear it from the list, so feel free to use each one as much as you like. Even better, if you open another piece of software within the Office suite, your clipboard will follow you. This makes the Office clipboard a very useful tool if you’re always carrying data between suites. Here, we can take what we copied from Word and paste it into an Excel spreadsheet via the Microsoft Office clipboard.


If you find yourself importing data from programs into Office, the clipboard can keep track of that, too. Here we copy the phrase “Browser Autofill Features” from a web browser, which Office detects and puts on its own clipboard.




If you really enjoy the Microsoft Office clipboard, there are additional settings in the Options button at the bottom.


Show Office Clipboard Automatically is ideal if you see yourself using this feature a lot. Enable this and it’ll always show when you open Office, ready to use.

Show Office Clipboard When Ctrl + C is Pressed Twice is the ideal choice if you’ll use this feature every so often. It’ll stay hidden when you don’t want it, but when the need arises, a double-press of the copy shortcut will bring it back out.

Collect Without Showing Office Clipboard will allow you to copy items into the Office clipboard even if you haven’t opened it during a session. This is a good option to tick if you’re always accidentally overwriting text on the clipboard when using Office. With this option on you can simply open the clipboard and retrieve previous data.

Show Office Clipboard Icon on Taskbar will put an icon on your taskbar when the Office clipboard is active. You can right-click this icon to perform basic actions, such as viewing the clipboard or preventing it from collecting data.

Show Status Near Taskbar When Copying displays a notification at the bottom right every time you copy something, showing how much room there is on the clipboard. A good option for power users!

Clever Clipboard

While Windows’ default clipboard can be useful, Office builds upon it with a whole host of features. Now you know how to access this special clipboard, what it can do, and how to make the most of it.

Do you use the clipboard often? Do you see this feature being useful in your daily life? Let us know below.

Simon Batt
Simon Batt

Simon Batt is a Computer Science graduate with a passion for cybersecurity.

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