When you copy a piece of text or an image in your computer, the content is saved to the clipboard. From there, you can then paste it to another destination. If you want to store more than one text snippet for reuse, though, or would like more control over how that’s done, you’ll have to use a third-party application known as a clipboard manager. And CopyQ is one of the best.
With CopyQ, you can copy multiple snippets to an extended Clipboard and edit them to update their contents or tag them to organize them! Let’s see how to do that to modernize your currently mundane and feature-less clipboard.
CopyQ is available on Windows, OS X, and Linux. Download it from its page at SourceForge and install it like any other app available in executable format.
On Linux, find CopyQ in your distribution’s software center by searching for “copyq.”
If you prefer the terminal and are on a Debian-compatible distribution like Ubuntu, you can bring it on board with:
If you’re on Arch, install it with the following command:
It’s worth mentioning, though, that it’s also available as a Flatpak if you’re a fan of the format. On Flatpak-enabled systems, you can install it with:
After installing, you can run it from the apps menu or by using:
Managing Your Clipboard with CopyQ
After the installation, locate CopyQ in your Applications menu and run it. You will see its icon, with a pair of scissors, appear in your tray. Click on it to access the contents of your clipboard listed at the top of the menu.
CopyQ enables you to have multiple entries in your keyboard, selectable from this pop-up window. Just click on any entry at the top of the menu to replace your existing clipboard contents with it. Then, paste anywhere like you would with the single-entry default clipboard.
Configuration and Shortcuts
Start by paying a visit to its Preferences, accessible from the same pop-up menu. Let’s see some of its options worth tweaking.
Start by selecting the History group of options from the menu on the left of the window. There, expand the number of clipboard entries CopyQ can hold by increasing the number next to “Maximum number of items in history.” Initially, it’s set at 200 entries, but you can use any number you want. Yes, CopyQ can even juggle thousands of entries.
Next, move to the Tray group and increase the “Number of items in tray menu” from its initial value of five to at least double that. This way, you’ll have quick access to the last ten things you copied to your clipboard.
To avoid moving your mouse to the tray whenever you want to use CopyQ, choose the Shortcuts group of options. In the tab of Global shortcuts, add a shortcut to the entry “Show/hide main window.” After that, whenever you press this shortcut, CopyQ’s main window will appear. From there, you can manage CopyQ’s extended clipboard contents or choose and paste an entry. We assigned the Win + C shortcut, close enough to the default shortcut for copying something to the clipboard (Ctrl + C) and, thus, easy to remember.
Advanced Clipboard Management
Use the shortcut you’ve assigned in the previous step to have CopyQ’s main window appear.
You can see everything you’ve copied to your clipboard in this window and use the mouse scroll wheel or the cursor keys on the keyboard to move up and down the list. To move an entry’s contents back to the clipboard, click on it or press Enter on the keyboard. To delete any unwanted entries, highlight them and press Delete on the keyboard or right-click on them and choose that option from the menu that appears.
What’s even better, though, is that you can edit any entry directly in CopyQ. By right-clicking on an entry and choosing Edit or highlighting it and pressing F2 on the keyboard, a minimal text editor appears, enabling you to tweak the copied text as you desire. Then, press the first icon in its toolbar to save any changes to the entry.
Since CopyQ can host thousands of entries, it will be hard locating a specific one after a while. To assist with that, you can use tags to categorize them. Right-click on an entry, choose “Add a Tag,” and then enter your tag in the small window that pops up.
Tags are useful, but if CopyQ’s list contains hundreds of entries, it’s better to turn to its powerful search function to locate a specific string of text. You can either choose Find from the Edit drop-down menu or press Ctrl + G on your keyboard. Type what you want to find in the search field, and CopyQ will locate and highlight that string of text in the entries.
What we saw only scratches the surface of what CopyQ can do. You can introduce more shortcuts to the mix to quickly access entries in its list, edit them with external text editors, run commands on them, and so on. At the very least, it’s worth checking out the rest of the available shortcuts to see how you can sort the entries in CopyQ’s list, create new blank entries as notes, etc.
Do you find clipboard managers useful? Are you already using CopyQ or maybe another clipboard manager? For Windows, learn how you can use the clipboard history or simply clear it to get rid of any confidential data.