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Clipboard manager with advanced features
C++ Objective-C++ Shell CMake QMake Inno Setup Other

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CopyQ is clipboard manager with searchable and editable history.

To build and install CopyQ on your system read INSTALL file.

To start CopyQ run copyq command without parameters. The application main window is accessible by clicking on system tray icon or running copyq toggle.

To exit the application middle-click on the tray icon or press Ctrl-Q keys in the application window.

For more info go to


To compile and run the application you'll need the latest stable version of Qt library (there is also experimental support for Qt 5).

Optional dependency is QtWebKit which enables the application to use advanced HTML rendering and fetching remote images and other data.

Additionally X11 requires XFixes extension to be installed (fixes some clipboard issues).

Keyboard navigation

  • PgDown/PgUp, Home/End, Up/Down

    item list navigation

  • Left, Right, Tab, Shift+Tab

    tab navigation

  • Ctrl+Up, Ctrl+Down

    move selected items

  • Ctrl+Left, Ctrl+Right

    cycle through item formats

  • Escape

    hide window

  • Ctrl+Q


  • F2

    edit selected items (in place)

  • Ctrl+E

    edit items in external editor

  • F5

    open action dialog for selected items

  • Delete

    delete selected items

  • Enter

    put current item into clipboard

  • F1

    show help

Type any number to select item with given id.

Type a regular expressions (case-insensitive) to search/filter items.

Command Line Interface

Usage: copyq [COMMAND]

Starts server if no command is specified.
    show                     Show main window.
    hide                     Hide main window.
    toggle                   Show or hide main window.
    menu                     Open context menu.
    exit                     Exit server.

    clipboard [MIME]         Print clipboard content.
    selection [MIME]         Print X11 selection content.

    length, count, size      Print number of items in history.
    select [ROW=0]           Move item in the row to clipboard.
    add TEXT...              Add text into clipboard.
    insert ROW TEXT          Insert text into given row.
    remove [ROWS=0...]       Remove items in given rows.
    edit [ROWS...]           Edit items or edit new one.
                             Value -1 is for current text in clipboard.

    read [MIME|ROW]...       Print raw data of clipboard or item in row.
    write [ROW=0] MIME DATA  Write raw data to given row.
    separator SEPARATOR      Set separator for items on output.

    action [ROWS=0...]       Show action dialog.
    action [ROWS=0...] [PROGRAM [SEPARATOR=\n]]
      Run PROGRAM on item text in the rows.
      Use %1 in PROGRAM to pass text as argument.
    popup TITLE MESSAGE [TIME=8000]
      Show tray popup message for TIME milliseconds.

    tab                      List available tab names.
    tab NAME [COMMAND]       Run command on tab with given name.
                             Tab is created if it doesn't exist.
                             Default is the first tab.
    removetab NAME           Remove tab.
    renametab NAME NEW_NAME  Rename tab.

    exporttab FILE_NAME      Export items to file.
    importtab FILE_NAME      Import items from file.

    config                   List all options.
    config OPTION            Get option value.
    config OPTION VALUE      Set option value.

    eval, -e [SCRIPT]        Evaluate ECMAScript program.
    help, -h, --help [COMMAND]
      Print help for COMMAND or all commands.
    version, -v, --version
      Print version of program and libraries.

  - Changing first item (ROW is 0) will also change clipboard.
  - Use dash argument (-) to read data from stdandard input.
  - Use double-dash argument (--) to read all following arguments without
    expanding escape sequences (i.e. \n, \t and others).
  - Use ? for MIME to print available MIME types (default is "text/plain").

Usage Examples

CopyQ must be running to be able to issue commands using command line. Most of the examples should work on GNU/Linux with the correct applications installed.

To start CopyQ run following command:


Insert text to the clipboard:

copyq add "print([x**2 for x in range(10)])"

and process it in Python interpreter:

copyq action python

The result will be copied to the clipboard.

For each file in given directory create new item:

copyq action "ls /"

Load file content into clipboard:

copyq action "cat file.txt" ""

Note: Last argument is separator - empty string means "create single item".

Process an item with the Python interpreter and redirect the standard output to the standard error output using sh command (shell):

copyq add 'print("Hello world!")'
copyq action 'sh -c "python 1>&2"'
copyq read 0

Note: Standard error output will be show as tray icon tooltip.

To concatenate items select them items in CopyQ window and press F5 key, type cat into command input field, check Output into item(s) check box, clear Separator field and press Ok button to submit.

Monitor file (or pipe) $HOME/clipboard and load every new line into clipboard:

copyq action "tail -f $HOME/clipboard"

This process can be killed by right clicking on tray icon and selecting the process from context menu.

Find files in current directory:

copyq action "find \"$PWD\" -iname '*.cpp'"

Open CopyQ window and select one of the found files from history. Open action dialog (press F5 key) and in the command field type your favorite text editor (e.g. gedit %1; %1 will be replaced with temporary filename containing selected text).

To copy an image to clipboard use for example:

copyq write image/gif - < image.gif
copyq write image/svg - < image.svg
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