Click here to Skip to main content
Click here to Skip to main content

Tagged as

All you ever wanted to know about the Clipboard...

, 22 Nov 1999
Rate this:
Please Sign up or sign in to vote.
<!-- STEP 2. Include download and sample image information -->
  • Download clipboard demo project - 12 Kb
  • Download notification demo project - 12 Kb
  • Adding clipboard support to a VC++ / MFC application is extremely simple. This article covers the basic steps involved in getting your applictions talking to the clipboard. In it are examples of the following:

    Reading and writing text

    The following source code demonstrates how to place text (contained in the CString "source") onto the clipboard.

    CString source; 
    //put your text in source
    	HGLOBAL clipbuffer;
    	char * buffer;
    	clipbuffer = GlobalAlloc(GMEM_DDESHARE, source.GetLength()+1);
    	buffer = (char*)GlobalLock(clipbuffer);
    	strcpy(buffer, LPCSTR(source));

    The source code below demonstrates the converse, how to retrieve text from the clipboard.

    char * buffer = NULL;
    //open the clipboard
    CString fromClipboard;
    if ( OpenClipboard() ) 
    	HANDLE hData = GetClipboardData( CF_TEXT );
    	char * buffer = (char*)GlobalLock( hData );
    	fromClipboard = buffer;
    	GlobalUnlock( hData );

    Reading and writing WMF (enhanced) data

    Writing and reading images to and from the clipboard can be very useful, and it is really very easy! The following example writes an enhanced metafile to the clipboard.

    if ( OpenClipboard() )
    	//create the metafile DC
    	CMetaFileDC * cDC = new CMetaFileDC();
    	//call draw routine here that makes GDI calls int cDC
    	//close meta CMetafileDC and get its handle
    	HENHMETAFILE handle = cDC->CloseEnhanced();
    	//place it on the clipboard
    	//delete the dc
    	delete cDC;

    Here is the converse. We get the metafile from the clipboard and draw it into our own client DC (just as a test, really you would want to make a copy).

    if ( OpenClipboard() )
    	//Get the clipboard data
    	//play it into a DC (our own DC in this example)
    	CClientDC dc(this);
    	CRect client(0,0,200,200);
    	//close the clipboard

    Reading and writing a bitmap

    Reading and writing a bitmap is only marginally trickier. The basic idea remains the same. Here is an example of saving a bitmap to the clipboard.

    if ( OpenClipboard() )
    	//create some data
    	CBitmap * junk = new CBitmap();
    	CClientDC cdc(this);
    	CDC dc;
    	CRect client(0,0,200,200);
    	//call draw routine here that makes GDI calls
    	//put the data on the clipboard
    	//copy has been made on clipboard so we can delete
    	delete junk;

    As with the other examples, here is an example of getting a bitmap from the clipboard. In this simple example we will just Blt it to the cleint DC.

    if ( OpenClipboard() )
    	//Get the clipboard data
    	HBITMAP handle = (HBITMAP)GetClipboardData(CF_BITMAP);
    	CBitmap * bm = CBitmap::FromHandle(handle);
    	CClientDC cdc(this);
    	CDC dc;

    Setting up and using your own custom format

    By using the RegisterClipboardFormat() API you can copy and paste any type of data you want. This can be very useful in moving data between your own applications. Let's say we have a structure:

    struct MyFormatData
    	long val1;
    	int val2;

    that we want to move on the clipboard. We can copy as follows:

    UINT format = RegisterClipboardFormat("MY_CUSTOM_FORMAT");
    	//make some dummy data
    	MyFormatData data;
    	data.val1 = 100;
    	data.val2 = 200;
    	//allocate some global memory
    	HGLOBAL clipbuffer;
    	clipbuffer = GlobalAlloc(GMEM_DDESHARE, sizeof(MyFormatData));
    	MyFormatData * buffer = (MyFormatData*)GlobalLock(clipbuffer);
    	//put the data into that memory
    	*buffer = data;
    	//Put it on the clipboard

    To read it back off we do the inverse:

    //second call with just get format already registered
    UINT format = RegisterClipboardFormat("MY_CUSTOM_FORMAT");
    MyFormatData data;
    if ( OpenClipboard() ) 
    	//get the buffer
    	HANDLE hData = GetClipboardData(format);
    	MyFormatData * buffer = (MyFormatData *)GlobalLock( hData );
    	//make a local copy
    	data = *buffer;
    	GlobalUnlock( hData );

