Welcome to CopyQ’s documentation!

CopyQ is clipboard manager – a desktop application which stores content of the system clipboard whenever it changes and allows to search the history and copy it back to the system clipboard or paste it directly to other applications.

This documentation describes some basic concepts and workflows as well as more advanced topics like scripting and application development process.


Packages and installation files are available at Releases page.

Alternatively, you can install the app with one of the following methods:

  1. On Windows, you can install Chocolatey package.

  2. On OS X, you can use Homebrew to install the app.

brew install --cask copyq

On Debian unstable, Debian 10+, Ubuntu 18.04+ and later derivatives can install stable version from official repositories:

sudo apt install copyq
# copyq-plugins and copyq-doc is splitted out and can be installed independently

On Ubuntu set up the official PPA repository and install the app from terminal:

sudo apt install software-properties-common python-software-properties
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:hluk/copyq
sudo apt update
sudo apt install copyq

On Fedora, install “copyq” package:

sudo dnf install copyq

On other Linux distributions, you can use Flapak to install the app:

# Install from Flathub.
flatpak install --user --from https://flathub.org/repo/appstream/com.github.hluk.copyq.flatpakref

# Run the app.
flatpak run com.github.hluk.copyq

Basic Usage

This page describes the basic functionality of CopyQ clipboard manager.

First Start

To start CopyQ, double-click the program icon or run command copyq. This starts the graphical interface which can be accessed from the tray (NOTE: on OS X the tray defaults to the top-right of the screen and is not to be confused with Launchpad). Click the tray icon to show application window or right-click the tray icon and select “Show/Hide” or run copyq show command.

copyq show

The central element in the application window is item list containing clipboard history. By default, the application stores any new clipboard content in the list.

If you copy some text it will immediately show at the top of the list. Try copying text or images from various application to see how this works.

Basic Item Manipulation

In the item list, press F2 to edit selected text items. After editing, press F2 again to save the text.

Create new item with Ctrl+N, type some text and press F2 to save the new item.

Copy the selected items back to clipboard with Enter key or Ctrl+C.

Move items around with Ctrl+Down and Ctrl+Up.

You can move important or special items to new tabs (see Tabs for more info).


To quickly copy item to clipboard, you can select the item from tray menu. To display the menu either right-click on tray icon, run command copyq menu or use a custom system shortcut.

copyq menu

After selecting an item in tray menu and pressing enter (pressing a number key works as well), the item is copied to the clipboard.

Tabs and Items


Tabs are means to organize texts, images and other data.

Initially there is only one tab which is used for storing clipboard and the tab bar is hidden.

User can create new tabs from “Tabs” menu or using Ctrl+T. The tab bar will appear if there is more than one tab. Using mouse, user can reorder tabs and drop items and other data into tabs.

If tab name contains &, the following letter is used for quick access to the tab (the letter is underlined in tab bar or tab tree and & is hidden). For example, tab named “&Clipboard” can be opened using Alt+C shortcut.

Option “Tab Tree” enables user to organize tabs into groups. Tabs with names “Job/Tasks/1” and “Job/Tasks/2” will create following structure in tab tree.

> Job
    > Tasks
        > 1
        > 2

Storing Clipboard

If “Store Clipboard” option is enabled (under “General” tab in config dialog) and “Tab for storing clipboard” is set (under “History” tab in config dialog), every time user copies something to clipboard a new item will be created in that particular tab. The item will contain only text and data that are needed by plugins (e.g. plugin “Images” requires image/svg, image/png or similar).

Organizing Items

Any data or item can be moved or copied to other tab by dragging it using mouse or by pasting it in item list.

Commands can automatically organize items into tabs. For example, following command will put copied images to “Images” tab (to use the command, copy it to the command list in configuration).

Name=Move Images to Other Tab


This page lists useful default shortcuts and key mappings for CopyQ and describes how to change them.

CopyQ is keyboard-friendly, i.e. it should be possible to quickly access any functionality with keyboard without using mouse.

Default Shortcuts


On OS X, use ⌘ key instead of Ctrl for the shortcuts.

