Firstly make sure that you have the required software installed – xclip for Linux or pbcopy for MacOS/OSX.

For Linux

For Debian-based systems execute the following:

apt-get install xclip

For Redhat-based systems run:

yum install xclip

For systems with pacman e.g. Arch and Manjaro:

pacman -S xclip

Gentoo-based systems:

emerge xclip

If you have any trouble installing xclip due to permission levels, prefix the above commands with sudo to escalate yourself momentarily to administrator level.

Now for the actual copy and pasting!

To copy text or the output of a command to the clipboard you need to pipe it to clip -selection clipboard. The following two examples copy the contents of readme.txt and output of ls to the clipboard, respectively.

cat readme.txt | xclip -selection clipboard
$ ls -1 | xclip -selection clipboard

And now for pasting from the clipboard. To paste from the clipboard you need to execute:

$ xclip -o


pbcopy and pbpaste should come installed on your system, so no installation there :)

In order to send some output to the clipboard, simply pipe it to pbcopy, thusly:

cat readme.txt | pbcopy

And in order to paste the contents from the clipboard run:


The best use of this command would be to redirect the output into a file or assign this command to a keyboard shortcut.