6 Tools to Manage Your Linux Clipboard

Michael Tunnell 03-11-2015

Have you ever copied something important to your clipboard but became distracted? Perhaps this led you to copying something else, thereby erasing the original content? I used to do that more times than I’d like to admit but thanks to a clipboard manager, I have saved myself so much frustration.


Clipboard Managers will save you a ton of hassle and headaches – you won’t want to go another day without using one. The best part about them is that they are equally good at the fundamental function, so it doesn’t even matter which manager you choose, as they will all help. I’ve tested six clipboard management tools – these are the ones that are worth looking at to Turbo Charge your clipboard.


What is a Clipboard Manager and Why Should I Use One?

Clipboard Managers are tools that run in the background of your system and keep a history of the content that you have saved to your clipboard. This means that never again will you accidentally overwrite content in your clipboard and never again will you lose something you just copied by closing an application.

They are great tools because you no longer have to worry about overwriting the content in the clipboard, or losing it by closing an app. Perhaps, like me, you use a clipboard manager while programming or writing. I rely quite a lot on the ability to copy many things in succession and to then use the history to quickly select the content I want at any given time. If you’ve never tried a clipboard manager, then you owe it to yourself to try one out.

(If you’re still not convinced, here are 5 Reasons You Need a Clipboard Manager Hold That Thought: 5 Reasons You Need A Clipboard Manager When you think about it, copy paste is kind of weird. You copy stuff, but there's no way to see it. And if you copy over what you had, it's gone – forever. Read More .)


Clipman – Clipboard Manager for XFCE

Clipman is a lightweight clipboard plugin option for users of XFCE based XFCE: Your Lightweight, Speedy, Fully-Fledged Linux Desktop As far as Linux goes, customization is king. Not only that, but the customization options are so great it might make your head spin. I have previously mentioned the differences between the major desktop environments... Read More distros, like Xubuntu. Clipman offers the fundamentals of clipboard management such as History, Shortcuts, Ignoring App Closure Signals, and it also comes with a lot of other cool features as well.


Clipman features include the ability to control the size of the history (default 10) and the ability to copy just by selecting content bypassing Ctrl+C. Meanwhile, Clipboard Actions allow the execution of tasks on specific text selections by matching them against regular expressions. Clipman also offers Tweaks which are workflow settings such as controlling where the history window displays and whether or not pasting occurs immediately upon selection of an entry.

If you are an XFCE user and you haven’t tried Clipman in your workflow then I highly recommend you give it a try because it’s going to vastly improve your computing experience.


CopyQ – Advanced Clipboard Management

CopyQ is an advanced clipboard manager based on Qt and I’m probably not doing it justice just by calling it “advanced”. CopyQ offers a lot of unique features including Tabbed Management, Drag’N’Drop, Content Type Organization (Images, Text, etc), and even an internal editor with HTML rendering support. CopyQ even has some power user features by way of Vim-like editing Interactive Vim Tutorial: Familiarize Yourself With Vim The Easy Way Read More , an advanced command-line interface and scripting.


CopyQ is available to Linux, Windows and OSX users so if you dual-boot then this might be a great choice due to the cross platform experience it provides. CopyQ has an alternative tree based view for the users out there that don’t like the tabbed interface. If the appearance isn’t to your liking either, CopyQ claims that the interface is fully customizable and I can confirm that so far in my testing.

If you’ve never used a clipboard manager before, CopyQ might seem a bit overwhelming, but if you give it some time to get used to the workflow it offers valuable features worth trying.


Diodon – Clipboard Manager with Unity Lens

Diodon, the genus name of the Porcupinefish, is a clipboard manager designed to have the best integration with the GNOME & Unity desktops. Diodon is a lightweight clipboard manager focused on fundamentals and desktop integration, and the latter is quite impressive with features like Unity Lens, which allows you to manage your clipboard directly from the Unity Dash Ubuntu: A Beginner's Guide Curious about Ubuntu, but not sure where to start? Everything you could possibly need to get started with the latest version of Ubuntu is right here, written in easy-to-understand, plain English. Read More  – very useful!


Diodon provides all of the essential features such as Clipboard History with history size, Quick Access Shortcuts, and adding Images to the history, but it is the Desktop Integrations that I think are what set Diodon apart from the rest.

