HovText  .:: a simple Windows .NET open source clipboard manager

HovText is a simple free open source Windows .NET Framework clipboard manager, which will remove any formatting from the copied text and save it for later retrieval via hotkeys. It stores both the unformatted cleartext and the original formatting along with images.

Fun facts




This documentation always refers to the newest released version only! No documentation is availble for any older versions and you are encouraged to update to the newest version.

Topics to cover:

License / fair use

We have always been huge fans of free and open source software so of course HovText is the same! :-) You are allowed to use HovText on as many computers as you want including your work computer, if you are allowed to use it there of course.

As any other developers, doing this in our spare time, then we of course could hope for a "fair use", which means that if you like HovText and you use it on a daily basis, then we would naturally appreciate a donation for whatever amount you find reasonable and fair. This would for sure motivate for continues support, if we see this is a tool that actually is used and liked by others? :-) Use the Donate link in the left side menu, if you want to support us. Donations received will go to continues support for HovText - e.g. a code signing certificate, maybe new icons and who knows. We did not make HovText to earn profit from it and both of us have jobs in the IT industry, which is lucky for us as HovText will never be a golden goose. Just to put things in perspective then from 2011-2020 we "earned" $115 on HovText, which doesn't even cover the electrical bill for the low-power server ;-)

We do not want anyone to benefit economically from our work, so HovText and its code base is not to be sold, redistributed or repackaged in any way without full written agreement with us first! This is not fair and we hope for your understanding of this.

Your data and internet connectivity

It is quite important for us to stress out that your history entries are not saved or stored anywhere! It resides in your computer's memory only, so the next time you close HovText or restart your computer then it is gone for good. It also does not save or communicate your history to the internet in any way! The only internet activity HovText does, is checking for a newer version and it does this on each application startup only, if this has been enabled (it is enabled by default).
Unless you enable troubleshooting logging then HovText does not save any files to the filesystem but it does save configuration parameters in the registry - view Registry settings for details. In the troubleshooting logging it will not save any content from the history either - only application configuration and behaviour is saved!

When HovText is checking for a new version then your IP address is stored in a database along with a timestamp and the actual version you are using. This is used for public fun facts graphs so it is possible to see peak periods of versions and how many users are using it - at no time will your IP address be revealed but it is used to get a simplistic measurement on unique users using HovText... this is something that is fun to know as a developer and I do hope you will allow for this (check out the fun facts page) :-) If you do not want this registration then you should not check for new updates.

If you write an email to us via the Feedback tab or via the Contact page then we will use your email only for a response - it will not be redistributed or sold to anyone. YOU are not the the product here! :-)


HovText will only be supported on Windows 10 with .NET Framework 4.8 or newer.

It should though work on older versions also (both Windows and .NET) but this is too complicated to support, so I will not loose any sleep due to this old crap - so stay up-to-date ;-)

Install and start HovText

There is no installation required for HovText - just download the executable file, save it where you want and run the "HovText.exe" file.
For the first time you run the file then you will see this warning - click the "More info" link:

This is perfectly normal and just shows that you should be observant, that this is a new file from an untrusted source. As the HovText executeable file is not signed with a trusted certificate from us then you will see this warning but just click "Run anyway" and then you will not see it again - at least until a new version is released.

Also do note that we have heard of examples where antivirus software quarantines or forbid HovText from running. There is no virus in the files downloaded form this web page, so it is most likely due to the fact that the application is not digitally signed and that HovText interfere with the system clipboard - this may be considered risky by some antivirus software companies.
Signing HovText is currently too expensive as it costs aproximately $70-$400 yearly to maintain a developer code signing certificate that will ensure trust between developer and their software (depending on code signing certificate type). Also it seems impossible from Denmark to get this done, as it requires a signed document from a lawyer or a public notary, as we have no government ID that has both your photo and the physical address :-/

How to use HovText

This is a very basic introduction on how to actually use HovText as it maybe can be a little weird, if you have no experience with these types of applications. The application tends towards usage from the more advanced users as they are the ones typically needing this functionality but it can for sure be used by everyone as long as you know how to :-)

When it starts up the very first time then it is ready for usage. You should try copying some texts and images and then you can try and press the hotkey ALT + H (keep holding the ALT key pressed down). This will show you the things you just copied in a list view, with the newest entry at the top. If you want to scroll down in the list then just press H again (still pressing down on ALT). It then activates the next history entry. If you release the ALT key then you will select that specific entry and the unformatted clear-text or picture will be populated to the clipboard and you can then paste it to any application you want with the normal Windows paste, SHIFT + INSERT or CONTROL + V.

You can of course go the opposite direction also in the history list with (default) SHIFT + ALT + H.