  • PgDown/PgUp, Home/End, Up/Down - item list navigation

  • Left, Right, Ctrl+Tab, Ctrl+Shift+Tab - tab navigation

  • Ctrl+T, Ctrl+W - create and remove tabs

  • Ctrl+Up, Ctrl+Down - move selected items

  • Esc - cancel search, hide window

  • Ctrl+Q - exit

  • F2 - edit selected items

  • Ctrl+E - edit items in an external editor

  • F5 - open action dialog for selected items

  • Delete - delete selected items

  • Ctrl+A - select all

  • Enter - put current item into clipboard and paste item (optional)

  • Ctrl+1…Ctrl+9 - focus a tab in given order

  • Ctrl+0 - focus last tab

Change Shortcuts

To change the shortcuts:

  1. Open “File - Preferences”.

  2. Select “Shortcuts” tab.

  3. Click the button next to action you need to change.

  4. Press a shortcut on keyboard.

  5. Click OK to save the dialog.

Create new Shortcut

If and action with shortcut is missing in the Shortcuts configuration tab, you can use predefined ones:

  1. Open “File - Commands/Global Shortcuts…”.

  2. Click “Add” button.

  3. Select command (e.g. “Show/hide main window”).

  4. Press a shortcut on keyboard.

  5. Click OK to save the dialog.


This page describes how to display and work with images in CopyQ.

Display Image Items

Displaying images can be configured in “Items” configuration tab.

On Windows, “Item Image” plugin needs to be installed.

To disable storing and displaying image, disable the Image plugin (uncheck the checkbox next to “Image” in configuration).


Editors for bitmap and SVG images can be set in the configuration.


Editing an image item (default shortcut is Ctrl+E) should open the image editor.

Unfortunately, sometimes an item looks like an image but is an HTML. You can list available formats in Content dialog F4.

Preview Image

It’s useful to limit size of image item to a maximum width and height in the configuration.

You can still display the whole image in Preview dock (F7) or using Content dialog (F4).

Take Screenshots

You can use built-in functionality for taking screenshots of whole or part of the desktop.

Paste taken screenshots to CopyQ to store them for later use.

Save Image to a File

To save an image to a file, either copy it or drag’n’drop it to a file manager (if supported) or save it using command line.

copyq read image/png 0 > image.png

Alternatively use “Save Item/Clipboard To a File” command.


Tags are small icons or short texts in upper right corner of an item used to mark important or special items.


Tags can be configured in “Items” configuration tab. On Windows, “Item Tags” plugin needs to be installed.


Configuration consists solely of table where each row contains matching and styling rules for tags.

Style from the first row which matches tag text is applied on the tag.

Column in the table are following.

  • “Tag Name”

Text for the tag. This is used for matching if “Match” column is empty. Expressions like \1, \2 etc. will be replaced with captured texts from “Match” column.

  • “Match”

Regular expression for matching the tags.

E.g. .* (any tag), Important: .* (match prefix), \d\d\d\d-\d\d-\d\d.* (date time).

  • “Style Sheet”

Simple style sheet (https://doc.qt.io/qt-5/stylesheet-reference.html).

E.g. border: 1px solid white; border-radius: 3px; font-size: 7pt.

  • “Color” - Text color.

  • “Icon” - Icon for tag. To show only icon without text you have to set “Match” and keep “Tag Name” field empty.

Tagging items can be accessed from context menu if appropriate commands are added in Command dialog (generated commands are available in the list under “Add” button).


Alternatively, tags are added to an item by setting “application/x-copyq-tags” format. It can contain multiple tags separated by comma. The tag text itself can be written as simple HTML.


copyq write text/plain "Item with tag" application/x-copyq-tags "Some tag text"


This page describes how CopyQ handles the clipboard data and how to make the clipboard safer.

Data Storage

By default, Any text or image in the clipboard is stored automatically in CopyQ.

You can completely disable automatic clipboard storing or avoid storing content copied from windows with matching window titles.

The data from all tabs are stored in the configuration directory unencrypted (unless the Encryption plugin is enabled for a tab).

CopyQ does not collect any other data and does not send anything over network.

Clipboard Content Visibility

The clipboard content is normally shown in the item list of a clipboard tab, main window title, tray tool tip and notification.

To disable showing the current clipboard in GUI, use “No Clipboard in Title and Tool Tip” command and disable notifications (in Preferences).

Clipboard Access

Usually other applications can access clipboard content without any restriction.

To restrict accessing the data after a long time, use “Clear Clipboard After Interval” command.


Application style can be configured in the Appearance configuration tab and using Cascading Style Sheets (CSS).

