Windows 11 could get a shiny new feature to share files and links with QR codes, because apparently copy and paste is so last year

Windows 11’s Share menu is getting a new feature – the ability to share links as QR codes that a smartphone or other suitable device can scan (you can check out our guides on how to scan QR codes with an iPhone or with an Android).

The Share menu isn’t the most widely used, especially outside of Microsoft’s own apps and services, but Microsoft looks like it’s hoping to boost its popularity by making the sharing of web pages more seamless, especially across different devices. 

This feature is part of a new preview version, Windows 11 build 26212, available to Windows Insiders through the Canary Channel. The build saw the introduction of a button that generates a QR code within the Share menu dialog box, which will apply to Microsoft Edge and other supported apps. People can generate QR codes for URL addresses and cloud files in the Windows 11 Share menu, which is opened in most apps by clicking the share button in the app’s toolbar.

Once you have the preview build installed and you follow the process to generate a QR code, you can then open the Camera app or dedicated QR scanner on your device, and hold it up to the screen. 

A man holding a smartphone and pointing his finger

(Image credit: Shutterstock/pongsuk sapukdee)

More about the new Share window

Writing in a blog post publicizing the development, Microsoft explains that the Share menu will not close if you accidentally (or deliberately) click outside of it. To close it, you’ll have to click the close button in the top right corner.

There’s also an added provision if you use your Gmail address for your Microsoft Account: you can send yourself an email from the share window and receive it in your Gmail inbox (instead of just Outlook/Hotmail accounts).

A similar process already exists in Windows 11 for people who have Phone Link set up on multiple devices. These users can send a link via the Share menu, but this development makes it even easier to share things across devices as you don’t have to log in or set up anything after installing the preview build. 

We’ll have to see if this makes the Share menu more popular with users, as most people are used to the clipboard functions in Windows for moving information from one place to another, or they just save the data to the device they’re currently using to retrieve when they need it.

This development isn’t a dramatically big change, which means it can be easy to adopt, but also easy to miss. It’s also still in the testing stage, so we’ll have to wait and see if and when Microsoft chooses to fully adopt it in a future Windows 11 update.


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Beyond copy and paste: Microsoft set to debut Bing Chat feature to help transform your writing

Microsoft is preparing to introduce a new feature to its AI-powered Bing Chat in Microsoft Edge, offering users a quick and easy way to rewrite any text they write on the internet (such as in forms).

As spotted by Leopeva64 on X (formerly known as Twitter), Microsoft’s latest attempt to add OpenAI’s GPT technology into its Bing and Edge products is accessible only to users who have access to the Canary Channel, which gives them a chance to try out experimental new features that need more extended preparation and development time ahead of their introduction to the broader user base. The feature will include options to adjust settings like text length, the tone of the text, and the format. 

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 Resemblances to Bing AI’s inclusion in SwiftKey 

This feature update follows Microsoft incorporating a similar feature into the SwiftKey keyboard on iOS and Android devices. The feature also allowed users to rewrite text in different styles with Bing AI, and it seems like Microsoft is looking to bring this ability to Microsoft Edge. 

According to Neowin, the SwiftKey version of the feature lets you choose from four tones: professional, casual, enthusiastic, and informal. You can then change the format to suit a paragraph, an email, a blog post, or an ‘idea’. Finally, you can choose a length to your preference: short, medium, and long. Hitting the ‘Rewrite’ button will apply these preferences to your highlighted text and prompt Bing AI to generate a rewrite. 


(Image credit: Future)

Bing Chat, now with added functionality and accessibility 

Bing Chat is Microsoft Edge’s AI sidekick that can assist you while browsing, and has seen ongoing updates and improved functionality. 

Another recent feature has been the inclusion of voice input support, offering more options for how users can use Bing Chat. Windows Central speculates that this is because Microsoft wants to get Bing AI in front of more and more users with each update. 

