Enterprise Software

Get a handy multi-item clipboard with Glipper

Vincent Danen introduces a handy productivity application called Glipper. This clipboard manager allows you to store and re-use clipboard contents and save your clipboard history across sessions.

One thing I really enjoy about OS X are all the little productivity applications that exist. For example, there are a number of clipboard managers for OS X that allow you to retain a clipboard history of multiple items with easy access and navigation of the clipboard history.

Productivity tools like this also exist for some Linux desktop managers, but they don't receive a high enough profile for all the assistance they can provide on a day-to-day basis. These productivity timesavers are extremely useful. One such productivity tool is Glipper, a clipboard manager for GNOME.

Glipper can be downloaded and compiled, but distributions that provide GNOME should also provide Glipper as well. On Fedora, to install it, use:

# yum install glipper

To enable Glipper, right-click on the main panel where your other applets live and select Add To Panel. Scroll through the list of available applets until you find the Glipper applet and select Add once you have highlighted it. You will now see a clipboard icon with a "G" on it in the panel.

Right-click the icon to get to Glipper's preferences. From here, you can determine the number of items to store in the clipboard history, select which clipboards should be handled by Glipper, create the hotkey key combination, and decide whether or not to save the history across sessions.

There are two clipboards that Glipper can handle: the copy clipboard used with CTRL-C (copy) and CTRL-V (paste), and the select clipboard which is activated with the middle mouse button.

Now that Glipper has been configured, you can use the clipboard as usual. If you right-click on the Glipper icon, you will see a list of all the past items you have copied to your clipboard. Selecting any one of these items will pop it to the top of the "stack", meaning that your next paste will be of the clipboard entry you selected. You can also use the hotkey combination to pop up the Glipper clipboard content window and use the keyboard to scroll the list. Press enter to select the item, then paste it into your active application.

If you use KDE, there is a similar tool called Klipper. Klipper is a little more powerful than Glipper in that it does all that Glipper does, but also allows you to perform certain actions on clipboard contents. With Klipper, you can select an item from the clipboard history, press another key, and immediately perform an action on it, such as opening a browser on a URL in the clipboard or e-mail the contents of the clipboard in an application.

The ability to store and re-use clipboard contents is an immense timesaver. Every user can benefit from using Glipper or Klipper. And the ability to retain clipboard history across sessions is invaluable.


Vincent Danen works on the Red Hat Security Response Team and lives in Canada. He has been writing about and developing on Linux for over 10 years and is a veteran Mac user.

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