Windows 10’s October 2018 Update has a new Clipboard experience. You can now access a history of items you’ve copied to your clipboard, pin frequently used items, and sync your clipboard across your PCs.

How to Enable the New Clipboard Features

To enable these new clipboard features, head to Settings > System > Clipboard. If you don’t see the “Clipboard” option on your system, it’s because you haven’t upgraded to the October 2018 Update yet.

These new features are off by default. To enable the clipboard history, turn “Save Multiple Items” to “On.”

To sync your clipboard data across all your Windows 10 devices—or rather, all your Windows 10 devices running Redstone 5 or newer—set “Sync Across Devices” to “On.”

You can also choose an Automatic Syncing preference. When you enable this feature, the default option is to “Automatically sync text that I copy.” Windows 10 will automatically synchronize everything you copy to the clipboard.

To prevent Windows from syncing potentially sensitive data like passwords, select “Never automatically sync text that I copy” instead. You can then choose to manually sync text between your devices whenever you like.

How to Access the Clipboard History

To open the new Clipboard tool, press Windows+V in any application. A Clipboard panel will appear.

This panel shows a history of items you’ve copied to your clipboard, with the most recently item at the top. Select something on your clipboard by clicking it to paste it in the current application.

You can “pin” items to your clipboard by hovering over the pin icon on the right of the item and clicking it. Windows will keep that item in the Clipboard panel and won’t discard it to make room for new items. It will always be available, so this option is ideal for items you frequently paste.

You can also click the “x” button on an item to remove it from your clipboard immediately.

Currently, this clipboard history supports text, HTML, and images less than 1 MB in size. Larger items you copy won’t be stored in the history.

Update: Microsoft has raised this limit to 4 MB, so anything 4 MB or less will be saved to your clipboard history.

If you haven’t enabled clipboard history or haven’t copied anything to your clipboard since enabling it, you’ll see a message telling you that you either need to enable the feature or copy something before continuing.

How Does Sync Work?

If you’ve enabled clipboard sync, the contents of your clipboard will be synchronized between your PCs running the October 2018 Update. This works using the same Microsoft Graph technology that powers the Timeline, introduced in Windows 10’s April 2018 Update. You need to sign into both devices with the same Microsoft account for this to work.

By default, the “Automatically sync text that I copy” option will cause Windows 10 to instantly sync anything whenever you copy it to your clipboard by pressing Ctrl+C or clicking the “Copy” option in any application. You don’t need to do anything special—what you copy on one PC will just appear in the Clipboard history on your other PC.

If you select “Never automatically sync text that I copy” instead, you’ll have to manually choose what you want to copy. To do so, open your Clipboard history with Windows+V, hover over an item in your clipboard history, and click the cloud-shaped “Sync to Other Devices” icon.

Initially, Windows 10 will only sync data less than 100 KB in size using this feature. Long portions of text and large images may not sync until Microsoft increases this limit.

Microsoft has promised that this feature will be able to sync your clipboard data to Microsoft’s SwiftKey keyboard for iPhone, iPad, and Android, allowing you to copy something on your PC and easily paste it into any app on your phone. However, this feature hasn’t been added to the SwiftKey keyboard app yet.

How to Clear Your Clipboard History

If you’d like to clear your entire history—both on your PC and on Microsoft’s servers—head back to Settings > System > Clipboard. Click the “Clear” button under Clear Clipboard Data.

This won’t clear your pinned items, so you’ll have to unpin those or delete them manually.

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Chris Hoffman is Editor-in-Chief of How-To Geek. He's written about technology for over a decade and was a PCWorld columnist for two years. Chris has written for The New York Times and Reader's Digest, been interviewed as a technology expert on TV stations like Miami's NBC 6, and had his work covered by news outlets like the BBC. Since 2011, Chris has written over 2,000 articles that have been read more than one billion times---and that's just here at How-To Geek.
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