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 Windows Tips & Tricks

Clipboard vs. Clipbook
September, 2001

Bill Beverley is a retired U.S. Army Colonel and intermediate computer enthusiast. Early in his military career he was on the ground floor in the development of the U.S. Army's Field Artillery Tactical Fire Direction System (TACFIRE), a forerunner of subsequent digital computers / communications within the army.

Clipboard Viewer
Few computer users realize that Windows has a Clipboard Viewer for reviewing images and text that have been cut from or pasted into any application. The reason is that no version of Windows installs it by default. To set up Clipboard Viewer, select Start, Settings, Control Panel, and then choose Add/Remove Programs. Under the Windows Setup tab, select System Tools, and click Details. Now scroll to and select Clipboard Viewer and click OK until Windows installs this component. You may have to put the Windows CD-ROM in its drive. To view the contents of the Clipboard, select Start, Programs, Accessories, System Tools and then click Clipboard Viewer.

Data Transfer
There are several different methods to transfer data to the Clipboard. The easiest technique is to highlight the desired text with your mouse pointer and then press Ctrl+C to copy, or Ctrl+X to cut the information. Now switch to the destination location and press Ctrl+V to paste your information. You can also accomplish these same tasks by right-clicking the highlighted text. A shortcut menu will then appear with options. A third alternative is to highlight your text, click the Copy, Cut, or Paste options from the Edit menu. Each Copy command replaces the previous clipping, so, if you want to save a clipping, open the Clipboard Viewer, click File, and then Save As. Clipboard Viewer will save your items as files with .clp extensions.

Windows 95 stores the Clipboard’s contents in memory and can use up unnecessary system resources particularly when graphic items are put on it. Assuming you do no plan to use the cut or copied item contents again, free up this memory by clearing or deleting the items on the Clipboard. Whenever you cut or copy an item, it replaces the Clipboard’s previous contents. To wipe clean the Clipboard, select Start, Programs, Accessories, Clipboard Viewer. Now select Edit, Delete, or press the Delete key on your keyboard, and click Yes.

Screen to Clipboard
To remember what you saw on-screen, copy the screen to the Clipboard and from there, paste it to a document by pressing PrintScreen (or PrtSc). Next open the program you want to use to display the screen capture, open a document and then choose Edit, Paste. Now you will see a bitmap of the entire Windows screen. Press Alt or Shift, depending upon the operating system (OS), plus PrtSc and you capture a bitmap of the active window. As an alternative to this method, when the image you want as a screen shot appears on-screen, press the Print Screen button to copy it to the Clipboard. To view this copied image, select Programs from the Start menu and then click Accessories, Paint. In the Paint Program window, click Paste from the Edit menu. Once the screen shot displays in the window, you can use Paint’s various tools to edit and enhance the image. When you have finished altering the image, use the File menu options to print or save it as a bitmap (.bmp) file.

The Clipboard has its limitations especially for scanned pictures that are pasted to it. They require the use of a large amount of memory space. Because Clipboard really wasn’t designed for pictures, you should save your photographs as a picture file using the scanner’s software. Then insert the picture file into the document with the program’s Insert+Picture command. The Clipboard has another limitation. It can’t print. If you press the Print Screen key it sends the current screen to the Clipboard but not to the printer. To print the Clipboard’s contents, you will have to start some other program, such as WordPad or Paint, paste the contents into one of them, and print from there.

Picture clips
You can usually right-click a graphic and then click Copy. When you want to insert the graphic, right-click the destination application and click Paste. The Print Screen key on your keyboard diverts data to the Clipboard. Press it once to copy the current window to the Clipboard. You can also press Alt-Print Screen for the active window. Now you can paste the image into a graphics program, such as Windows Paint. Because graphics occupy enormous memory resources, you should clear the Clipboard after transferring any picture. 

Viewer formats
To influence how the Clipboard’s copied data turns out, you can see your option in the Display Menu of the Clipboard Viewer utility located in Accessories, System Tools. Any grayed-out choices are not available to you. If you do not select a new option, go back to the Auto option to turn the decision back over to the Viewer.

Word’s new Clipboard
Traditionally the Clipboard has only been able to hold one item at a time, but with Word 2000 you can place up to 12 different selections. To take advantage of this feature, open the Clipboard toolbar by choosing View, Toolbars, Clipboard. Now try copying several items to it. Notice that a separate icon appears for each one on the Clipboard. If you can not recall a specific item put on the Clipboard, hold the mouse pointer over its icon on the toolbar.

