How Do I View Pictures on My Clipboard?

By Christina Hadley

Most computer programs function best with a system clipboard. The clipboard's job is saving pictures and text for reuse in a program. The method for viewing clipboard contents varies depending on the program or computer operating system you have. Therefore, your choices for viewing clipboards vary somewhat.

Operating System Clipboards

You can easily view the last picture you copied to the clipboard on Mac Operating Systems 10.2 and above. Go to the Finder. From the menu, click "Edit" and "Show Clipboard." Mac OS 10.6 network users can also share clipboard picture views through the Finder. Click on "Edit" and "Send Clipboard." Then users on another computer can navigate to the Finder and chose "Edit" and "Get Clipboard" to view a shared clipboard picture.The Windows Operating System does not contain a viewer for its clipboard contents. Most software programs have their own clipboards. On a Mac or Windows Operating System, open any program that is capable of handling pictures and graphics and click "Edit" and "Paste." If the last item copied is a picture, view it using this method. Remember, turning off your computer clears the contents of your system's clipboard and makes recovering your last copied picture (or text) impossible.

Clipboard in Microsoft Office 2007

The potential to view up to 24 text and picture files is a handy feature of many Microsoft products. To view your clipboard in PowerPoint, Access, Excel and Word, go to the “Home” tab and click the “Clipboard Dialog Box Launcher” of the “Clipboard” group. In Outlook, the path is the same, only the Clipboard group is in the Message tab. To view Clipboard contents in Publisher and SharePoint Designer, simply navigate to the Edit menu and click “Office Clipboard.”

Adobe CS Products

Unfortunately, a program-based method to view multiple clipboard pictures does not exist in Adobe Illustrator, InDesign and PhotoShop. Clicking “Edit” and “Paste” reveals the last copied picture on the clipboard in all three of these programs. If you are in a pinch and you need to step back in time and recover a clipboard picture while using PhotoShop, use the "History" palette to see what you can find.

Clipboard History Managers

If you find yourself wanting to view clipboard pictures often, consider adding a widget or a freeware clipboard history manager. Clipboard enhancing applications, also known as clipboard viewers, collect a running history of the items captured in your clipboard. There are many on the market today, some of them free. Select a clipboard history manager for your operating system and needs. See the resource below the article for instructions for adding a clipboard application to a Windows Operating System. Mac OS X users in search of a handy clipboard history manager might consider the iClip widget.