Office 2007 - PowerPoint's Freaky Clipboard Use

Can’t say if this is really specific to PowerPoint, but I just noticed that PowerPoint 2007 regularly uses the clipboard internally. I’ve been using ClipMate for a few years now, which is a really fantastic clipboard monitor/archiver tool with a lot of functionality around clipboard use. ClipMate also has a setting to produce a sound when the content of the clipboard changes, and that’s what made me notice that clipboard content was regularly changed while I was creating and editing slides in PowerPoint. Specifically, when the new live preview functions kicked in while I was hovering the mouse cursor over the Ribbon, this happened all the time.

Looking at ClipMate’s Explorer window, I can only see that PowerPoint is apparently pushing empty image data to the clipboard. It does this several times with a block of same size, then the size changes at some point, to be repeated several times again. No idea why this happens, but I don’t like it…

Why is this a bad idea? Well, simply put, the clipboard is not a tool to be used for application-internal purposes. The clipboard content should be defined by the user of a Windows computer, not by the applications running on that computer. Any user who’s not using a clipboard monitor will lose clipboard content when an application just writes its own stuff over the existing content, and this in turn will give the impression of the computer behaving irrationally, as the user is not aware that a change to the clipboard content has occurred at all. So far, I had only found a few applications doing this, usually of the kind where I might expect the programmer not to know better – finding this kind of bad behaviour in a Microsoft Office application is a completely different thing, and I certainly hope they’ll fix this. Which brings me to a different and really unrelated topic: Where’s the send feedback menu entry? They have all this fancy automatic crash reporting stuff, but I have to find an online forum somewhere myself before I can send such reports in? (Actually I have no idea whether that’s what they want me to do. Will have to go look for it when (if) I have the time.)

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