Microsoft is clearly trying to capitalize on the recent surge in interest and hype with AI chatbots such as ChatGPT. I'd wager that it wants to be able to say it offers an operating system and browser that has the best integration of both ChatGPT itself and with generative AI technology in general.

There’s a lot more information to come as Microsoft hasn’t officially announced when this feature will officially debut. Again, if you sign up for the Canary Channel and get early access to the Windows Insider Program, you can try it on your Windows device early. It’s still in a “controlled rollout” phase of its development, however, so access isn’t guaranteed even if you sign up. 

 Rephrase your text instantly: How it works 

GIFs posted by Leopeva64 show how you can access the feature by highlighting the text you’d like to reword and clicking Rewrite.

You can also press the Alt + I keys to activate the feature. Once the feature is selected or activated, you’ll see Bing Chat pop up, and the text will be rewritten. Then you’ll be met with a Replace button, which when selected, will swap your text for the generated newly reworded text. 

You’ll always be presented with an Adjust button, and this will give you options to calibrate the rewritten text where you can alter its tone, length, and format. 

Bing AI chat YouTube script generation

(Image credit: Future)

Exciting potential 

This feature could be a very effective tool for those who write and edit writing, especially if you’re looking to get some help with creative undertakings. It can reword things to possibly help when you feel stuck in your writing, helping your writing flow, and even help write better to meet specific deadlines. 

One of my concerns, however, is perhaps one of the broader ones; I’m not sure it helps improve individual originality in writing, especially as Bing Chat and OpenAI’s models were trained on online data and existing written works. There's a danger that relying too much on a relatively small pool of writing could lead to a lack of innovation, and could strip the personality from people's writing. The quirks, jokes, and even mistakes that make our messages unique could be eradicated. From a creativity perspective, that could prove to be too high a price to pay.

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Upcoming Windows 11 update could improve how you copy and paste

Windows 11 looks like it could offer some smart new tricks with copying and pasting in the future, including intelligently determining what you’re cutting or copying, then offering to open a relevant app to paste into.

Windows Latest uncovered clues pertaining to a Smart Clipboard and Smart Actions after digging around in the latest preview builds of Windows 11 and finding a number of experimental flags for these features.

Those flags refer to a ‘Smart Clipboard UX’ and ‘Smart Install App Recommendation’ among other bits of functionality, with Windows Latest theorizing that this Smart Clipboard would have a different keyboard shortcut – and be separate to the current Clipboard – and would allow users to directly transfer rich content straight into apps.

As an example, say you copied an email address. In this case, Smart Clipboard would immediately suggest to directly paste this into Outlook (opening the app, and placing the copied address in a blank message).

Depending on what you’re cutting or copying, different apps could be recommended as a destination, and the whole system would be powered by AI, meaning that Windows 11 should learn the tasks you commonly perform, and become more accurate with its suggestions as time goes on.

Analysis: Revamping even the most basic computing tasks

Cutting or copying and pasting is such a basic task, it’s something that’s doubtless pretty much hardwired into your daily computing activities – an action you perform without even thinking about it.

And while you wouldn’t imagine there’s much you can do with such a basic piece of functionality, it’s good to see that Microsoft is thinking about innovating in these kinds of spaces – the core nuts-and-bolts of the Windows 11 experience.

Machine learning-powered suggested apps for whatever you’re cutting or copying could be a neat addition to make working within Microsoft’s OS that bit more streamlined. And if you don’t want them, then you don’t have to use the new function; at least if it works the way Windows Latest is describing.

That said of course, all of this is just speculation based on some nuggets of info hidden away in Windows 11, and we don’t know if Microsoft has any firm plans to develop such a Smart Clipboard. It could remain experimental tweaking that never sees the light of day, for all we know. Or we might just see this Clipboard revamp later this year when the big 22H2 update rolls out, and if that’s the case, the feature should hit testing before too long.

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Your biggest copy and paste issue could finally be fixed

A new free macOS app looks to finally solve one of the most frustrating issues plaguing users today when it comes to having to copy and paste text.

