How to Clear the Clipboard in Excel, Word, or PowerPoint

The clipboard is a useful feature in Microsoft Office applications like Excel, Word, and PowerPoint. It allows you to easily copy and paste content within documents or between applications. However, over time the clipboard can get cluttered with unwanted data that takes up space. Clearing the clipboard helps keep your Office programs running efficiently.

In this article, we will cover several methods to clear the clipboard in Excel, Word, and PowerPoint.

Why You Should Clear the Clipboard

Here are some key reasons to regularly clear out your Office clipboard:

  • Frees up storage space and prevents errors when the clipboard gets full
  • Removes sensitive data that could be accessed by others
  • Allows you to start fresh when copying new items
  • Helps Office applications run faster by clearing temporary cached data

How to Clear the Clipboard in Excel

Clearing the entire Excel clipboard only takes a few clicks:

  1. Open the Excel file you want to clear the clipboard in
  2. On the Home tab, click the small arrow at the bottom-right of the Clipboard section
  3. Select Clear All from the dropdown menu

The clipboard is now empty and ready for new copy/paste operations.

To delete clipboard items individually in Excel:

  1. Click the arrow next to the item and select Delete
  2. You can also right-click an item and choose Delete

Clearing the Word Clipboard

The process works the same to clear Word’s clipboard:

  1. In the Word document, go to the Home tab
  2. Click the Clipboard dialog box launcher (small arrow)
  3. The Clipboard pane will appear – click Clear All

To remove a single clipboard item in Word:

  1. Hover over the item and click the arrow
  2. Choose Delete

Empty PowerPoint’s Clipboard

Follow these simple steps to empty the clipboard in PowerPoint:

  1. In the open PowerPoint file, go to the Home tab
  2. Click the dropdown arrow next to Clipboard
  3. Select Clear All

To delete one PowerPoint clipboard item:

  1. Click the arrow next to the item
  2. Choose Delete from the menu

The entire PowerPoint clipboard is now empty.

Keyboard Shortcuts to Clear Office Clipboard

For a quicker way to open the Office Clipboard pane, you can use these handy keyboard shortcuts:

  • Excel: Ctrl + C twice OR Ctrl + Alt + V
  • Word: Ctrl + C twice OR Ctrl + Alt + V
  • PowerPoint: Ctrl + C twice OR Ctrl + Alt + V

Then use the Clear All button to empty the clipboard.

Clear Clipboard Using Windows Command

An alternative option is to clear the Office clipboard using a Command Prompt command in Windows:

  1. Open Command Prompt
  2. Type cmd /c "echo off | clip"
  3. Press Enter to run the command
  4. Close Command Prompt

This will erase the clipboard system-wide in Windows.

Clipboard Gets Cleared on Restart

An easy way to wipe the Office clipboard clean is to simply restart your computer. All temporary clipboard data is deleted when you log off or reboot.

So a restart will ensure you start with an empty clipboard next time you use Excel, Word, or PowerPoint.


Knowing how to quickly clear your Office clipboard is an important skill for efficient copy and paste operations. Follow the step-by-step instructions outlined above using the Clear All button, keyboard shortcuts, Command Prompt, or a system restart.

Clearing the clipboard removes unwanted data, protects sensitive information, saves storage space, and helps optimize performance. Be sure to clear your clipboard regularly in Excel, Word, and PowerPoint.