If you are in the list view then you can toggle if an entry should be marked as a favorite or not - use SPACE for that. If it is marked as a favorite then it will have a icon for it. You can then toggle to the "Favorites only" list view with Q and see only the favorite entries you have marked. You can toggle back again to the "All entries" with the same hotkey.

You are urged to select whatever hotkey combination suits you. Just go to the "Hotkeys" tab and change that but do note that you cannot choose whatever key combination you want. HovText uses "global hotkeys" which means that specific keys are unavailable - like the Windows key is not possible to use as that is reserved for Windows but this will be clearly shown when you select that.

The "Toggle application on/off" is probably the most confusing key combination as it per default is set to CONTROL + Oem5, which make no sense for the human eye - and furthermore it is regionalized and dependent on your keyboard language and layout. As I am a Dane then I have taken the liberty to suggest this key combination for this feature.

Default hotkey for "Toggle application on/off":

E.g. US keyboard layout places this physical different on the keyboard - so choose your own hotkeys :-) You can get a reference for the (sometimes) weird names that the hotkey shows here, http://kbdlayout.info/

If you master the hotkeys then everything else is easy :-) There are quite a few settings that can be tweaked but the default setup should probably be fine for the most.

If you copy a text where you actually do need the formatting then just disable the application with the hotkey and the formatted text will automatically be restored, so just paste just after that - easy.


Start with Windows
  When checked then HovText will startup together with Windows.
It will start minimized when launched by Windows startup.

Check for updates online
  If this is checked then at startup it will check if there are newer versions available. If there is a newer stable version available, it will show a dialouge screen, where you can choose to go to the HovText web page or skip this version. It will also check for the newest development version but read more about this in Advanced.

If you select "Skip this version", it will not notify you again with the same version.

If you want to update to the newer version (always recommended), you must go to the web page yourself and download the new version. Before launching the new version, you must exit the running HovText as there can only be one instance running.
The new version will read all settings from the previous version.

Enable application
  If not checked then it will act as this application has not been started, except that it will still react on the application toggle "on/off". If it is disabled then it will not process any clipboard changes or history entries nor will it remove any formatting.

You can enable/disable HovText by either clicking this checkbox, by using the "Toggle application on/off" hotkey or by clicking the HovText icon in the tray area.

Also view the "Restore original formatting when disabling application" functionality as this is closely tied to this.

Close minimizes application to tray
  When checked then it will not exit HovText when the "Close" button is clicked but instead it will minimize the application to tray.

The application will continue to run in the background and the first time you minimize it then you will get a notification that the application continues to run in the background.

When HovText is minimized to tray then you can either double-click the tray icon for showing the General settings or right-click and choose an action.

If you cannot view the HovText icon in the tray then you can unhide it from the tray area.

You will not see a notification if notifications have been disabled in Windows.

Restore original formatting when disabling application
  Together with the unformatted clear-text in the history then the original formatted text is also kept. If the application gets disabled then it will restore the clipboard with the original text formatting - or at least it will try. Due to technical limitations then not all clipboard content can be kept as-is, which means there can be situations where it cannot restore the exact original clipboard. If this is the case, it will probably act as if the clipboard is empty. If this is the case then please report it as an error and do send the troubleshoot logfile.

If this is not checked then no action will be done when disabling HovText and it will keep the unformatted clear-text content in the clipboard.

This feature is only available when the hotkey behaviour is set to the "Use system clipboard" mode.

Note - if history is disabled then it will always restore the last text entry as images are not processed by HovText, if history is disabled.

Enable history
  One of the key features is that HovText can remember the copied texts and images - it is a clipboard manager. You can restore any old entry by using the hotkeys for "Show older entry" or "Show newer entry" and then it will show the content of that specific history entry in the history area. When an entry is selected, it will either populate this to the clipboard or paste it to the active application depending on the hotkey behaviour.

There is no limitation on the number of history entries it can remember - it depends on your system memory.

When this is not checked then it will still remove the formatting from the copied text but it will not act as a clipboard manager and you cannot get the history list.

Enable favorites
  A favorite is a quicker way of finding relevant entries. Sometimes the list of copied texts or images can be quite long and it can be difficult to know when you last used the entry, so as a quicker method then you can mark an entry as a "favorite". This should typically be done with the entries that you use the most throughout a normal working day.
A favorite can be set or cleared by using the "Toggle favorite entry" hotkey.
You can use the "Toggle list view" hotkey to toggle between the two views; "All entries" or "Favorites only".
The last view used will be set the next time the history opens.

Copy images to history
  HovText is focussed on removing formatting from any text but it does support keeping images also in the history. If you do not want to remember the images in history then you can deselect this option and it will act as a text-only clipboard manager.

You can of course still copy images to the clipboard but these will not be stored in the history.

Paste on history selection
  When you select something from the history, it will automatically paste the content to the active window, if this is checked.

Trim whitespaces and new-lines
  If the content you are copying is having new-lines or whitespaces in front or end of the text then it will be removed with this option.

