How to Use KDE’s Clipboard and Klipper App

The clipboard is one of the oldest and most important features of desktop computing. With it, you can temporarily store pictures, images, and even file information in the system’s memory, and then copy or move that information to a new destination.

KDE has an advanced clipboard system, largely due to a small program called Klipper, which can store more than one piece of data. KDE also has the ability to copy and move files with copying and pasting, and automatic creation of files using clipboard data.

1. The Basics

KDE’s clipboard allows for cross-application copying, cutting, and pasting. For example, you can copy a URL in Konqueror and easily paste it into KWord. Furthermore, GTK and Gnome applications all copy, cut, and paste seamlessly with KDE applications.

Dolphin file manager, plasma’s Folder View widget, and any other KDE application that can manage files, all share the same copy/cut/paste features. If you want to copy a file from one folder to another, click Edit in the menu and then click Copy. To complete the operation, navigate to the destination folder, click Edit, and click Paste. The same technique works for moving files using the “Cut” feature.

KDE accepts the same universal shortcuts that nearly all desktop environments use: Ctrl+C for copying, Ctrl+X for cutting, and Ctrl+V for pasting. These work across all applications, with the exception of Konsole, which uses those shortcuts for standard command-line tasks. Instead Konsole uses Ctrl+Shift+C and Ctrl+Shift+V for copy and paste.

Another quick way to copy and paste in Konsole is to select text in the window and then press in on the mouse wheel (middle click). It will automatically paste whatever you have selected. This will also save that text in the clipboard so that you can paste it into other applications using a middle click.

2. Advanced

Klipper is a KDE tool that saves clipboard history. To start Klipper, press Alt+F2 and type “Klipper” (without the quote). It will load the program directly to your system tray, display an icon that looks like a clipboard with a piece of paper in front of it.

Klipper menu

You can activate the Klipper menu with either a left or a right click (or by pressing Ctrl+Alt+V). The top portion of the menu will show the klipper history, which shows 10 entries by default. The last 10 pieces of text that you have copied into your clipboard will be shown. To paste any one of them, click on the one you want and then paste using your normal method (i.e. Ctrl+V).

Clipboard Actions

With Clipboard Actions enabled, Klipper will attempt to detect what you want to do with selected or copied text. For example, if you select a URL, Klipper will recognize it as a web address and offer you a menu of options, the first of which will most likely be to open your default web browser.

To toggle Clipboard Actions, press Ctrl+Alt+X. Moreover, if you have a particular string of text in your clipboard that responds to Clipboard Actions, you can press Ctrl+Alt+R at any time to manually

File Creation

When working with lots of text data, it is sometimes helpful to create text files to store the information you gather. For example, a student writing a paper might need to collect several citations. The normal procedure to create a text file for a quote or excerpt to be cited would be to copy the text in a web browser, create a new file in a folder, name the file, open the file, paste the text, and finally save the new file.

Clipboard file creation

KDE offers a shorter solution. All you have to do is copy the text and then paste it directly into Dolphin. As soon as you attempt to paste the text, Dolphin will popup a window asking you to name the clipboard contents you are pasting. Give it a name, and a text file by that name will be automatically created.

As a writer, I know I would be lost without a usable desktop clipboard. Many people use the feature every day without even thinking about it. Klipper adds another dimension to the clipboard, helping users to be more efficient and better organized.