Easy methods to use clipboard managers on Linux

You most likely copy and paste snippets of textual content in your laptop a number of instances a day with out ever fascinated by it. You could take it with no consideration, as a result of it is older than Unix, with its earliest implementation via macros or handbook repetition of line-editor instructions. Whereas the method has largely remained the identical over the previous 15 years, there is a facet to repeat and paste that many customers by no means see: the clipboard supervisor.

The clipboard is a (normally invisible) place in reminiscence that holds the contents of no matter you will have copied or minimize. It’s usually international, which means it has entry to no matter you copy or minimize throughout your complete working system, no matter what software you might be utilizing. In truth, it is as a result of the clipboard is international that you may copy from one software to a different, despite the fact that these functions are most likely developed by totally different builders.

Way back, early Unix desktops launched the idea of a

clipboard supervisor

: a GUI software meant to trace the historical past of what you copy and minimize so that you could paste not solely the newest merchandise however any of the newest 10 or 20 stuff you copied.

In different phrases, think about that in a session along with your mundane desktop, you copy the phrase “zero” from a textual content file after which the phrase “one.” Usually, the second merchandise (the phrase “one”) replaces no matter is in your clipboard (the phrase “zero”), so if you paste, you see the second merchandise (the phrase “one”). That is how regular desktop copy and paste works, and it appears to be ok for many customers.

With a clipboard supervisor, although, you’ll be able to copy “zero” after which “one” after which “penguin” after which anything you want, and all of them are saved in your clipboard supervisor’s historical past.

That is how the Linux desktop works and has labored since even earlier than the times of CDE. It might sound unusual at first, however when you get used to it, you discover it laborious to reside with out. Here is find out how to allow a clipboard supervisor in your desktop.


In the event you’re utilizing the KDE Plasma Desktop, you have already got a clipboard supervisor enabled. It is referred to as Klipper, and it is absolutely purposeful by default in any KDE set up.

KDE is legendary for being configurable, so it is no shock that you may configure Klipper to fit your distinctive workflow. It is simple to maneuver your mouse over to the Klipper icon within the KDE system tray, click on it, and choose the content material you wish to paste. Nonetheless, when you’re searching for larger effectivity, you’ll be able to configure Klipper to open with a customized keyboard shortcut. It’s also possible to configure customized actions which can be triggered if you copy particular content material sorts.

As normal with KDE, the clipboard supervisor seems easy however is definitely a sturdy, scriptable, and customizable suite of helpful utilities. Because of the modularity of Plasma widgets (“plasmoids,” as they was referred to as), Klipper can run as a system tray ingredient in any desktop or window supervisor, reminiscent of Fluxbox, LXQT, i3, and so forth.


The GNOME desktop tends to favor minimalism, and one of many issues it swept beneath the rug is the clipboard supervisor. Fortunately, a clipboard supervisor referred to as Clipboard Indicator is offered as a GNOME extension.

You possibly can entry GNOME extensions in two methods: via a Firefox browser add-on or the GNOME Tweaks bundle. Because you normally discover extensions on the web, it makes loads of sense to make use of an web browser to assist handle them. (In the event you use one other open supply browser than Firefox, see beneath for data on GNOME Tweaks).

Firefox GNOME extensions

To allow GNOME extension administration in Firefox, click on the hamburger menu within the upper-right nook of Firefox and choose Add-ons. Within the Add-ons tab, click on on the Extensions class within the left column. Within the Search on addons.mozilla.org subject, enter gnome. Discover the add-on referred to as GNOME Shell integration and click on to navigate to its web page.

Within the GNOME Shell integration web page that opens, click on the Add to Firefox button after which comply with the prompts to put in the add-on.

As soon as the add-on is put in, it seems in your Firefox toolbar within the form of a footprint.

Putting in the clipboard supervisor

To handle GNOME extensions, click on the footprint icon in your Firefox toolbar. This navigates to extensions.gnome.org and shows a listing of GNOME extensions accessible for set up. Seek for clipboard within the textual content subject on the web page to filter the checklist, after which search for the Clipboard Indicator extension. Click on on the title to open its web page.

The Clipboard Indicator web page includes a hyperlink to its supply code, a short description of what it does, and a toggle to activate or deactivate it in your desktop.

Click on the toggle button to activate it.

Observe the prompts to permit Firefox to obtain the GNOME extension to the suitable location in your laborious drive (they’re saved in ~/.native/share/gnome-shell/extensions/, for the report) and activate the extension. As quickly because it’s downloaded and activated, you will have a brand new icon within the top-right of your GNOME desktop.

Attempt copying some textual content from Firefox, then click on the clipboard icon to see it in your clipboard historical past.

If you need your clipboard supervisor to cease recording the historical past of your copy-and-paste actions at any time, click on the clipboard icon and choose Personal mode.

You possibly can configure your clipboard supervisor with the Settings choice. Obtainable choices embody whether or not to show a notification when one thing is copied (you most likely need this off when you copy and paste usually), how far again you need your historical past to go earlier than objects are changed with new ones, and what keyboard shortcuts you employ to show and transfer via objects within the menu.

GNOME Tweaks

The GNOME Tweaks software is casually often called “the configuration panel that GNOME forgot to incorporate.” It has many highly effective options and selections, however for this text, the one one which issues is the flexibility to activate or deactivate extensions. You possibly can set up GNOME Tweaks via your bundle supervisor or in your software program installer of alternative.

For instance, on Fedora, CentOS, or RHEL:

$ sudo dnf set up gnome-tweaks

On Ubuntu or Debian, use apt set up as a substitute.

Earlier than you’ll be able to activate an extension, it’s essential to set up it.

The quickest method to set up the Clipboard Indicator extension is to make use of Git to clone the repository into your ~/.native/share/gnome-shell/extensions listing with:

$ git clone

Now the extension is put in, so click on Actions within the top-left of your GNOME desktop and launch GNOME Tweaks.

In GNOME Tweaks, click on on Extensions within the left column.

Discover the Clipboard Indicator within the checklist of extensions, and click on the toggle button to activate it.

Grasp the ability of clipboard administration

Clipboard managers are highly effective comfort instruments, and so they’re laborious to surrender if you’re utilizing a non-Linux desktop. Fortunately, builders for different working methods have borrowed the concept of clipboard managers, so you’ll be able to usually discover comparable performance for any OS you occur to be on.

Get began utilizing a clipboard supervisor on Linux in the present day. You will not be sorry!


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