Appearance Configuration

The Appearance tab in configuration dialog allows to change font and colors of the item list and other GUI elements in the main window.

By default, only the item list and internal item editor style is changed. To change theme of whole the main window (menu bar, tool bar, tabs) and menus, enable option “Set colors for tabs, tool bar and menus”.


Some desktop environments handle the tray menu style by themselves and it cannot be changed in CopyQ.

You can change style in more detail by using “Edit Theme” button.

Style Sheets

The appearance options are the used in application CSS files installed with CopyQ (e.g. placeholders in the files like ${font}). You can list the theme installation path with copyq info themes command.

To override a CSS file, copy the file to your configuration directory under themes subdirectory. For example, override the style sheet for the item list:

$ copyq info themes

$ copyq info config

$ cp /usr/share/copyq/themes/items.css /home/me/.config/copyq/themes/

$ $EDITOR /home/me/.config/copyq/themes/items.css

To reload the style sheets, you need to restart CopyQ or go to the configuration dialog and click OK button.

You can set COPYQ_THEME_PREFIX environment variable for the preferred path for CSS files.

CSS files can contain placeholders like ${bg} which are defined in theme configuration file. You can edit this file in Appearance configuration tab with “Edit Theme” button.

Placeholder can be assigned to colors in following formats:

  • #RGB (each of R, G, and B is a single hex digit)


  • #AARRGGBB (with alpha channel)

  • a color name

  • transparent

  • rgba(R,G,B,A) (each of R, G, and B is 0-255, A is alpha channel 0.0-1.0)

There are extra color names for current system theme:

  • default_bg - background for list and line/text edit widgets

  • default_text - foreground color for the above

  • default_placeholder_text - placeholder text color

  • default_alt_bg - alternative item background

  • default_highlight_bg - highlight background

  • default_highlight_text - highlighted text color

  • default_tooltip_bg - tooltip background

  • default_tooltip_text - tooltip text color

  • default_window - window background

  • default_window_text - window text color

  • default_button - button background

  • default_button_text - button text color

  • default_bright_text - bright window text color

  • default_light - lighter than button

  • default_midlight - between button and light

  • default_dark - darker than button

  • default_mid - between button and dark

  • default_shadow - very dark

  • default_link - hyperlink color

  • default_link_visited - visited hyperlink color

Placeholder can be also assigned color expressions, for example:

  • sel_bg=bg + #000409 - #100

  • menu_bar_css="background: ${bg}; color: ${fg + #444}"

  • ${bg + #333} (directly in CSS)

Here are some special placeholders for CSS files:

  • ${css:scrollbar} - include scrollbar.css style sheet.

  • ${scale = 0.5} - set scaling for sizes and font (reset with value 1)

  • ${hsv_saturation_factor = 2} - set saturation for colors in the rest of the style sheet

  • ${hsv_value_factor = 0.9} - set value for colors in the rest of the style sheet

FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

How to open CopyQ window or tray menu using shortcut?

Add new command to open the CopyQ window or menu with a global shortcut:

  1. Open “Command” dialog (F6 shortcut).

  2. Click “Add” button in the dialog.

  3. Select “Show/hide main window” or “Show the tray menu” from the list and click “OK” button.

  4. Click the button next to “Global Shortcut” label and set the shortcut.

  5. Click “OK” button to save the changes.

For more information about commands see Writing Commands and Adding Functionality.

How to paste double-clicked item from CopyQ window?

  1. Open “Preferences” (Ctrl+P shortcut).

  2. Go to “History” tab.

  3. Enable “Paste to current window” option.

Next time you open the CopyQ main window and activate an item, it should be pasted.

How to paste as plain text?

To paste clipboard as plain text:

  1. Open “Command” dialog (F6 shortcut).

  2. Click “Add” button in the dialog.

  3. Select “Paste clipboard as plain text” from the list and click “OK” button.

  4. Click the button next to “Global Shortcut” label and set the shortcut.

  5. Click “OK” button to save the changes.

To paste selected items as plain text (from CopyQ window) follow the steps above but add “Paste as Plain Text” command instead and change “Shortcut”.

How to store only plain text?

To disallow storing HTML and rich text:

  1. Open “Preferences” (Ctrl+P shortcut).

  2. Go to “Items” tab.

  3. Disable “Web” item in the list.

  4. Select “Text” item.

  5. Disable “Save and display HTML and rich text”.

Similarly, you can also disable “Images” in the list to avoid storing and rendering images.