Sometimes it is hard to see if there is copied an empty whitespace in front (happens very frequently) so this is a handy feature.


Use system clipboard
  Default behaviour is that HovText always will remove formatting from any text in the clipboard, which means that it will paste only the clear-text content from the clipboard. When pasting with standard Windows paste (e.g. CONTROL + V or SHIFT + INSERT) then you will get the clear-text output only.
This is basically the same as pasting the formatted text to Notepad and then copy it from there.

Paste only on hotkey
  With this feature it will try and keep the original formatting in the clipboard and only paste the unformatted clear-text when pressing this hotkey.

Do note that it will try to keep the original content in the clipboard but due to technical limitations then not all clipboard content can be kept as-is, which means there can be situations where it cannot restore the exact original clipboard. If this is the case, it will probably act as if the clipboard is empty. If this is the case then please report it as an error and do send the troubleshoot logfile.

Toggle application on/off
  Hotkey that will enable or disable HovText.

If enabled then HovText will remove formatting and save the clipboard to the history.

If disabled then HovText will not remove any formatting or keep any history. It will act as the application was not started except for the toggle functionality, that still will be active.

Note that as soon as any of the hotkey fields are activated then all the hotkeys will be removed temporarily to avoid conflicts. All hotkeys will be reactivated once clicking either "Apply" or "Cancel".

Show older entry
  Show the history area and go back in time and show older history entries.
When reaching the oldest entry then it cannot go any further and the headline will flash.
Releasing all the modifier keys (ALT, SHIFT or CONTROL) will select the active history entry.

Note that as soon as any of the hotkey fields are activated then all the hotkeys will be removed temporarily to avoid conflicts. All hotkeys will be reactivated once clicking either "Apply" or "Cancel".

Show newer entry
  Show the history area and go forward in time and show newer history entries.
When reaching the newest entry then it cannot go any further and the headline will flash.
Releasing all the modifier keys (ALT, SHIFT or CONTROL) will select the active history entry.

Note that as soon as any of the hotkey fields are activated then all the hotkeys will be removed temporarily to avoid conflicts. All hotkeys will be reactivated once clicking either "Apply" or "Cancel".

Paste on hotkey
  This is the hotkey for the "paste only on hotkey" feature

Toggle favorite entry
  Hotkey for toggeling if the active history entry should be marked as a favorite or not.
If it is marked as a favorite then the box has a triangular red icon.
This can be done in both list views - both the "All entries" and in the "Favorites only" view.

Important - you must show the history area for this key to work and then you can press this single-key to activate it. You cannot select any modifier key - one key only.

Toggle list view
  Hotkey for toggeling which list view to show - either the "All entries" or "Favorites only" list.
You can determine in which list view you are by looking at the headline - if in "favorites only" view then this headline will have a triangular red icon.
If there are no favorites then it will display an empty view and you should toggle to the "all entries" view.
If you close the history area then it will start in the same list view the next time - e.g. if you last viewed the "Favorites only" then it will start in this view again.

Important - you must show the history area for this key to work and then you can press this single-key to activate it. You cannot select any modifier key - one key only.

  This will activate all the hotkeys again and set the new key combination.

If you get any text with "Unsupported" then that specific hotkey is either already taken or invalid and you should select a new combination. E.g. the Windows key is not possible to use as that is reserved for Windows.

You can remove a hotkey by pressing DELETE or BACKSPACE. This will set the hotkey to "Not set" which means it is not active.

  Will restore whatever hotkey combination was there previously.

Hotkey conflict

At application startup it will check if there are any conflicts with any of the global hotkeys defined. If there is then it will notify on which hotkey is conflicting and you must either correct it in HovText or the other application where it conflicts.

You will be redirected to the Hotkeys tab.


Visible elements
  The default setting will show 8 history elements, where you can walk up/down in the list of historic entries with the hotkeys. You can show anything from 1-30 elements in a list-view.

Changing the slider will result in the "Width" and "Height" changing to its default values for this view, though these values can be modified afterwards.

It will show the process name from where the copied text or image came. The process name is not the same as a nice human friendly application name but it can in most cases help identifying from where the entry did come, if this is relevant. Please do note that you cannot fully trust this information! I have seen weird examples on process names - clipboards coming from e.g. svchost or idle though I can pinpoint the application. For example in the below history list then it states that the active picture element comes from svchost though I know it comes from FastStone Capture!?
I am not sure yet how this works so do not trust this data but use it as a possible helper indication ;-) Maybe this will be entirely removed in a future release.

Having multiple elements visible can increase the contexts for the text or picture you need to find and may make it easier to navigate but in the same time it can be difficult to view an image or a full text, if you view many elements in the history list as each element box will be smaller the more elements you have visible.

