Clipboard Managers for Ubuntu as of April 2019

I have been researching clipboard managers for Linux, (Ubuntu with Gnome,) and I am recording my findings here for the benefit of others.


Available in https://www.imagination-land.org/tags/GPaste.html As of the time of writing this, the latest version is 3.32.0 (March 12, 2019) but this version is not available via apt.  The latest version available via apt is 3.28.0-3, I guess it will have to do.

Decent looking user interface, but wasteful in terms of screen real estate, clunky, and actually annoying due to buttons whose icons are unintuitive and at the same time do not offer tooltips, so you have no way of knowing what the button does unless you click it.  (And it also has buttons that do not seem to do anything, so you will never know.)

Also quite buggy.  Supports a bunch of hotkeys for various arcane capabilities, but the mechanism for changing them does not work.

Also, badly designed: in the dialog that pops up when you invoke the history, the focus is not on the previously copied item, (which is what you want in the vast majority of cases,) the focus is on a stupid search box.

Also, it does not automatically paste, so after selecting an entry from the history you still have to press Ctrl+V in order to actually paste it into the application that you are using.

Thumbs down.

Keepboard (for Linux)

Available via https://sourceforge.net/projects/keepboard/ last updated in 2018-07-01, that's good enough.

Immediately after installation, on the very first run, during startup, it dies with a NullPointerException.  End of story.


Available via http://parcellite.sourceforge.net/.  Back in January of 2017 the author wrote "Nothing for years, then two releases in the same day".  He has been quiet ever since.  (And the previous update was like in 2014.)  So, forget it.


Available via https://launchpad.net/glipper.  Last update was in 2013, so, forget it.


A very old program.  Comes preinstalled with Ubuntu.  When run, it fails with the message "Error: another clipboard is already running".  There is a page from 2009 explaining how to fix this problem, (https://lildude.co.uk/howto-use-xclipboard-with-gnome) but judging by how xclipboard looks in the screenshots, I do not feel compelled to keep trying.


Home page is https://hluk.github.io/CopyQ/. It is available via apt, latest version in apt is 3.2.0.  For Ubuntu there is also ppa:hluk/copyq which hosts the latest version, 3.8.0. Updates are frequent, with the latest being just a few days ago.

Copyq is a monster of a clipboard manager, packed with an awful lot of features and offering a ridiculous degree of control.  Besides the menu that drops down from the taskbar indicator allowing you to see your clipboard history and make a selection, it also has an extensive preferences window, and one more window which they call "main" and which allows you to manipulate your history entries, as if that's a very important thing deserving its own window.

The application is so over-engineered that it even has its own "task manager" and it supports color theming on the window they call "main".  Yet, it does not offer the ability to get rid of some things, for example some of the unnecessary menu items in the drop-down menu.

The application is a bit buggy.  One bug I found is that if you have the preferences window open, and then you also open the main window, then the main window is non-responding unless you close the preferences first.  Another bug is that its taskbar icon often gets lost, even though the application is still active and responding to the hotkey.  The worst problem is that it confuses the numeric keypad keys with their non-numeric keypad equivalents, so there is no way to specify a hotkey on the numeric keypad, like Ctrl + Shift + Numeric-Keypad-Insert

Most of the exotic features are unintuitive, so you are unlikely to use them because you will probably not even know what they do, but all the basics are there.

Bottom line is that this is a very useful clipboard manager, and the overengineering that has gone into it does not hurt, because
a) it is not ridiculously large, (only about 2MB to download, 7MB on the disk) 
b) the unnecessary extra functionality does not get too much in the way of using the small subset of the functionality that is actually useful, and 
c) the functionality that is actually useful does really work, and it works well.  (Well, mostly.  Except the numeric keypad hotkeys.)

Thumbs up.

If you do use it, do not forget to immediately go to "Preferences" -> "Items" -> "Synchronize" and add a folder for saving your clipboard, because CopyQ does not do that automatically for you.  (So, even though the app has the feature, and you may have made sure that the feature is enabled, your clippings are still not being saved unless you take additional action.)  How do you add a folder for saving your clipboard?  I do not know yet, I am still trying to figure out the unnecessarily complicated interface. Good luck!


Home page is https://launchpad.net/diodon.

Its icon is a blowfish.  I tried it and I did not like it, but I forgot to document what the problem was.  I might give it another try in the future.


Or perhaps https://github.com/CristianHenzel/ClipIt

A decent little clipboard manager that does no more than what is necessary.  The most delightful aspect of it is that its popup menu does not contain any useless crap, just your clipboard history, as it should.

Unfortunately, when you select an item from history, there appears to be a half second delay before the text is actually pasted, and there appears to be no option to change this behavior.

At some point it mysteriously stopped working, so I uninstalled it and looked for another one, but I am giving it one more try now, since I prefer its minimalism over CopyQ's pompousness.


Haven't tried it yet.


Home page appears to be https://github.com/fmoralesc/pastie/
Has no README.
Last update was 4 years ago, so forget it.


It is for "xfce", so it is a no-go for Ubuntu, which uses Gnome.

Clipboard Indicator (Gnome Shell Extension)

Home page: https://extensions.gnome.org/extension/779/clipboard-indicator

Either this is a clone of GPaste, or GPaste is a clone of this.

Has the very nice ability to show the first few characters of the current clipboard content next to its icon on the task bar.  Unfortunately, that's the only good thing I have to say about it.

It has a maximum history length of only 50, and as if that was not ridiculous enough, it will only show the last 15 of them.

When you open the menu, the first selectable entry is a stupid search box, (as if you will ever need to search through a meager 50 entries,) so you always need one extra press of the "down" arrow to skip the search box to go to the current clipboard entry, and one more to go to the previous clipboard entry, which is what you want like 99% of the time.

The author's idea of how favorites should work is that they should be pinned to the top of the list, so each time you add a favorite you are increasing the number of times you will have to press the down-arrow before you can reach the previous clipboard entry.

Worst of all, when you select an entry, it does not automatically paste it for you, it just places it in the clipboard, so you always need yet one more keystroke to actually paste.

Bottom line: Usable, but annoying.

Clipper (Gnome Shell Extension)

Home page: https://extensions.gnome.org/extension/1081/clipper/

Appears to be abandoned.

1 comment:

  1. Good overview. Jfyi, Keepboard startup issue that was appearing in newer Java versions has been fixed.