Existing items won’t be affected but any data formats can be removed:

  1. Select an item.

  2. Press F4 shortcut (“Item - Show Content…” in menu).

  3. Select format from list.

  4. Press Delete key.

How to disable storing clipboard?

To temporarily disable storing the clipboard in the CopyQ item list, select menu item “File - Disable Clipboard Storing” (Ctrl+Shift+X shortcut). To re-enable the functionality select “File - Enable Clipboard Storing” (same shortcut).

To permanently disable storing the clipboard in CopyQ:

  1. Open “Preferences” (Ctrl+P shortcut).

  2. Go to “History” tab.

  3. Clear “Tab for storing clipboard” field.

How to back up tabs, configuration and commands?

From menu select “File - Export” and choose which tabs to export and whether to export configuration and commands.

To restore the backup, select menu item “File - Import”, select the exported file, and then choose what to import back.


Importing tabs and commands won’t override existing tabs, and will create new ones.

How to enable or disable displaying notification when clipboard changes?

To enable displaying the notifications:

  1. Open “Preferences” (Ctrl+P shortcut).

  2. Go to “Notifications” tab.

  3. Set non-zero value for “Interval in seconds to display notifications”.

  4. Set non-zero value for “Number of lines for clipboard notification”.

  5. Click “OK” button.

To enable displaying the notifications, set either of the options mentioned above to zero.

How to load shared commands and share them?

You can stumble upon code that looks like this.

Name=Show/hide main window
Command=copyq: toggle()

This code represents a command that can used in CopyQ (specifically it opens main window on Ctrl+Shift+1). To use the command in CopyQ:

  1. Copy the code above.

  2. Open “Command” dialog (F6 shortcut).

  3. Click “Paste Commands” button at the bottom of the dialog.

  4. Click OK button.

(Now you should be able to open main window with Ctrl+Shift+1.)

To share your commands, you can select the commands from command list in “Command” dialog and press “Copy Selected” button (or just hit Ctrl+C).

How to omit storing text copied from specific windows like a password manager?

Add and modify automatic command to ignore text copied from the window:

  1. Open “Command” dialog (F6 shortcut).

  2. Click “Add” button in the dialog.

  3. Select “Ignore Password window” from the list and click “OK” Button.

  4. Select “Show Advanced”

  5. Change “Window” text box to match the title (or part of it) of the Window to ignore (e.g. KeePass). But for KeePassXC (and possible other apps), it is better to set “Format” to x-kde-passwordManagerHint instead.

  6. Click “OK” button to save the changes.


This new command should be at the top of the command list because automatic commands are executed in the order they appear in the list, and we don’t want to process sensitive data in any way.

In some cases, e.g. the password manager is an extension of a web browser or a password is copied from a menu instead of a window, the command above won’t work. You can try setting the “Window” text box to ^$, which usually matches popup menus.

For a more reliable way, use a command to blacklist texts (it stores just a salted hash, the text itself is not stored anywhere).

How to enable logging?

Set environment variable COPYQ_LOG_LEVEL to DEBUG for verbose logging and set COPYQ_LOG_FILE to a file path for the log.

You can copy current log file path to clipboard from Action dialog (F5 shortcut) by entering command copyq 'copy(info("log"))'. Alternatively, press F12 to directly access the log.

If you cannot access GUI, you can restart CopyQ from terminal and log to a separate file. On Linux and macOS:

copyq exit
export COPYQ_LOG_FILE="$HOME\copyq.log"
echo "Logs will be written to $COPYQ_LOG_FILE"

On Windows (in PowerShell):

& 'C:\Program Files (X86)\CopyQ\copyq.exe' exit
$env:COPYQ_LOG_FILE = [Environment]::GetFolderPath("MyDocuments") + '\copyq.log'
echo "Logs will be written to $env:COPYQ_LOG_FILE"
& 'C:\Program Files (X86)\CopyQ\copyq.exe'

How to preserve the order of copied items when copying or pasting multiple items?

  1. Reverse order of selected items with Ctrl+Shift+R and copy them.

  2. Alternatively, select items in reverse order and then copy.

See #165.

How does pasting single/multiple items work internally?

