HovText  .:: an advanced Windows .NET open source clipboard manager


HovText is a free open source Windows .NET Framework advanced 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.

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DOCUMENTATION

This documentation always refers to the newest released version only! No documentation is availble for any older versions and you are encourgaed 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 menu, if you want to support us. Donations received will go to continues support for HovText - e.g. a code signing certificate and maybe new icons. 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 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). HovText does not save any files to the filesystem but it does save configuration parameters in the registry - view Registry settings for details.

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 will be 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 :-) If you do not want this registration then you should not check for new updates.


 
Requirements

HovText requires Windows 7 or newer and .NET Framework 4.x
It has however only been tested on Windows 10, .NET Framework 4.8 and with administrative privileges so please report any problems.


 
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).


 
General



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

[Check for updates online]
At startup of HovText then it will check if there is a newer version available. If there is, then it will show a dialouge screen, where you can choose to go to the HovText web page or skip this version.
If you press "Skip this version" then you will not be notified of the same new version again.
View Update for details.

[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.

[Close minimizes application to tray]
When checked then it will not exit/terminate 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 click this 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.

[Restore original formatting when disabling application]
Together with the clear-text unformatted 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 - or at least it will try. Due to technical limitations then not all clipboard formats can be kept, which means there can be situations where it cannot restore the original content and if this is the case it will probably act as if the clipboard is empty.
This feature is only available when the hotkey behaviour is set to the "Use system clipboard" mode.
Please report any problems with this as it may or may not be possible to fix this problem (I do have a very limited test environment).

[Enable history]
One of the key features is that HovText can remember the copied texts and images. 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 and when selected, it will either populate this to the clipboard or paste it to the active application.

[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 HovText to save the images in history then you can deselect this option and then it will act as a text-only clipboard manager.

[Paste on history selection]
When you select something from the history then 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 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.


 
New version



When there is a newer version available then it will be shown a few seconds after application startup. If you want to update then you must go to the home page yourself and download the new version.
Before launching the new version then 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.
If you select "Skip this version" then it will not notify you again with the same version.


 
Hotkeys



[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. CTRL+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 and keep the original text formatting in the clipboard but due to technical limitations then not all clipboard formats can be kept, which means there can be situations where it cannot restore the original content. If this is the case then it will most likely act as if the clipboard is empty.
Please report any problems with this as it may or may not be possible to fix this problem (I do have a very limited test environment).

[Toggle application on/off]
Hotkey that will enable or disable HovText.
If enabled then HovText will remove formatting and save the history.
If disabled then HovText will not remove any formatting or save 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 this 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 this 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
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".

[Apply]
This will activate the selected hotkeys.
If you get any text with "Unsupported" then that specific hotkey is either already taken or invalid and you should select a new combination.
You can remove a hotkey by pressing DELETE or BACKSPACE. This will set the hotkey to "Not set" which means it is not active.

[Cancel]
Will restore whatever hotkey combination was there previously.


 
Hotkey conflict



At application startup it will check if there are any conflict with one 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.


 
Layout



[Visible elements]
The default setting will show 8 history elements where you can walk up/down in the list of historic entries via 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 - this 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 select many elements in the history list as each element box will be smaller the more elements you have visible.

Layout with 8 elements visible and a transparent picture as the active one:


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

[Height]
Set the height, in percentage of the screen, 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.


 
Style



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

[Show active border]
If selected 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 select custom colors.

[Custom colors]
If the "Custom" color is selected this 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.


 
About



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.


 
Tray

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


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

[Red]
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.

[Blue]
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.


 
Notification

The first time you minimize HovText then you will be shown an information that HovText will continue running in the background.
If you cannot view the HovText icon in the tray then you can unhide it from the tray area.




 
Commandline parameters

This is only applicable for the advanced users and is only included for documentation reason. No need to know this :-)
When starting HovText from commandline there is only one parameter:

[--start-minimized]
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

This is only applicable for the advanced users and is only included for documentation reason. No need to know this :-)
There are two places in registry where HovText operates:
  • Computer\HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\HovText
    • 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!!!


 
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.