Clearing the Clipboard in a Macro

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 5, 2022)


Jerry knows that, in Excel, there are several clipboards available. He wonders, though, if there is a way to clear each of the clipboards in a macro.

There are actually four different clipboards that you can tap into in Excel. The simplest one is the actual Excel clipboard, which is active anytime you see the marching ants around a selected range of cells. This clipboard can be cleared by using this single code line:

Application.CutCopyMode = False

The second clipboard is the Windows clipboard, which can be cleared using the following code, which works in 32-bit Excel environments:

Public Declare Function OpenClipboard Lib "user32" (ByVal hwnd As Long) As Long
Public Declare Function EmptyClipboard Lib "user32" () As Long
Public Declare Function CloseClipboard Lib "user32" () As Long

Sub ClearClip()
    OpenClipboard (0&)
End Sub

If you are using a 64-bit version of Excel (which means all Excel 2019 and Microsoft 365 versions), then you'll need to use code that is a bit different:

Declare PtrSafe Function OpenClipboard Lib "User32" (ByVal hwnd As LongPtr) As LongPtr
Declare PtrSafe Function EmptyClipboard Lib "User32" () As Long
Declare PtrSafe Function CloseClipboard Lib "User32" () As Long

Sub ClearClip()
    OpenClipboard (0&)
End Sub

The difference between the 32-bit and 64-bit versions is the declaration lines, all of which are outside of the actual ClearClip subroutine.

The third and fourth clipboards are the Windows Clipboard History and the Office Clipboard, which are obviously Windows-level clipboards. Accessing them is more nitty-gritty and advanced than anything discussed so far. Of course, you may not care about clearing these Windows clipboards in Excel. Rather than explain it all here, you may appreciate this discussion at Stack Overflow:


If you would like to know how to use the macros described on this page (or on any other page on the ExcelTips sites), I've prepared a special page that includes helpful information. Click here to open that special page in a new browser tab.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (12854) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Excel in Microsoft 365, and 2021.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...


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What is four less than 6?

2022-03-05 11:19:05

J. Woolley

There is often confusion about Declare statements. VBA7 was introduced with Office 2010, the first to offer 32-bit and 64-bit versions. The Declare statements depend on your version of VBA, not your version of Excel (32-bit or 64-bit). If you have 32-bit or 64-bit Excel 2010 or later, use Declare PtrSafe.... In my humble opinion, anyone with an older version should upgrade.
The Tip's ClearClip macro applies to the legacy (single-item) Windows clipboard. There are two expanded (multi-item) clipboard features, each with its own user interface.
Office Clipboard is described here:
Windows Clipboard History (Win+V, Settings > System > Clipboard) is described here:
My Excel Toolbox includes the following three VBA7 macros:
ClearClipboard, which is like the Tip's ClearClip macro.
ClearOfficeClipboard, see
ClearClipboardHistory, see this abbreviated version:

Sub ClearClipboardHistory()
Const W = "wmic service where ""name like 'cbdhsvc[_]%'"" call "
Const C = "/c " & W & "stopservice" & " & " & W & "startservice"
CreateObject("Shell.Application").ShellExecute "cmd.exe", C, , "runas", 0
End Sub


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