Keep Your Data Handy with Clipboard Managers
Working with the regular Windows clipboard, the temporary storage of copied information, you can only rely on basic cut and paste actions. It's more than enough in most occasions, but the fact that the clipboard can hold only one item means that copying something new will always replace the previously copied item, which itself gets lost irrevocably. If you've ever noted that, I'm sure this still gets on your nerves, especially if having a clipboard history could actually make your workflow more efficient (e.g. if you often copy the same data into different forms). Well, if it does, here's a quick list of the high-rated clipboard managers that will help you circumvent this limitation and make your life easier.
Ditto is an open-source portable clipboard manager that allows you to carry your history of copied items around. First and foremost, this clipboard enhancer lets you organize your copied items by grouping them by task or project. Another bonus is that, thanks to Ditto's unicode support, you don't have to bother about copying and pasting foreign and non-standard characters, there won't be any problems with it.
Ditto can store up runs to 1000 items, which can be set to expire after a certain number of days, which is also pretty convenient. By all means, it's worth a try.
Another portable and lightweight freeware utility, this one only keeps up to fifteen active entries in its history. ArsClip relies on custom hotkeys to let you paste any copied item into another program. If you regularly apply one and the same item, for instance your signature, you can create a permanent item to save your precious time. Besides the default list of copied entries, ArsClip also provides you with a detailed log of all your actions taken since the program was launched.
What is more, this clipboard manager can be configured to track and store non-textual items, set to emit a sound each time you copy something, and flush oldest items from the clipboard to clear up space for new ones. What else? Oh, yes, it's got a built-in editor, in case you need to modify some text before pasting it into another program.
This one is shareware, but it does have some additional tricks for working with your clipboard. Like the first two, this clipboard manager aim to save you some time; at the same time, however, it offers some extra functions like editing and re-formatting your clipboard data. For instance, before pasting or printing the copied items, you can apply ClipMate's spell checker to be sure about the quality of your texts. And in case you need to keep the copied information secure, the program offers you clipboard encryption.
ClipMate includes three views, each designed for a different kind of clipboard management: Classic view, Explorer view, and finally ClipBar. The first one gives you a toolbar with a drop-down list of clipboard entries; the Explorer view gives you a master management panel to group and edit copied items; and the ClipBar allows you to quickly access recently used clips and frequently used ones. Not too bad, right? Moreover, you can set it to work on two computers at once, synchronizing clipboard contents between them, which makes ClipMate even more useful.
All in all, even if none of these clipboard managers meets your specific needs, there's no shortage of similar tools on the Web, and you're bound to find one just for you. I hope to have inspired you to try out one of the apps of this kind and spare yourself the frustration of using the limited default clipboard. If you come across something more feature-packed and handy that you could recommend, don't hesitate to do that.
When I get to copy my username, e-mail, and password at once, it takes some mental effort to remember in which order I'm supposed to paste those, or which buttons to press to paste the right kind of info in the right box. I get the idea of keeping permanent items in your clipboard (like your signature or command-line commands), but you can usually have them done automatically, which is probably an even easier approach.