Tech Tips: Copy and paste between Mac & iPad and clearing recent document lists in Microsoft Word |

Tech Tips: Copy and paste between Mac & iPad and clearing recent document lists in Microsoft Word

Doug Behl & Ken Getz

I sometimes need to move data between my Mac and my iPad. All I really want to do is copy text to the Clipboard on my Mac and then paste it into a document on the iPad. Is there some easy way to do this?

There are certainly lots of reasons to want to be able to transfer data from your Mac to your iPad (or vice versa), and using the Clipboard seems like the simplest solution for many situations. You could email data to yourself, of course, and retrieve it on the other device, but that solution is so 2005.

As long as you have moderately recent Mac hardware running Mac OS Sierra or later, along with a moderately recent iPad or iPhone (for iPad, you'll need an iPad 4 or iPhone 5 or later), you can take advantage of Apple's Universal Clipboard. This tool makes it simple to copy data to the clipboard on one device, and then paste it from the clipboard on another device.

To use this feature, ensure that you're logged into iCloud, using the same Apple ID on both devices. You must enable WiFi on both devices as well, even if your Mac is connected to a wired connection. (You don't actually have to connect your Mac's WiFi to anything — it just needs to be on and functioning.)

In addition, you must turn on Bluetooth on both devices — again, you don't have to actually have a Bluetooth connection to any device; the feature just needs to be turned on.

Finally, in System Preferences, on the General tab, click the checkbox next to "Allow Handoff between this Mac and your iCloud devices."

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On the iPad or iPhone you'd like to use, you must make the same adjustments: WiFi and Bluetooth need to be enabled, and you need to allow the use of the Handoff feature. To do that, in the Settings app, select General, and then Handoff. Ensure that Handoff is toggled on.

To use the Universal Clipboard feature, copy data to the clipboard as you normally would. Your Mac automatically transfers the contents of the clipboard to other nearby devices logged into the same iCloud account. Then, when you try to paste the content on the device, you'll see the data you copied on your Mac. It's magic!

For more information on using your Mac and your devices together, search the internet for "Apple Continuity Features."

Clear the Recent Documents List in Microsoft Word

I use Microsoft Word on my office Windows computer, and when I start it, it lists all the recent documents that everyone has edited. Is there some way to clear this list, so it's less confusing? Even better, is there some way to turn it off completely?

We won't ask what you're doing so that you don't want co-workers to see what documents you've been working on (preparing that new resume, hmmm?).

Luckily, Microsoft Word makes it easy to clear the whole list, remove a particular document from the recents list, or turn the feature off altogether.

To clear the list, once you've started Word, find the list of recent files (it appears on the left side of the first screen). Right click on any document name, and select Clear Unpinned Documents. Click Yes to confirm, and Word removes the list of recently opened documents.

To clear a single item from the list, right-click that item, and select Remove from List to remove it from the recents list. (A good way to hide that resume that you've been working on.)

To turn off the recent file list completely, with a document open, select File and then Options. In the Word Options dialog, select the Advanced tab, and then the Display section. Set the "Show this number of Recent Documents" option to 0, and click OK. No more recent documents when you start Word.

Oops! There's one more place you'll need to fix. In Windows 10, right-clicking the Microsoft Word icon on the task bar displays a list of recent documents. To fix this problem, in Windows, select Start, then Settings, then Personalization.

Click Start in the left-hand menu, and then click on "Show recently opened items in Jump Lists on Start or the Taskbar" so that you toggle the feature off.

If you're concerned about co-workers who share your computer seeing the documents you've been working on, you can use these steps to turn off the "recent documents" feature — just remember that you're turning off the feature for them, as well.

We hope they're OK with the change!

Doug Behl and Ken Getz spent years answering technical questions in private, and are minimizing the questions by pre-emptively publishing the answers. Hear Doug and Ken's tech tips on KNCO radio weekdays at around 8:21 a.m. and 5:38 p.m.; find full write-ups including links to the products they mention at Submit your own technical questions to