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Collect clipboard entries according to regex rules in Emacs.


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When collecting information using copy/paste, it would be useful if one could stay at one place to copy things and later insert them all at once at another place. Emacs has append-next-kill but it only works inside Emacs and it only applies to the very next command. Further it would be great if Emacs could detect specific clipboard entries and transform them to a different format automatically. clipboard-collector provides you with those features (tested only for Linux).

You can use it to simply collect multiple entries by binding clipboard-collector-mode to a key:

(global-set-key (kbd "C-M-w") 'clipboard-collector-mode)

Once called the clipboard is observed and any text that is copied/killed gets collected. To finish use C-c C-c in any buffer to insert the collected items separated by newlines.

By default a timer is used to poll the clipboard for changes, you can use gpastel to avoid polling the clipboard (using gpastel-update-hook). This will be done automatically if gpastel-mode is found to be active.

If you want to have specific rules for which items get collected and maybe transform them before collecting them you can create you own commands using clipboard-collector-create macro.

Here is an example for collecting contact information from a website for org capture (contact info gets transformed to be used as org property drawer items).

(clipboard-collector-create cc-capture-rss
 (("^http.*"                           ":TWITTER: %s")
  ("^http.*"                            ":REDDIT: %s")
  ("^http.*"                            ":GITHUB: %s")
  ("^http.*"                           ":YOUTUBE: %s")
  ("^http.*stack.*.com"                           ":STACK: %s")
  ("^https?://.*\\.[a-z]+/?\\'"                   ":DOMAIN: %s")
  ("^.*@.*"                                       ":MAIL: %s")
  ("^http.*\\(dotemacs\\|.?emacs\\|.?emacs.d\\)"  ":DOTEMACS: %s"))
 (lambda (items)
   (clipboard-collector-finish-default items)

This creates a command called cc-capture-rss. When called the clipboard is observed and any changes which match one of the regexes will be collected. The clipboard contents are transformed via the format string provided above.

When done collecting, you can press C-c C-c to call the finalize function (in the above example it would inserts the collected items separated by newlines and finish org-capture).

Rules can also contain a function which gets applied to the clipboard entry before the format string is applied. You can use match-data of your matching regex in that function, too:

(clipboard-collector-create cc-url
 (("https?://\\([^/]*\\)"  "Url: %s" (lambda (item) (match-string 1 item)))))

If you just want to apply a matched group to the format string you can provide the match group number instead of using a function, too:


Related projects

There is clipmon but I wanted something more flexible and I wanted it to work for text copied in and outside of Emacs.


See the contribute file.


Collect clipboard entries according to regex rules in Emacs.







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