Microsoft offering AI-enabled copy and paste — But there's a catch

A rendering of the Windows command prompt.
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

With Microsoft’s big summer push into AI, even copy and paste is getting a shade of AI. Recently, the company behind Windows added a new Advanced Paste feature to PowerToys for Windows 11. It converts copied content in the clipboard utilizing AI.

For those unaware, PowerToys is aptly named. It is a set of tools and utilities that enable Windows power users to tune Windows to their liking. PowerToys must be installed to use, so it's not included on your Windows-based PC by default.

Advanced Paste lets users choose the format for pasted text, such as plain text or JSON. with AI, it can also summarize, rewrite or translate the text you’ve copied into your clipboard, as shared by ZDNET

If you’re already a PowerToys user, you’ll need to install the latest 0.80.1 update. 

Starting out, the format choice will be available to anyone who has PowerToys and enables Advanced Paste. However, to access the AI features, you'll need an OpenAI API key that is enabled in PowerToys. You’ll also need credits in your account and API credits are different from a paid ChatGPT account

If you’re unfamiliar with how this works, you purchase a number of credits in OpenAI between $5 and $100 or pay as you go. OpenAI assigns tokens to GPT tasks. Having the program write this sentence costs 10 tokens. One token per word. From our understanding, tokens cost sub-pennies like .003 for 1,000 tokens. So even power users will take some time to get through the credits they purchase.

To get the feature, Advanced Paste can be activated with the key command Windows Key + Shift + V. If AI is enabled, you will see an OpenAI prompt where you can request conversions to summaries, analyzing, translations or generated code, to name a few options. Another cool feature is the ability to stylize text to make it sound like it's written by a certain person.

Take text from the clipboard and ask the AI to rewrite it in the style of a well-known author, book, or speaker.

PowerToys website

When using the OpenAI prompt window, it generates text based on your prompts. Once that text appears, it can be pasted into the document you’re working on. 

If you have OpenAI API credits, it might be worth playing around in PowerToys with Advanced Paste. 

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Scott Younker
West Coast Reporter

Scott Younker is the West Coast Reporter at Tom’s Guide. He covers all the lastest tech news. He’s been involved in tech since 2011 at various outlets and is on an ongoing hunt to build the easiest to use home media system. When not writing about the latest devices, you are more than welcome to discuss board games or disc golf with him.