We've all been there – you've copied some text from a web page or word document, but when pasting it into a new location, the original formatting has caused it to suffer problems that range from a minor inconvenience to throwing off the layout of the whole document.

Now, Pure Paste looks to provide an end to this most annoying headache by pasting plain text by default, hopefully spelling an end to formatting issues across all your files.

Pure Paste

Available now from the App Store for free, Pure Paste looks to remove all formatting from any copied text, which now transfers to its new pasted location without any unwanted issues.

The app runs in the background, sitting in the macOS menu bar, and looks to replace the current (and rather over-complicated) method of pressing Command+Shift+Option+V for format-free pasting on a Mac.

On its App Store page, developer Sindre Sorhus noted that Pure Paste clears all formatting, including fonts, colors, bold, links, tables and more, with users also able to choose to manually clear formatting whenever needed instead of automatically via the menubar icon or a keyboard shortcut.

The app only focuses on text, staying clear of unrelated content such as files and images, and also ignores content copied from password managers. And whilst it does access your clipboard, Sorhus noted that it doesn't store any data, or even connect to the internet at all.

Despite being one of the most popular shortcuts for users everywhere, copy and paste still receives regular upgrades attempting to make the service better.

Most recently, Microsoft and Google were revealed to be developing a new set of Chromium APIs that will extend the functionality of the copy-and-paste feature across their respective web browsers.

Microsoft also boasts the Cloud Clipboard utility, which allows users to copy-and-paste items across multiple devices, including smartphones via the Microsoft-owned SwiftKey Keyboard for Android tool.

Via The Verge

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Microsoft wants to revolutionise copy and paste in Edge and Chrome for Windows 11

It looks like Microsoft is planning a radical overhaul of how you copy and paste in its Edge web browser in Windows 11 – and those changes could also come to Google’s rival Chrome browser as well.

As Windows Latest reports, Microsoft is working with Google on a feature called “Pickling Clipboard” which could drastically improve the clipboard abilities of Edge and Chrome, allowing you to copy and paste a wider variety of file formats. This could prove to be incredibly useful for people who use web apps – which are interactive websites that work a lot like apps you install on your PC – to upload and share files.

By either using your mouse or keyboard shortcuts, you will be able to copy a wide array of files to websites and web apps from within the browser, making the way we interact with websites a lot easier.

According to an update on the Chrome Platform Status website, the new feature could come to Chrome 98 and Edge 98.

Microsoft is also promising that the data you copy and paste will be compatible with security standards, and the company has worked to ensure that no corruption or data loss occurs either.

Analysis: Microsoft’s embrace of Chromium continues to pay off

You may not realise it, but copying and pasting is one of the most common things you can do when working on your PC, as it allows you to quickly and easily add text, photos, files and more from one source to another.

So, the fact that Microsoft is looking to improve this when you use a browser is very welcome. It’ll be particularly handy for using web apps such as online photo editors and word processors, as it’ll be easier for users to quickly add items from their PCs to the internet. Of course, it’s no coincidence that Microsoft has a suite of web apps that would benefit greatly from these improvements.

What’s particularly pleasing about this, however, is that Microsoft’s work on improving copying and pasting isn’t just going to come to its Edge web browser. It looks set to appear in Google’s rival Chrome browser as well.

This is thanks to the fact that both Edge and Chrome now run on the same web engine – Chromium – which is the core part of a web browser that displays websites. Since Microsoft moved Edge to Chromium, we’ve seen an increasing number of features designed by Microsoft come to both browsers, along with increased cooperation between Microsoft and Google.

This is great for consumers, as it gives them more choice over what browser to use, as they won’t miss out on features and improvements if they’d rather stick with Chrome. Google’s offering remains by far the most popular web browser in the world, so it doesn’t hurt Microsoft to come up with features like improved copy and paste to improve the performance of its web apps for Chrome users as well.

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