Return key copies the whole item (with all formats) to the clipboard and – if the “Paste to current window” option is enabled – it sends Shift+Insert to previous window. So the target application decides what format to paste on Shift+Insert.

If you select more items and press Return, just the concatenated text of selected items is put into the clipboard. Though it could do more in future, like join HTML, images or other formats.

See #165.

Why does pasting from CopyQ not work?

Pasting from CopyQ works only on Windows, macOS and X11 on Linux.

Specifically, this feature is not supported on Wayland, but you can use the workaround: On Linux, global shortcuts and pasting doesn’t work

First, check if you have the appropriate options enabled:

  1. For pasting from main window, enable “Paste to current window” in “History” configuration tab.

  2. For pasting from tray menu, enable “Paste activated item to current window” in “Tray” configuration tab.

If the pasting still doesn’t work, check if Shift+Insert shortcut pastes to the target window. That’s the shortcut CopyQ uses by default. To change this to Ctrl+V see #633.

If pasting still doesn’t work, it could be caused by either of these problems:

  • CopyQ fails to focus the target window correctly.

  • The format copied to the clipboard is not supported by the target application.

How to open the menu or context menu with only the keyboard?

Use Alt+I to open the item menu or use the Menu key on your keyboard to open the context menu for selected items.

How to hide the menu bar in the main CopyQ window?

The menu bar can be hidden by modifying the style sheet of the current theme.

  1. Open “Preferences” (Ctrl+P shortcut).

  2. Go to “Appearance” tab.

  3. Enable checkbox “Set colors for tabs, tool bar and menus”.

  4. Click “Edit Theme” button.

  5. Find menu_bar_css option and add height: 0:

    ;height: 0
    ;background: ${bg}
    ;color: ${fg}"

How to reuse file paths copied from a file manager?

By default, only the text is stored in item list when you copy or cut files from a file manager. Other data is usually needed to be able to copy/paste files from CopyQ.

You have to add additional data formats (MIME) using an automatic command (similar to one below). The commonly used format in many file managers is text/uri-list. Other special formats include x-special/gnome-copied-files for Nautilus and application/x-kde-cutselection for Dolphin. These formats are used to specify type of action (copy or cut).

    var originalFunction = global.clipboardFormatsToSave
    global.clipboardFormatsToSave = function() {
        return originalFunction().concat([
Name=Store File Manager Metadata

How to trigger a command based on primary selection only?

You can check application/x-copyq-clipboard-mode format in automatic commands.

E.g. if you set input format of a command it will be only executed on Linux mouse selection change:

Name=Executed only on X11 selection change

Otherwise you can check it in command:

    if (str(data(mimeClipboardMode)) == 'selection')
      popup('selection changed')
      popup('clipboard changed')"
Name=Show clipboard/selection change

Why can I no longer paste from the application on macOS?

See: On macOS, CopyQ won’t paste after installation/update

Why does my external editor fail to edit items?

CopyQ creates a temporary file with content of the edited item and passes it as argument to the custom editor command. If the file changes, the item is also modified.

Usual issues are:

  • External editor opens an empty file.

  • External editor warns that the file is missing.

  • Saving the file doesn’t have any effect on the origin item.

This happens if the command to launch the editor exits, but the editor application itself is still running. Since the command exited, CopyQ assumes that the editor itself is no longer running, and stops monitoring the changes in the temporary file (and removes the file).

Here is the correct command to use for some editors:

emacsclientw.exe --alternate-editor="" %1
gvim --nofork %1
sublime_text --wait %1
code --wait %1
open -t -W -n %1

Where to find saved items and configuration?

You can find configuration and saved items in:

  1. Windows folder %APPDATA%\copyq for installed version of CopyQ.

  2. Windows sub-folder config in unzipped portable version of CopyQ.

  3. Linux directory ~/.config/copyq.

  4. In a directory specific to a given CopyQ instance - see Sessions.

Run copyq info config to get absolute path to the configuration file (parent directory contains saved items).

Why are items and configuration not saved?

Check access rights to configuration directory and files.

Why do global shortcuts not work?

Global/system shortcuts (or specific key combinations) don’t work in some desktop environments (e.g. Wayland on Linux).

As a workaround, you can try to assign the shortcuts in your system settings.

