The Windows clipboard, the invisible place where our copied content goes and our pasted content comes from, can become a much powerful tool if combined with CopyQ. This open-source tool turns the traditional one-item-at-a-time limitation of the Windows clipboard into an almost unlimited repository where we can store, edit, and organize all our copy commands.
This powerful app is capable of storing anything we can send to the clipboard, from text to HTML pages and from screenshots to URLs. The program’s clipboard history will display all of the items you’ve been copying during the session unless you decide to disable it either temporarily or permanently. Alternatively, the program offers a smaller window where only the last item copied will be shown. However, it is in the clipboard history that this program shows everything it’s capable of. Here, you can see thumbnails of all the images you sent to the clipboard, order and rearrange all the items in whatever way fits your preferences, send one of them to the clipboard, create new ones, move items around, and search for a specific item you want to go back to. All text-based items (such as text snippets, HTML pages, or URLs) can be edited, highlighted, annotated, removed, tagged, etc., using the tool’s built-in editor or sent directly to your default text editor for further editing.
One feature that I found really interesting is the option to create (and use) commands either to process clipboard content to create new menu items or to add shortcuts. Being an open-source development, CopyQ’s commands library at GitHub grows slowly but surely thanks also to contributions from the users. There you will find code snippets that will allow you to add new commands to your copy of the program to edit a file, to replace all occurrences on a text, to render math equations, to translate into English using Google Translate, or to create interactive links from plain text.
CopyQ allows you to customize the interface and the way all the different types of items are displayed in the program’s editor to help you organize your history in whatever way you feel more comfortable with. You can use a tabbed interface (to which you can add as many tabs as you wish) or a tree-like view to display all the items and whatever notes, commands, and features you wish to have access to. In order not to interfere with your normal work, you can hide CopyQ on your system tray or minimize it for later use.
CopyQ is a powerful open-source clipboard manager that is sometimes too powerful for the layman user. The interface, as it is now, fails to be as user-friendly as most users would like it to be, requiring you to make too much research to find out how some features work. The potential is there, and the tool seems to be evolving in the right direction thanks to the users’ contributions. This is a tool to keep an eye on.