Best Free Clipboard Replacement Utility

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Introduction

The default Windows clipboard has two very obvious limitations: it can store only one item at a time and it is cleared every time the computer restarts. Clipboard replacement utilities will not only solve those problems, they will give you much more power over your clipboard.

These utilities provide a clipboard history and they come with additional features such as built-in text editor, additional information about the clip (date and time, origin), launch actions (such as Google search) and more.

Because they replace such a basic system function, clipboard managers have to be simple to use, but that depends on how you use your computer. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to clipboard managers, so I suggest you try some of those freeware products for yourself and find the one that suits you the best.

Here I came up with a list of specifications to evaluate clipboard managers:

  • Simple: Easy to setup and use. It should work as intended right out of the box, without any tweaks.
  • Reliable: It can handle everything the default Windows clipboard can handle. It should be light on resources and fully compatible with the latest versions of Windows.
  • Accessible: Easy to use with cursor-only, keyboard-only or a mix of both. It also needs a nice and clear interface.
  • Powerful and customizable: Provide extra features for advanced users who need more options than simply copy, cut and paste.

 

Rated Products

Ditto  

The best clipboard that's simple yet powerful, extremely fast and light on resources


Our Rating: 
4.5
License: Free (Open source)
Many features, unlimited clips, fast search, multi-user network sync, excellent cursor-only navigation.
Stickies management.
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CLCL  

A simple and consistent clipboard manager that is very easy to use with either keyboard or mouse


Our Rating: 
4
License: Free (Open source)
Simple, reliable, accessible, plugins available. Excellent cursor-only navigation.
Plug-ins require a separate download and setup.
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ClipX  

A clean and simple clipboard manager, with plugins to bring some interesting features


Our Rating: 
3.5
License: Free
Lightweight, easy to use, plugins available.
Development discontinued, poor cursor-only navigation.
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Clipboard Help+Spell  

A promising clipboard manager with notes, spellcheck and full of features


Our Rating: 
3.5
License: Free
Lots of features, actively developed.
Text-only, poor cursor-only navigation.
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ArsClip  

A portable and open-source clipboard manager to keep track of clip entries


Our Rating: 
2.5
License: Free (Open source)
Clip edition, permanent clips enabled by default, excellent portable version, categories, remembers what application a specific clip comes from, many options.
Poor user interface, non-text clips not enabled by default, doesn't handle file copying.
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Other Clipboard Managers

There are way too many clipboard managers out there to describe them all.

List of other clipboard managers I tested but not rated in this review: 101 clips (aka M8 free clipboard aka 25 clips), Clipboard magic, Clipboard manager (agatasoft), Clipboard Recorder (lw-works), Clipboardic, Clipcube, Clipcycler, Clipguru, Clipmagic, Clipomatic, Cliptorrent, Cliptray, Copycat, Flashpaste lite, Hovtext, Insideclipboard, Memoclip, Multiclipboard, Pastecopy.net, PhraseExpress, Sanvient, Shapeshifter, Tenclips, Yankee Clipper III, xNeat Clipboard manager.

If you feel like your favorite clipboard manager didn't get the attention it deserved, feel free to drop a comment to explain why you feel so and I'll make sure to test it!

 

Specific Features of Clipboard Managers

Some users may be looking for specific features that are not considered a must-have in this review. These features are listed below for ease of reference. No freeware includes all these features altogether, but I hope that having this list will make it easier for you to understand what you really want in a clipboard manager.

  • Searchbox, permanent clips ("stickies"), groups and notes.
  • Text editor: change case (lower case, upper case), find & replace, check spelling, paste as plain text, add notes, remove formatting/code.
  • Remember context of clips: time, date, application from where it was copied, webpage from where it was copied. Additionally, copy timestamp.
  • Export clips: create .txt file, print clips, send by mail, share through network.
  • Custom action: Google a clip, launch URL, launch application, open file.
  • Security: disable clipboard monitoring in specific applications, during a specific period of time, allow programs to delete the last entry, allow user to delete specific clips, password protect the database.
  • Append and merge clips, either before or after capture.
  • Graphic editor and screenshot capabilities.
  • Extract the content of a textfile or a graphic file to the clipboard.
  • Change type of pasting (ctrl+v, shift+insert...) and actions, to accommodate special needs.

 

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Editor

This software review is copy-edited by Ian Richards. Please help edit and improve this article by clicking here.

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Comments

MyClip is a lightweight, yet handy application designed to help you manage your clipboard entries. It allows you to edit clipboard entries, insert items in the clipboard and modify the clipboard text. Additionally, you can join or revert clipboard items, search the clipboard and set hotkeys for all the commands to ease your work: http://myclipapp.weebly.com/index.html http://www.softpedia.com/get/Office-tools/Clipboard/MyClip.shtml

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