Clipboard.GetData Method

Retrieves data from the Clipboard in the specified format.

Namespace: System.Windows.Forms
Assembly: System.Windows.Forms (in

public static Object GetData (
	string format
public static Object GetData (
	String format
public static function GetData (
	format : String
) : Object
Not applicable.



The format of the data to retrieve. See DataFormats for predefined formats.

Return Value

An Object representing the Clipboard data or a null reference (Nothing in Visual Basic) if the Clipboard does not contain any data that is in the specified format or can be converted to that format.

Exception typeCondition


The Clipboard could not be cleared. This typically occurs when the Clipboard is being used by another process.


The current thread is not in single-threaded apartment (STA) mode. Add the STAThreadAttribute to your application's Main method.

Use the ContainsData method to determine whether the Clipboard contains data in the specified format or a compatible format before retrieving it with this method.

If this method cannot find data in the specified format, it attempts to convert the data to the format. If the data cannot be converted to the specified format, or if the data was stored with automatic conversion set to false, this method returns a null reference (Nothing in Visual Basic).


Data can be converted to another format if it was stored specifying that conversion is allowed, and if the requested format is compatible with the stored format. For example, data stored as Unicode can be converted to text.

The Clipboard class can only be used in threads set to single thread apartment (STA) mode. To use this class, ensure that your Main method is marked with the STAThreadAttribute attribute.

Use the SetData method to add data to the Clipboard in a particular format.

The following example demonstrates this member.

// Demonstrates SetData, ContainsData, and GetData.
public Object SwapClipboardFormattedData(String format, Object data)
    Object returnObject = null;
    if (Clipboard.ContainsData(format))
        returnObject = Clipboard.GetData(format);
        Clipboard.SetData(format, data);
    return returnObject;

Windows 98, Windows Server 2000 SP4, Windows CE, Windows Millennium Edition, Windows Mobile for Pocket PC, Windows Mobile for Smartphone, Windows Server 2003, Windows XP Media Center Edition, Windows XP Professional x64 Edition, Windows XP SP2, Windows XP Starter Edition

The Microsoft .NET Framework 3.0 is supported on Windows Vista, Microsoft Windows XP SP2, and Windows Server 2003 SP1.

.NET Framework

Supported in: 3.0, 2.0

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