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In Windows sometimes I get an error dialog with long text. Is there a tool which can copy the displayed text?

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5 Answers 5

Try just hitting Ctrl+C while the dialog has focus. If it is a normal modal Windows message box, it will put the text in the dialog in the clipboard for you.

The copied text should look something like this:

Window Title
The dialog box main text
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"If" is the important word here! Windows 7 is better than Vista is better than XP for this it seems. –  outsideblasts Apr 12 '10 at 21:13

If you have OneNote, you can take a screen clip, then right-click the pasted image (in OneNote) and select "Copy Text from Picture".

I usually have success with it. Sometimes I need to do a little editing though.

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A bit of an old question, but here is a different solution:

For windows that don't natively support Ctrl+C, there are several utilities which will poke around all current processes and let you pull the text from standard window objects (listboxes, comboboxes, etc.)

I used one years ago that worked well, but can't remember the name of it. Here's another I just found by doing a quick search:


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For dialogs and controls that don’t have a copy ability built-in, I prefer to use WinSpy++ to capture the raw text. (You simply use the picker-tool to select the window/control in question and then copy the text from the caption field.)

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This page lists 7 programs for that (in case Ctrl+C doesn't work). ShoWin 2.0 is by McAfee and works fine though i wish its preview was a little bigger.

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