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Random Talk on Random Thoughts

Using Xclip

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I always use commands for different tasks. Then I need a command line utility for copying command output into clipboard so as to quickly finish typing the command. Luckily, it’s very easy to install xclip on Ubuntu. I believe that on other GNU/Linux distributions, the installation won’t be too difficult.

Although it’s convenient to use xclip, I experienced two problems while using it on *nix GUI.

Problem 1

Suppose that you want to capture the output of a command, and pipe it to another command. However, the output often consists of a trailing newline character. As a result, I sometimes executed commands incorrectly and carelessly. How can one get rid of it?

Problem 2

Before this Wednesday morning, I didn’t know how to use xclip with other options. Therefore, when I wanted to retrieve to contents in the clipboard, the only two ways that I knew were to use the utility with the -o flag to obtain the output, and to use the middle click of the mouse. However, from problem one, I couldn’t chop off the newline character at the end of the clipped text. Moreover, if one only needs part of the text in the clipboard, it would be quite troublesome to pipe the output of xclip -o to other text editing commands like sed and awk. If one can use a keyboard shortcut for pasting text in a terminal emulator like Gnome Terminal (e.g. <C-v>), then one can also use <C-b>, <Alt-d>, etc. For example, if there’re three words in the clipboard, and I only need the last two, then combining the use of these keyboard shortcuts will enable one to type strings quickly and accurately. Is there such a keyboard shortcut?


I found two Stack Overflow quesitons extremely useful for improving my skills in xclip.

  1. Bash: Strip trailing linebreak from output
  2. Pipe to/from Clipboard