Being able to move around information is critical to how many of us get work done, and Google appears to be testing out a new feature in Chrome that aims to improve copy/paste functionality in the popular browser. Dubbed Raw Clipboard Access, its Github page reveals that the new system would allow for a wider range of formats to be copied and pasted.

Up to now in Chrome, trying to copy and paste formats that aren’t commonly used online can result in issues when pasting — or, more frequently, the format simply cannot be copied at all or requires the use of an extension. For example, without Raw Clipboard Access, Google Docs requires an extension in order to copy/paste content with Microsoft Office.

Raw Clipboard Access
Raw Clipboard Access provides a low-level API to allow interoperability between web and native application clipboards, by implementing copying and pasting of data with any arbitrary Clipboard type, without encoding and decoding.
Without Raw Clipboard Access:
  • Google Docs requires an extension in order to copy and paste content interoperable with Microsoft Office.
  • Some native applications may reverse-engineer Webkit and Blink's pickling/custom clipboard formats (ex. "org.chromium.web-custom-data") to interoperate with the web, without requiring any permissions protections.
  • Web applications are generally limited to a small subset of formats, and are unable to interoperate with the long tail of formats. For example, Figma and Photopea are unable to interoperate with most image formats.
Most users will appreciate this functionality in applications such as Photopea or Figma, which can use the new functionality to copy and paste PhotoShop/GIMP images, GIFs, or even RAW files directly into the web app. Other uses are a little less mainstream, like being able to copy LaTeX or .ogg files, but folks who use these extensions on a daily basis will be thankful for an easier way to handle them.

For those curious, there is currently a flag available for Raw Clipboard Access in Chrome Canary.