MS Office XP
Microsoft’s Office XP has a very advanced Clipboard that holds up to 24 items and stores them in a Task Pane along the right margin, displaying each one for quick reference. When you paste a Clipboard item into a document, a Paste Options Smart Tag appears below the item that lets you format it to match the source or your destination document. You can also add custom formatting.

As reported last month in this magazine by Bob Click, there is a “ClipTrakker” utility that automatically tracks every piece of data on the clipboard. It generates graphical thumbnails for each clipboard snapshot for possible later use. This application has a complete editor built in it that you can use to draft notes or edit contents of the clipboard.  more information about this program

Many computer users do not realize that Windows 95 has a “ClipBook” for storing frequently pasted items such as text blocks or graphics for easy insertion into multiple documents. To find this ClipBook utility you will need to revisit your Windows 95 installation CD. You will find the actual Clipboard program on the CD-ROM under Other\Clipbook. If you don’t have the CD, Microsoft has made most of these extra components, such as ClipBook available for download and look over the list of available components. Then select one of the blue file links at the bottom of the page under How To Download CD-ROM Extras From Online Services to start the download process. 

Installing ClipBook
Place the Windows 95 installation CD in your CD-ROM drive, click Browse This CD, and navigate your way to Other\ClipBook. Now double-click Clipbrd.exe and the ClipBook Viewer springs to life. You should install ClipBook on your hard drive so you will not have to continuously use the installation CD. So, with the installation CD in your CD-ROM drive, open the Control Panel and select Add/Remove Programs. Now choose the Windows Setup tab, click Have Disk, and then select Browse and navigate your way to X:\Other\Clipbook (where “X” is your CD-ROM drive). At this point you will see ClipBook.inf on the File Name line. Next, click OK twice, select ClipBook Viewer under Components, and choose Install. Once the installation is complete, you can launch the ClipBook Viewer by selecting Start, Programs, Accessories, and ClipBook Viewer. 

Clipbook Viewer
The Clipbook Viewer Utility enables you to view the Clipboard contents. To use it in any Windows application, select something you want to cut or copy and choose Edit+Cut or Edit+Copy. Now click Start, Programs, Accessories, and Clipbook Viewer. (If Clipbook Viewer is not an option on your Accessories menu, you need to install it from your Windows CD. You can find it in the Accessories options in the Add/Remove Program Properties dialog box on the CD’s start-up screen.) In the Clipbook Viewer window, open the Clipboard window to find the material you just copied or cut from some document. Choose File+Save As, and in the File Name box type a name for your cut/copied material and click OK. Your cut or copied information is available for future use no matter what you subsequently cut or copy from other documents. To paste material from the Clipbook, choose Start, Programs, Accessories, Clipbook Viewer. From the Clipbook menu, select File+Open and highlight the file you want to open and click OK. If you have anything else on the Clipboard, which was the last copied or cut item, Windows 95 will ask if you tlinewant to erase it, so click Yes. The Clipbook replaces whatever is currently on the Clipboard with your Clipbook file so that you can paste it into any application. Now return to wherever you want to paste the information and choose Edit+Paste or press Ctrl+V.

Accessing/Using ClipBook
ClipBook Viewer consists of two windows. One, the Clipboard, which displays the last item cut or copied, and secondly, the Local ClipBook, the storage area for frequently pasted items. To add an item to the Local ClipBook, select the item in its native application, press Ctrl-X (to cut) or Ctrl-C (to copy), and then revert back to the ClipBook Viewer. If it is not already open, select the Local ClipBook window, click the Paste icon, type a name for the new item, and finally click OK. At this time a new page will appear in your Local ClipBook. To paste a ClipBook page into a new location, select it in the Local ClipBook window and click the Copy icon. Then switch back to the document you would like to paste the item and choose that application’s Paste command.

Viewing ClipBook pages
After using ClipBook there will come a time when you have many pages inside your local ClipBook windows. To see a preview of each ClipBook page, double-click any page and its contents appear on screen in Full Page view. By pressing the up or down double arrow in the lower-left corner of the Local ClipBook window, you can scroll through ClipBook pages one at a time. If you want to view multiple ClipBook pages at a time, select View and Thumbnails for mini-previews of your pages. To switch back to the ClipBook's default view, select View, and Table of Contents.

Clipboard is a very powerful editing tool and one that Microsoft will undoubtedly continue to improve with each new OS. If you experience problems using Clipboard, it is probably because many software programs do not include Clipboard functionality. ClipBook is a ramped-up version of Clipboard that comes with Win95/NT although usually not pre-installed in them.

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