Friday, August 24, 2012

Copy and Paste Data as Files

When you copy text or files in Windows, the data goes into the Windows clipboard from where it is made available (for pasting) in as many different data formats as possible. When data is pasted into another application, the format that is closest to that application's native format is used, preserving as much of the original data as possible. So you can copy text from a PDF document and paste it into a Word document, and never think twice. Similarly you can copy images from the web browser and paste it into Microsoft Paint. You can even copy an image file from Windows Explorer and paste it as an image in Microsoft Word.

copy-paste

The flexibility is not present in the reverse direction, at least not natively. You cannot copy an image from a Word document or from a web page and paste it directly as a file in Windows Explorer. Windows is not capable of handlig that kind of transformation. You have to open an image editing program such as Paint or Photoshop or whatever, create a blank canvas, paste the image and save it as a file. Too much work.

Similarly, you cannot copy text from a document and paste it directly in Windows Explorer. Nope, not going to happen. You have to create a new blank document, paste the copied text and save it as a new file. How nice it would be if you could copy text or image, paste it into Windows Explorer and the copied data is magically transformed into the right type of file. This is possible with a tool called Paste as File (mirror site).

paste-as-file

Paste as File is a free utility that adds a "Paste As File" menu item to the context menu of Windows Explorer. As already explained, it allows you to paste the contents of the clipboard to a file based on the clipboard contents. If it is text, it will paste as a text file. It it’s an image, it will paste as an image file. The default extension is PNG, but you can save it in any of the supported formats: JPG, PCX, PNG, BMP, TGA, GIF and TIF.

Using Paste as File is easy. Whenever you need to copy text to a new text document, choose the “Paste as File” option in Explorer. You will be asked to enter a filename. The filename field is automatically populated with a default name along with a date stamp, so you can just hit Enter.

Same happens when pasting images, but this time you can rename the extension to any of the supported ones, and the tool will make the image conversion on-the-fly.

Although my context menu is crowded, I’m going to keep Paste as File. You never know when it might come handy.

12 comments:

  1. Thanks for the mention! I'm glad you like my app. I am going to try and update it to also allow pasting RTF files as well.

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  2. I have updated Paste As File to now support RTF files. Hope you like this version as well!

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  3. Great work Chris, and thanks for stopping by :)

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  4. Chris, do look into the new Paste As File. It's got a bug.

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  5. My site went down because of all the downloads. Please change the home link above to http://cgs.vdsworld.com

    @Romzee: What bug did you find?

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  6. Chris, although an action (of pasting) is executed a successfully a prompt of Paste As File has stopped working is thrown up. However, there is no such problem with the 2.0 version.

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  7. Nice app indeed.
    Nevertheless, i would like to point this out:
    [quote]
    You cannot copy an image from a Word document or from a web page and paste it directly as a file in Windows Explorer. Windows is not capable of handlig that kind of transformation. You have to open an image editing program such as Paint or Photoshop or whatever, create a blank canvas, paste the image and save it as a file. Too much work.
    [/quote]
    True that Windows is not capable of handling this natively.
    Fortunately (frankly, it was about time) Microsoft included this "Save as file"-ability for an image in Office 2010 (since you're mentioning Word documents).

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