Windows 11 just took copying and pasting to the next level

PowerToys Advanced Paste asking for OpenAI API key to function.
Judy Sanhz / Digital Trends

It’s not often that we get innovation in something as basic as copy and paste. But in a new update to Windows 11, copying and pasting is getting supercharged with AI — and it doesn’t even require a Copilot+ PC.

As reported by Windows Latest, Microsoft announced a new PowerToys feature at its Build developers conference that makes copying and pasting especially useful for developers. Once enabled, you’ll be able to choose from three pasting options: Paste as plain text (Ctrl+1), Paste as markdown (Ctrl+2), and Paste as JSON (Ctrl+3).

That last option, obviously, is what’s new. The feature enables you to paste converted Extensible Markup Language (XML) into JavaScript Object Notation (JSON). You can now convert popular programming languages, but there is a price to pay: your OpenAI API key. Why is this considered a catch? If an API key is ever sent to a client, there is a chance it might be compromised, and if that happens, there could be serious security risks.

A more advanced clipboard is also included, and you can paste the copied text into your preferred programming language by typing the name of the language in the magic search bar. For example, if you want it pasted into Python, type “paste as python.”

To enable the feature, you’ll need to go to PowerToys > Advanced Paste and click the blue Enable button for Paste with AI. After clicking the button, you’ll see instructions showing you where to find the OpenAI API key, including creating an account you don’t already have. As always, remember that AI can make mistakes, and reviewing the code created for any errors while it’s in the preview window is a good idea.

Preview window for code checking PowerToys in Windows 11.
Windows Latest

More good news is on the horizon, as Microsoft may support other ways to convert your copied text into your favorite programming languages. Programmers will have a field day with this feature, which will help them with their everyday copying and pasting tasks.

So, while this new copy and paste won’t have as much use for the average Windows user, it’s great to see Microsoft reimagine how AI could transform such a basic element of the operating system to be more useful.