Quick Note: as of version 1.1.0 of Diodon, the clipboard storage has changed from a static XML file to utilizing Zeitgeist, an oft-misunderstood library for Linux users (the reasons for which are explained by the Diodon developer).


GPaste – Clipboard Manager for GNOME

GPaste is a great clipboard manager that works in a variety of desktop environments, but is possibly the best manager for those of you using a GNOME 3 based distro, like Ubuntu GNOME. GPaste has all of the fundamental features you’d expect like History management, Copying Images, Quick Access Shortcuts, but the integration with GNOME Shell is what sets it apart from the other options.


GPaste is also focused on presentation, similar to how the GNOME project team is with the GNOME Shell, so GPaste looks fantastic in GNOME. GPaste offers history customizations for those who want to minimize the screen real estate used, and comes with a GTK+3 Graphical User Interface (GUI).

Klipper – Clipboard Manager for KDE Plasma

Klipper is the clipboard manager for the KDE Plasma desktop. Klipper offers all of the fundamentals like History management, Quick Access Shortcuts, Image Support and etc., but Klipper also offers some advanced and power user features such as Clipboard Actions.


Klipper’s Clipboard Actions are a great time saver in the sense that you can open a URL directly with whatever browser you want, automatically compose an email with the selected content, and much more. You are only limited by your imagination as Klipper allows you to create your own custom actions.


Parcellite is a lightweight GTK+2 based clipboard manager. Parcellite developers refer to it as “a stripped down, basic-features-only clipboard manager with a small memory footprint for those who like simplicity”.

Parcellite has all of the fundamentals such as History management, Ignoring App Closure Signals, and Quick Access Shortcuts but I’d say the claim of “stripped down” is not quite accurate because it does have a lot of great features. Parcellite includes features such as Auto-Pasting of content upon selection, Editing entry content, and Clipboard Actions, including executing commands based on the contents of the clipboard.


I think Parcellite is a great option in general regardless of desktop environment but possibly the best option for those who are looking for the most lightweight clipboard manager available.

Turbo Charge Your Clipboard with KDE Connect!

Clipboard Managers are great but Turbo Charging them with KDE Connect is Awesome! KDE Connect is an application/service for connecting your Linux desktop with your mobile device, Android in my case. The more I use KDE Connect the more I love it, especially because of this Turbo Charging of my clipboard.


KDE Connect offers Clipboard Synchronization which synchronizes your clipboard across all paired & connected devices instantaneously. I call this “Turbo Charging your clipboard” because while Clipboard Managers are cool, synchronizing all of your clipboard managers together is freaking Awesome!

Are You Mastering Your Clipboard?

Are you now, or ready to start, mastering your clipboard? Which clipboard manager has interested you enough to try it out? Are you going to Turbo Charge your clipboard with KDE Connect? Tell us in the comments box.

Related topics: Clipboard, KDE, Linux.

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  1. Tuxworx
    May 2, 2016 at 6:14 pm

    I'm very surprised that you don't mention ClipIt, since it has a valuable option that, so far as I can tell from your article or otherwise know, none of the 6 you describe has: -- "static" history, i.e. persistent history that survives logout or shutdown. I use ClipIt's static history to store my email addresses, phone numbers, favorite complicated command line entries, etc. Your article refers to "history management" a number of times, but I have to assume that none of the 6 tools described in the article provides an optional way to store persistent history that survives from session to session; my personal experience with Clipman and Parcellite is that they don't.

    • Michael Tunnell
      November 17, 2016 at 2:26 am

      I didn't address ClipIt because there hadn't been a release in years (now 4 years) and the official website for the project is dead with redirects to an insecure https website that simply says "nothing to see here (yet), move along".

      I can not in good conscience recommend an application with issues like that resulting in confusion for many readers.

      • Heimen Stoffels
        February 15, 2017 at 11:23 am

        Kinda strange that you don't want to write about ClipIt (despite it working fine on modern distros like Solus and Arch) because it hasn't had a release in so long, yet you do mention Glipper which had its latest release in 2012...

        • Michael Tunnell
          February 15, 2017 at 10:37 pm

          As I previously stated it was not solely due to lack of updates but also due to the fact that the website is broken with an insecure message and says "nothing to see . . . ".

          Glipper does not have both of these issues.

          Thanks for reading, have a nice day.

  2. fireboy
    December 14, 2015 at 12:26 am

    Thx for pointing out all the different features, helps in trying to select a clipbrd copy program!