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Google Chrome Tests ‘Raw Clipboard Acces’

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Google Chrome is testing a new feature called “Raw Clipboard Access”. According to a publically available design document and other code comments, this feature will greatly improve the copy/paste capabilities of web browsers, starting with Chrome.

Code for Raw Clipboard Access
Code for Raw Clipboard Access

According to the project page on Github, this could be used by:

  • Online editors like Google Docs or Microsoft Office 365, copy/paste OpenOffice or Microsoft Word documents/spreadsheets/presentations (proprietary formats).
  • Figma or Photopea, to copy/paste PhotoShop/GIMP, GIFs, or RAW images, or already-supported formats with not-supported metadata (long tail of metadata).
  • Web Apps supporting “niche” types, like LaTeX, .ogg, etc (long tail of formats).

The introduction on the project page also sheds light on why this is required:

“Powerful web applications would like to exchange data with native applications via the OS clipboard (copy-paste). The existing Web Platform has a high-level API that supports the most popular standardized data types (text, image, rich text) across all platforms. However, this API does not scale to the long tail of specialized formats. In particular, non-web-standard formats like TIFF (a large image format), and proprietary formats like .docx (a document format), are not supported by the current Web Platform.”

The document also mentions that “Microsoft is interested in this feature.” This means we will see this feature working on Microsoft Edge too soon.

Raw Clipboard Access Flag

The latest version of the Chrome Canary contains the Raw Clipboard Access flag. However, we are yet to test this to identify the additional features that the flag might have added.

Name: Raw Clipboard

Description: Allows raw/unsanitized clipboard content to be read and written. See https://github.com/WICG/raw-clipboard-access. – Mac, Windows, Linux

URL: chrome://flags/#raw-clipboard

We shall update this article as soon as more details emerge. In the meantime, let us know if you can think of any special use cases for this feature.



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