Reveal The Hiding Clipboard


Q. One of the things I like about Word 2000 is the expanded Clipboard —except that the darn thing disappears just when I need it most. Help!

A. It is very frustrating, but help is on the way. For those who don’t know about the Clipboard , let me review its basics because it’s a very powerful tool when copying or moving text, graphics, numbers or formulas.

In the old versions of Word, Clipboard held in its memory just one chunk of information—whether it was a word, a whole paragraph or many pages—for either copying or moving. The Office 2000 Clipboard version holds as many as 12 different selections.



Each Word icon stores a different piece of information that you’ve highlighted for copying (Ctrl + C) or moving (Ctrl + X). If you highlight one, a little tip bar will appear that displays the first 50 characters of what Clipboard had captured in that icon.

If you copy or move graphic material, it shows up in the tip bar as the word Picture. If you want to paste what’s in one icon, move your cursor to the target location and then click on the appropriate icon. The Clipboard also works in Excel.

Okay, so why does Clipboard disappear sometimes? It’s because you ignored it.

That may sound ridiculous, but here’s how it works: If you close the Clipboard three times in a row without using it, it’s programmed to conclude that you no longer need it, so it vanishes.

To open it again, either copy an item consecutively two times or click on View, Toolbars and then Clipboard .

Tip: Since the Clipboard takes up a lot of space on your screen, you can move it out of the way or even drag it to the edge of a program title bar and dock it there; once there, it will shrink to this abbreviated size:

Clipboard shrunk down and docked to a title bar.

If you like the Clipboard concept, you may be interested in more advanced tools that do even more than the one built into Windows. One of them, SmartBoard 2000 ( ) can, among other things, capture multiple items and access them even after you restart Windows. You can assign nicknames to items for easy recognition and password protect them, including user identifications, passwords and credit card numbers. You can download a free version of SmartBoard that comes with advertising banners, or, for a small shareware fee, download an ad-free version.

A similar product—Yankee Clipper III ( )—is available free and carries no banner advertising.

Do you have a technology question for this column? Send it to Senior Editor Stanley Zarowin via e-mail at or regular mail at the Journal of Accountancy, Harborside Financial Center, 201 Plaza Three, Jersey City, NJ 07311-3881. We regret that we cannot answer letters individually. If a reader’s question is deemed to have sufficiently broad interest, we will answer it in a forthcoming Technology Q&A column.

—The editors


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