[Tip] How to Copy Text from a Dialog Box Quickly in Windows?

Whenever an AskVG reader contacts me regarding a Windows problem, I always ask him to first provide more details and the actual text which is shown by the error message or warning dialog box. It helps me to better understand reader's problem. But the reader asks me how to copy the text from the dialog box? Sometimes the error message might contain lots of text and numbers and it would be hard for the reader to read and type the whole text manually. Alternatively he can take a screenshot of the screen and can send me the image but sometimes its not possible for some people if they are using a restricted computer or if the Administrator has disabled attaching pictures in emails, etc.

In such conditions, I tell the reader a simple trick which allows you to quickly and easily copy the whole text from any dialog box in Windows. After getting regular emails regarding Windows problems and frequently telling readers about this trick, today I decided to create an article to share this trick with all.

So if you also want to learn how to copy text from a dialog box in Windows, here is the answer!

Whenever you want to copy text from a dialog box, you just need to press "Ctrl+C" keys together which is an universal keyboard shortcut to copy text and the whole text including title and buttons labels will be copied to clipboard. Now you can paste it anywhere you want.

Make sure the dialog box is active before pressing "Ctrl+C" keys together. You can click on the dialog box to make it active.

For example, lets talk about following dialog box which is shown by Windows when you try to uninstall a program using "Programs and Features" in Control Panel:


Now if you press "Ctrl+C" keys together, the whole text will be copied to clipboard and once you paste the text in Notepad, email or anywhere else, it'll look like following:

[Window Title]
Programs and Features

Are you sure you want to uninstall Classic Shell?

[ ] In the future, do not show me this dialog box [Yes] [No]

As you can see the text is copied in a very nice way showing the dialog box title, the whole message, checkbox label and buttons as well.

So now whenever you need to share the text from a dialog box in Windows, simply press "Ctrl+C" keys together and paste the text. Quite easy, isn't it? You can consider it as a hidden secret feature of Windows because there is no copy option given in dialog box but the hotkey "Ctrl+C" works.

Also check: [Did You Know] Collection of Simple and Easy to Use Tips for Windows Explorer

Did you already know about this trick? Do you know any other similar trick? Feel free to share your feedback in comment...

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Posted in: Windows 7, Windows 8 / 8.1, Windows Vista, Windows XP

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  • This is very helpful Sir VG, since I always do copy and paste errors to Google the solutions. In Linux, this is very easy. Thanks a lot.

  • It doesn't work for me. I try to copy a "Are you sure you want to delete this file....." dialogue box and it didn't copy anything....!!

  • In Windows XP, this is differently arranged:

    The text in the Untitled file has changed.

    Do you want to save the changes?
    Yes No Cancel

  • Nice find :)

    But not working for UAC dialog box :)


  • works like charm...thank u :)
    [Window Title]

    [Main Instruction]
    Do you want to save changes to Untitled?

    [Save] [Don't Save] [Cancel]

  • useful tips. .
    Thanks VG

  • I've never seen this before anywhere else. Thanks for sharing the info.

  • I found that this option only woks for dialog boxes created by windows and not any other 3rd party software. can anyone confirm this?


  • Cool tweak VG!!
    Your posts are good..

  • Wow! What a trick Thanks VG you done it again

  • VG

    Thanks guys for your feedback and comments. I'm glad you liked the tip. :)

  • Thanks for the useful tip.

  • It does not seem to work on every dialog box, but good tip anyway/

  • Create a invisible archive:

    Create a new archive in your desktop, change it's icon to empty, then rename it (hit alt and keep it down and type 0160) vola there's a empty invisible archive =) hehe

  • Yeah, Vishal, you've still got it!

  • Out of the topic question:

    How I can make my laptop screen dimmer than dim without using any 3rd party application? Right now I'm using Dimmer v1.0 and it works quite nicely but I want a application free solution.

    Sorry for posting this question to this topic.

  • VG

    ^^ Did you already set the brightness to minimum using Power Options?

  • Yeap, I did.

  • Uh oh, you are uninstalling Classic Shell?

  • VG

    ^^ lol. Since I love Classic Shell, that was the first thing which caught my attention while uninstalling something to take screenshot of the dialog box. :D

  • My display brightness is set to lowest state but still it's too bright for my eyes though I have a matt screen.... maybe somekind of registry solution or something?

  • Nice and very useful trick VG

  • not working on win7 utimate x64 ,i've tried to del a folder,when dialog box open i press CLTR+C and paste to notepad but get nothing!

  • VG

    ^^ As mentioned earlier, it doesnt work for a few dialog box and delete confirmation dialog is one of them.

  • @TheAslan: Search Google for a program called F.lux.If you decide to use it make sure you configure it for your location.

  • I just said that I want application free solution!

  • VG

    ^^ Windows only allows to decrease the brightness level using Power Options. If you want to decrease more, you'll need to take help of 3rd party software. :)

  • Cool trick
    Helped me a lot!

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