Format Viability Test

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Advanced > Understanding Clipboard Formats > Format Viability Test

The Format Viability Test can help you to troubleshoot problems with the Clipboard and determine whether an application does indeed provide any formats that are worth keeping.  Simply put, it involves using the Clipboard viewer that comes with Windows (Clipbrd.exe) to capture data, save it to a file, read the file back in, and paste it back into the originating application.  There are four likely results:

1.A successful paste, with good-looking data.  This indicates that there is at least one format that has what you need.  All you need to do now is to figure out which format is the best, and create a filter for just that format, and maybe something that will show up in the Magnify Window, such as Text.
2.A successful paste, with strange-looking data.  In this case, the application is holding back the most useful format.  Microsoft Excel is an example of such an application.  None of its 21 Clipboard formats are as good as an internal paste.  Try experimenting with different filters, to see which format comes closest.  Hopefully, something will be useful.
3.A failure message.  The application tried to use one of the formats, but it was invalid.  The application was smart enough to recognize this.  Most likely, the offending format is a private format, used internally by the application.  It probably is a pointer to some data that is now invalid.  See if there are any special paste options, like Paste Special.  Perhaps one of the other formats will work better.  Try to use ClipMate's Application Profile to eliminate the offending format.  Often, private formats will have a name that indicates the application.  You need to find the best format(s) to include, and absolutely need to eliminate the offending formats by having them un-checked in the Application Profile  
4.A fatal error in the application.  The same case as (3) above, but the application wasn't smart enough to see the problem in time.  Use the same techniques to get out of trouble.

Conducting the Test:

1.Close ClipMate, if it is running.  The test will be conducted without ClipMate, in order to avoid confusion.
2.Open the Windows Clipboard viewer (the one that comes with Microsoft Windows - Clipbrd.exe or Clipbook.exe.  If it is not present under the Accessories portion of the start menu, you can re-install from your Windows95/98/NT CD.)
3.From AppXYZ (your application), copy some data.  If AppXYZ is a word processor, copy several paragraphs, preferably with different fonts.
4.Click on the Clipboard viewer.  Pull down the DISPLAY menu, and write down the list of the formats provided.
5.Close AppXYZ.
6.Click on the Clipboard viewer AGAIN.  Pull down the DISPLAY menu, and write down the list of the formats provided.  Has the list changed?  What's missing?
7.Save the Clipboard to a file, using FILE | SAVE AS.  Call it AppXYZ.CLP
8.Delete the Clipboard contents, using EDIT Delete.
9.Open AppXYZ.CLP, using Clipboard's FILE, OPEN.
10.Has the format list changed? (Use the DISPLAY Menu to check).
11.Run AppXYZ again.
12.Paste the data.  Does it look OK?  If so, then we're in business.  One of the formats on the Clipboard is a winner.  Experiment with filters, and see what you can eliminate.  I recommend keeping TEXT because it will help you to identify data and see it in the Preview/Edit Pane of ClipMate Explorer.