For most Programmers, copy and paste is a daily task.
But Windows' Clipboard makes our work of copying and
It won't support queuing, the saving of clipboard data, showing
the time a copy occurred, the application name from where you copied data, access
to remote machine's Clipboard, etc. I think it's better to design an application
that will make the copying and pasting of data a little bit easier. So, I designed this
application in VS.NET 2003 using C# and Windows Forms. I will explain features
provided by this application followed by its design and coding.
Features present in this application
- It allows us to queue all clipboard data.
- It allows us to save entire clipboard data into permanent storage
- Shows the time at which you copied data into clipboard.
- Shows an Icon of the application from where you copied data onto
- It allows us to access the Clipboard of any remote machine.
- Easy to use UI.
- Now, Clipboard data is just a click away from us.
Now, create a new Windows
Application using C# in VS.NET 2003 and name it ClipBoardWatcher. Add
controls to the Main Form (Form1) as shown below:
Here, I set the following properties
- Location -> 850, 0
- Opacity -> 50%
- Size -> 176, 738 and
- KeyPreview -> True.
And I placed a Tooltip and
NotifyIcon followed by two contextmenus. One contextmenu is assigned to Form1
(to the button displayed on the form for each clipboard item) and another to
The following are the menuitems
present in the cxtmnuclip context menu (assigned to Form1's clipboard item):
- Copy To ClipBoard (this is used to
copy selected clipboard items from an application onto the ClipBoard).
- Remove This ClipBoard Data
(Removes selected clipboard item from application).
- Remove All ClipBoard items (Remove
all clipboard items from application).
- Save Items to File (Saves contents
of application (ClipBoard items) onto a file for further reference).
Following are the menuitems
present in cxttaskbar context menu (assigned to NotifyIcon):
All menuitems present in this
context menu are related to the UI settings of the Application:
- Show/Hide to show or hide the
- Show In Taskbar allows us to set
whether the application should be shown in the taskbar or not.
- Show on Top allows us to set
whether the application should be shown on top of all windows or not.
- Control Form Thickness allows us
to increase or decrease thickness (Opacity) of main form.
- Show ControlBox allows us to set
whether application should show controlbox or not.
- Exit is used to end execution of
The main functionality of this
application is it will create a button on the main form whenever you copy new data
onto the clipboard. In addition, it will display an icon of application from which
you copied data onto clipboard, and the time of copy by monitoring the contents of
System's Clipboard for every second by using the System.Threading.Timer object.
Then I added a form named frmnewprcdetails.cs
to get the IP address of a remote machine for monitoring its clipboard. Then I added
a class named
RemoteClipboard in Form1.cs to call the remote method whenever
Clipboard data changes. In this class, I am using two methods to send and
receive Clipboard data. Whenever the contents of the Clipboard changes, it will
send the updated contents to a remote machine. In the remote machine, an application
will set the Clipboard to the contents, it is received. Like this, we can update
the remote machine's Clipboard with contents of our system easily. In order to
access the remote machine's clipboard, we must have administrative (or its
equivalent) permission on that machine.
Now I will explain the coding part of
I added three class files to the
application. I will outline the functionality of each class file.
Functionality present in ClipBoardItems.cs
In order to create buttons for
each clipboard item, I implemented a control array of VB. Here, I
just created a class named
which inherits from
System.Collections.CollectionBase. In the
constructor of this class, I am passing container (Form1) for this buttons.
Than I added five methods: implement add new button (clipboard item),
remove selected clipboard item, remove all clipboard items from application,
save all items into a file, and handle click of button.
AddNewClipItem(), I created a new button and
set its Text property to contents of clipboard data. I also set properties like width, height and Image to the icon of the application from where data
is copied onto the clipboard.
Functionality present in APIFuncs.cs
In this class, I use Windows
API methods to get an application's .exe path from where you copied data onto
the clipboard. Actually, I get the Handle of the window from where you copied data
and then that handle is passed to
GetWindowProcessID() to get Process
ID. Then, I pas this Process ID to
GetProcessById() to get the process from
where data is copied. Finally, I get the physical path of the executing
process (process is created by calling
GetProcessById()) by using the
MainModule of the process.
Functionality present in ActiveApplicationIcon.cs
In this class, I am use
GetApplnIcon() to get the icon of the process from where data is copied. The
logic behind this is, every one second
System.Threading's timer object checks the contents of the system clipboard. If its contents are changed then it will
get the icon of the currently focused window (the window from where data
is copied) and it is set to a newly created button with text as clipboard
contents, and Image as the icon of the application from where data is copied onto the
clipboard. We got the icon of the application by passing the physical path of the
process's MainModule to
GetApplnIcon() of the
We can use Windows API methods to
get data from the clipboard whenever it is changed instead of using a timer object.
If I use these Windows API methods, then most of the code in this application
will not be C# code (code will have API calls only) and it
will be too hard to understand that application. Performance-wise, there
won't be much difference in using the timer object or Windows API. Since we are using
System.Threading's timer, we won't consume many resources. If you want, you can
still go with Windows API.
Finally, I added some code to
enhance the UI of the application. The final output will be like this:
We can still enhance this
application by improving UI.
By using this application, you will
never lose your clipboard data. Moreover, it is just a click away from you. I
am attaching the source code for further reference. I hope this code will be useful
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