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Create a Shortcut or Hotkey to Clear the Clipboard in Windows

Have you ever copied something to the clipboard that you don’t want to leave there in case somebody else is going to use your computer? Sure, you can copy something else to the clipboard real quick, but can’t you just make a shortcut or hotkey to clear it?

And of course you can, with the built-in clip.exe utility in Windows 7 or Vista. It’s not really meant for clearing the clipboard, but with a little command line magic in a shortcut, we can make it do just that.

Note: This is also useful if you copied a very large amount of data to the clipboard and you don’t want it wasting memory anymore.

Create a Shortcut Icon to Clear the Clipboard

Right-click on the desktop or elsewhere, and choose New \ Shortcut from the menu.

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Then in the shortcut location box, enter the following command:

cmd /c “echo off | clip”

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At this point you’ll have an icon that will immediately clear the clipboard… but we can tweak it a bit further.

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Right-click on the icon and choose Properties, and then change the Run drop-down to “Minimized” to make sure you don’t see the command prompt. You can also assign a shortcut key here.

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If you click the Change Icon button and then browse down to this file, you can find a clipboard icon:

%SystemRoot%\system32\shell32.dll

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Now we’ve got a nice-looking icon that will clear out the clipboard:

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Note: If you are using Windows XP, you can download clip.exe from Microsoft. Just save the file in the Windows directory and the rest of the hack should work for you.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 06/11/08

Comments (11)

  1. Scott

    How do I do this?

    Note: If you are using Windows XP, you can download clip.exe from Microsoft. Just save the file in the Windows directory and the rest of the hack should work for you.

  2. kelly

    I followed the instructions but it didn’t work. Then I changed the location to “C:\WINDOWS\clip.exe” and it worked. Is there any particular reason to use “cmd /c “echo off | clip”” instead of just entering the location of the clip.exe file?

    Also, when changing the icon I couldn’t find any clipboard icon (I’m using XP) but I was able to download one and use that.

    Thank you

  3. Val Lavrik

    Working version for Windows 7: cmd.exe /c echo off | clip

    For Windows XP, download and install CLIP.EXE from Microsoft.

    ftp://ftp.microsoft.com/Services/TechNet/samples/PS/Win98/Reskit/FILE/CLIP.EXE

  4. Colleen

    Thank you

  5. Brian

    I tried the echo off and it did not clear my clipboard. I am running Windows 7. I still have a message that says 24 of 24 when I copy items from one progam to another. Unless this clipboard is different.

  6. Pancocheli

    It doesn´t work in windows 7-64 bits

  7. kathy

    I have Windows 7 64bit. It didn’t work with first instructions, but i changed the location type to “cmd.exe /c echo off | clip” as stated by Val Lavrik (above) and it works great!! However it said I also had somewhere around 24 items on clipboard and I did clear them all out before I re-did the instructions.

  8. Bill

    For Windows 7, just drop the quotes – so the Target field reads

    C:\Windows\System32\cmd.exe /c echo off | clip

  9. miguelramos

    Thanks for clip.exe! I have been looking every frikin where for that!

  10. Missa

    I have at work is running Vista and none of these actions in the comments does not help. Run as administrator is not helping. Can someone tell why the process of cleaning the buffer is at idle? Please help?

  11. Missa

    I found out! Simply download the utility, and then doing everything as stated in the text. Only need to create a new folder and name it appropriately. From the folder click on the utility and right-click on the shortcut menu, choose to create a shortcut on the desktop. And then change the icon of the utility. But I do not have to change the properties of the item object in the tab label. Everything is working fine.

    Arigatou ^_^ ! “Geek” !

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