    Getting notified of clipboard changes

    It is very useful to be notified (via a windows message) whenever the clipboard has changed. To do this you use SetClipboardViewer() and then catch WM_DRAWCLIPBOARD

    In your initialization code call:
    	SetClipboardViewer();  //add us to clipboard change notification chain
    In your message map add:
    	ON_MESSAGE(WM_DRAWCLIPBOARD, OnClipChange)  //clipboard change notification
    Which is declared as:
    	afx_msg void OnClipChange();  //clipboard change notification
    Finally implement:
    void CDetectClipboardChangeDlg::OnClipChange() 
    	//do something here, for example
    	CTime time = CTime::GetCurrentTime();
    	SetDlgItemText(IDC_CHANGED_DATE,time.Format("%a, %b %d, %Y -- %H:%M:%S"));

    Pasting data to another app's window

    One thing that I have found useful is to copy text to the clipboard (see above) and then to "paste" it to ANOTHER application!. I wrote a nice localization app that used a third party language translation package using this technique.

    Simply get the handle to the target window and send a "PASTE" to it.

    	SendMessage(m_hTextWnd, WM_PASTE, 0, 0);


    This article has no explicit license attached to it but may contain usage terms in the article text or the download files themselves. If in doubt please contact the author via the discussion board below.

    A list of licenses authors might use can be found here


    About the Author

    Randy More

    United States United States
    No Biography provided

    Comments and Discussions

    QuestionPasting data of clipboard to Other Window by WINDOW TITLE and doing String manupulation like <=,== Text PinmemberAdminSam18-Jan-12 21:30 
    GeneralMy vote of 4 PinmemberAdminSam18-Jan-12 21:21 
    GeneralMy vote of 2 Pinmembergordon885-Dec-11 18:36 
    GeneralNEVER do this!!! PinmemberJohn Crenshaw12-Jun-09 14:05 
    Questioncompile error _UNICODE Pinmemberwinchnet200516-Nov-08 15:33 
    AnswerRe: compile error _UNICODE PinmemberVEMS28-Jan-09 5:26 
    AnswerRe: compile error _UNICODE PinmemberAdminSam18-Jan-12 21:24 
    QuestionHow can manage all of copy and paste in system in C++ -&gt;please help me Pinmembercrackgns13-Aug-08 3:08 
    AnswerRe: How can manage all of copy and paste in system in C++ -&gt;please help me Pinmemberr1co17-Jan-09 20:21 
    QuestionHow to paste to a WORD app's window? Pinmembertest_15509-Sep-07 3:34 
    QuestionHow to get the XML data present in the Clipboard??? Pinmembergloriousgopi15-Feb-07 4:17 
    Questionhow to capture a big window? PinmemberRockone8-Jan-07 3:42 
    GeneralClipboard Query. PinmemberHakuna-Matada3-Aug-06 2:40 
    GeneralRe: Clipboard Query. PinmemberAshutosh Bhawasinka12-Dec-06 9:40 
    GeneralRe: Clipboard Query. PinmemberNaadia27-Sep-07 21:14 
    Generalcrash with release edition Pinmemberchinabcb16330-Jul-06 1:40 
    GeneralRe: crash with release edition Pinmemberxox_c0bra_xox7-Sep-09 14:31 
    GeneralMemory Leak [modified] PinmemberLittle.Ben26-Jul-06 2:31 
    QuestionRe: Memory Leak PinmemberPistolPeet9-May-07 8:01 
    AnswerRe: Memory Leak (it's not a leak) Pinmemberdagronf27-Jun-07 18:11 
    GeneralRe: Memory Leak (it's not a leak) PinmemberPistolPeet28-Jun-07 0:19 
    QuestionHow OnPaintClipboard() do ? Pinmembertrauconnguyen16-Apr-05 16:43 
    GeneralGetting a bitmap Pinmembertunerica22-Jul-04 19:45 
    GeneralPlease REJECT this article PinsussAnonymous22-May-03 10:48 
    GeneralRe: Please REJECT this article Pinmembermathboy26-Jan-04 11:26 

    General General    News News    Suggestion Suggestion    Question Question    Bug Bug    Answer Answer    Joke Joke    Rant Rant    Admin Admin   

    Use Ctrl+Left/Right to switch messages, Ctrl+Up/Down to switch threads, Ctrl+Shift+Left/Right to switch pages.

    | Advertise | Privacy | Terms of Use | Mobile
    Web03 | 2.8.150123.1 | Last Updated 23 Nov 1999
    Article Copyright 1999 by Randy More
    Everything else Copyright © CodeProject, 1999-2015
    Layout: fixed | fluid