Clipboard managers

remembering 2 things at once

Various of these raise security questions, i.e. in CopyQ there is no way of marking passwords on the clipboard as secret unless they come from certain password apps, and that is quite tedious, and presumes you aren’t using a command-line password manager, or a browser plugin.

Clipboard history


App launcher Zazu offers a clipboard manager.


Cross-platform clipboard manager CopyQ (Cross-platform means desktop, not available for smartphones) offers syncing via file on disk. If you have secure sync this might be attractive to you. It even provides a circuitous way of getting data to smartphones, maybe.


The Kubuntu one. Works ok.

Note google cloud messaging is deprecated which is possibly an indication of undermaintenance.

Supports everything apart from iOS.


A sometimes-recommended Windows one I haven’t used is clipman.

Built-in windows clipbaord manager

Windows 10 includes clipboard history per default.


Mentioned elsewhere but collated here: the tips for using shell scripting to interact with the clipboard!


cat foo | pbcopy
pbpaste > whatever.txt


Easy …and yet! Needlessly doesn’t do what you expect per default!

The command is xclip, which per default copies your data into pneumatic pipes, or somewhere else I do not know how to retrieve it from because I am not a 7ee+ hack0rz. There is some whole parallel copy-paste system that I do no care about and which is not in my muscle memory and I will therefore never use.

Anyway, the argument I need to actually use what to work with the clipboard content for normal apps accessed using the copy paste conventions of the non-X11 world, is -selection clipboard. See stackexchange.

cat foo.txt | xclip -selection clipboard
xclip --out -selection clipboard > file.txt

I can never remember this half way through a pipe when I need it, so I put this in my bash profile.

alias pbcopy "xclip -selection clipboard"
alias pbpaste "xclip --out -selection clipboard"

This is easier in principle in 'fish`, which automagically copies using a decent default command for your particular OS via

cat foo.txt | fish_clipboard_copy

Shared clipboards

You want to copy and paste between devices? If you are only using Apple devices this is easy via “Hand off”. Microsoft offers a Windows sync service. Cross platform though… A couple of the above options, e.g. CopyQ offer sync.comfy

Share clipboard

Share clipboard runs a custom local network service to share across desktop and mobile platforms. It’s not clear to me how secure this is, since there is no apparent encryption from threading the docs. Are you cool with anyone on your local network reading any data you send? At least it’s probably not transmitting your passwords across the whole internet.

Ever wondering if it’s possible to copy text from an iOS device and paste it to another iOS device? Or even copy text back and forth between your iOS device and your PC/Mac/Linux computer? Yes, you got the answer, Share Clipboard makes all these possible!

There is a JS/node version for Windows/linux plus apps for macOS/iOS.


pastebin, the public sharing thing also has a command line. handy if what you are copying is not private.



Copy text from your PC to your Smart device’s clipboard, and Paste text from your device’s clipboard to your PC, instantly! All you need is the PC application, and the Android application on your device. No sign-in required!

Text can be copied over any network. As long as your PC and Smart device both have internet connections, you’re good to go. Alt-C uses Google Cloud Messaging with SSL connections to copy the text.