Layout with 8 elements visible entries and a Chinese unicode text as the active one:

You can toggle favorites in the list - here it has 3 favorites marked in the "All entries" list:

In the "Favorites only" list it will show only the favorites:

It will take some time to get used to the hotkeys but it is worth it as it gives an effective use in your daily operation to be able to seamlessly navigate in HovText :-)
  Set the width, in percentage of the screen width, that the history area should consume.
Can span from 10%-95%

  Set the height, in percentage of the screen height, that the history area should consume.
Can span from 10%-95%

History location
  You can select the location for the history area on the screen.
It can be located in any of the corners or centered in the middle of the screen.

Display history on
  The default screen to show the history area will be the main/primary display but this can be changed if you have multiple monitors.

Note - the screen numbering can be confusing as there is not necessarily a coherent view between what you can see in the Windows Display properties and what HovText will show as available screens. In some cases you will need to try different selections to find the correct screen to show the history on, if you have multiple monitors.

Important - if you have multiple screen setups, for the same computer, then it will overwrite if it detects an invalid combination. E.g. if you have 3 screens at work but 1 at home then it will overwrite to 1 screen when this is detected.


Change font
  Set the font familiy and size for the history area.
Both the headline and bottom part will use the same font and size.

Show active border
  If checked then there will be a visible border on the active history element when walking up/down in the list of historic entries.

If there is only 1 visible element then it will not show a border and instead this field will be disabled.

History color
  You can set the color theme for the history area - either select from one of the static color themes or set your own custom colors.

Custom colors
  If the "Custom" color is selected, the custom color boxes will become active and you can set the colors for the history area.
Click with the mouse in the colored boxes to select a new color.


Enable troubleshoot logging
  If you experience any problems then you can enable the troubleshoot logging. This will create a file named "HovText-troubleshooting.txt" in the same folder as "HovText.exe" and the file will contain a lot of valuable information required for the developer, if you report a problem.

It is important for me to highlight that there will not be saved any content from the history or your computer and the logfile will have information about HovText settings and behaviour only, including some required information like .NET Framework version and OS version etc. You are encouraged to review the file yourself before sending :-)

Open logfile location
  This is a quick way to get to the logfile, where you can open it with your favorite text editor. The logfile will be highlighted/marked when opening the folder.

Delete logfile
  At any time you can delete the logfile.
No confirmation asked.

  Here you can download the newest available "Development" version of HovText. The development version is intended for beta testers or people reporting problems, where they will be able to test the fix before a new public release.

This functionality requires that you have enabled "Check for updates online" and when enabled it will check for the newest available development version.

There is no guarantee that the development version will be newer than the official stable release (check the date) and that it will not break normal operation as it depends on whar has been changed within this specific version.

Clean-up and exit
  This will do a "factory default" meaning that it will clean-up and delete all HovText configuration in the registry and the logfile - only the "HovText.exe" file will be kept.

You can use this functionalty if you want to "uninstall" HovText or if you want to reset the configuration settings.

No confirmation asked.


Send feedback to the developers.

  If you want to get any response back then you must give your email address but it is optional.
Your email address will not be used for anything else than replying back to the feedback you provide!

  Your feedback - both good and bad is of course welcome and if you have ideas then please feel free to provide your insights.

You can also copy/paste information from the troubleshoot logging.

Send feedback
  Send your feedback to the developer.
Normally response is pretty fast :-)


It will show the specific version and some other borring stuff.

If you click the Donate link then you will be shown a PayPal donate page, where you can donate either $10, $25, $50 or a custom amount.


In the tray area you will find one of the three icons:

  Hotkey behaviour is set to "Use system clipboard" and it will automatically remove any text formatting form the clipboard.

  Application is currently set to "off" (disabled), which means it will not catch new history or remove formatting.
This is applicable in both hotkey behaviour modes.

  Hotkey behaviour is set to "Paste only on hotkey".

You may need to expand the tray area to be able to see the icon as it will be hidden by default.
If you right-click the icon then you get a context menu where you either can exit HovText, go to the General settings
or to the About tab.

If you click the tray icon once then it will toggle the application on/off (enable or disable).
If you double-click the icon then it will open the General settings tab.

Commandline parameters

When starting HovText from commandline there is only one parameter:

Will directly minimize to the tray and not show any user interface on application startup.
This is how it is started up when enabling "Start with Windows".

Registry settings

There are two places in registry where HovText operates:
    • HovText configuration parameters
  • Computer\HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
    • HovText
      • Will startup HovText when Windows starts
Both places can be deleted for clean-up but do not mess with it if you are insecure on this!!! You should use the Advanced "Clean-up and exit" functionality, if you want to delete it.

Software used

HovText has been developed in Microsoft Visual Studio 2019.

It uses a hotkey library named NHotkey.
The required hotkey DLL has been embedded in the executable file with Costura.