Computer Science and Engineering, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in 2009 IEEE Symposium on Visual Languages and Human-Centric Computing (VL/HCC). Copyright 2009 IEEE. Used by permission.


Transferring data across applications is a common end user task, and copying and pasting via the clipboard lets users do so relatively easily. Using the clipboard, however, can also introduce inefficiencies and errors in user tasks. To help researchers and tool developers understand and address these problems, we studied how end users interact with the clipboard through cut, copy, and paste actions. This study was performed by logging clipboard interactions while end users performed everyday tasks. From the clipboard usage data, we have identified several usage patterns that describe how data is transferred within the desktop environment. Such patterns help us understand end user behavior and indicate areas in which clipboard support tools can be improved.