To get the command to launch for a shortcut:

  1. Open Command dialog (F6 from main window).

  2. Click on the command with the global shortcut in the left panel.

  3. Enable “Show Advanced” checkbox.

  4. Copy the content of “Command” text field.


If the command looks like this:

copyq: toggle()

the actual command to use is:

copyq -e "toggle()"

Why doesn’t the main window close on tiling window managers?

The main window remains open if it cannot minimize to task bar and tray icon is not available. This is a safety feature to allow users to see that the application is running and make any initial setup when the app is started for the first time.

To force hiding main window:

  1. Open “Preferences” (Ctrl+P shortcut).

  2. Go to “Layout” tab.

  3. Enable “Hide main window” option.

Alternatively, run the following command:

copyq config hide_main_window true

Why does encryption ask for password so often?

Encryption plugin uses gpg2 to decrypt tabs and items. The password usually needs to be entered only once every few minutes.

If the password prompt is showing up too often, either increase tab unloading interval (“Unload tab after an interval” option in “History” tab in Preferences), or change gpg configuration (see #946).

How to fix “copyq: command not found” errors?

If you’re getting copyq: command not found or similar error, it means that the copyq executable cannot be found by the shell or a language interpreter.

This usually happens if the executable’s directory is not in the PATH environmental variable.

If this happens when running from within the command, e.g.

text="SOME TEXT"
copyq copy "$text"

you can fix it by using COPYQ environment variable instead.

text="SOME TEXT"
"$COPYQ" copy "$text"

What to do when CopyQ crashes or misbehaves?

When CopyQ crashes or doesn’t behave as expected, try to look up a similar issue first and provide details in a comment for that issue.

If you cannot find any such an issue, report a new bug.

Try to provide the following details:

  • CopyQ version

  • operating system (desktop environment, window manager, etc.)

  • steps to reproduce the issue

  • application log (see How to load shared commands and share them?)

  • stacktrace if available (e.g. on Linux coredumpctl dump --reverse copyq)

Known Issues

This document lists known commonly occurring issues and possible solutions.

On Windows, tray icon is hidden/repositioned after restart

With current official builds of CopyQ, the tray icon position and hide/show status are not restored after the application is restarted or after logging in.

Workaround is to use CopyQ binaries build with older Qt framework version (Qt 5.9); these are provided in latest comments in the issue link below.

See also

Issue #1258

On Windows, CopyQ does not print anything on console

On Windows, you may not see any output when executing CopyQ in a console/terminal application (PowerShell or cmd).


  • Use different console application: Git Bash, Cygwin or similar.

  • Use Action dialog in CopyQ (F5 shortcut) and set “Store standard output” to “text/plain” to save the output as new item in current tab.

  • Append | Write-Output to commands in PowerShell:

    & 'C:\Program Files (x86)\CopyQ\copyq.exe' help | Write-Output

See also

Issue #349

On macOS, CopyQ won’t paste after installation/update

CopyQ is not signed app, you need to grant Accessibility again when it’s installed or updated.

To fix this, try following steps:

  1. Go to System Preferences -> Security & Privacy -> Privacy -> Accessibility (or just search for “Allow apps to use Accessibility”).

  2. Click the unlock button.

  3. Select CopyQ from the list and remove it (with the “-” button).

On Linux, global shortcuts and pasting doesn’t work

This can be caused by running Wayland instead of the old X11.

Wayland doesn’t support:

  • global shortcuts

  • clipboard access from window that is not active

  • mouse selection copy/pasting

  • pasting from CopyQ (i.e. passing shortcuts to application)

Workaround for most problems is to set QT_QPA_PLATFORM environment variable and use Xwayland (e.g. xorg-x11-server-Xwayland Fedora package).

E.g. launch CopyQ with:

env QT_QPA_PLATFORM=xcb copyq

If CopyQ autostarts, you can change Exec=... line in ~/.config/autostart/copyq.desktop:

Exec=env QT_QPA_PLATFORM=xcb copyq


Mouse selection will still work only if the source application itself supports it.

See also

Issue #27


Here is a list of frequent terms from CopyQ.

  • Action - a command run from Action dialog

  • Clipboard - system clipboard that stores and provides copied stuff (Ctrl+C)

  • Command - user-defined command or script executed by the app

  • Item - element stored in a tab, usually automatically created from a new clipboard content

  • Main window - main application window shown by selecting “Show” from tray menu

  • Plugin - a binary file which adds some functionality when app starts

  • Process - an executed command

  • Script - simple code written in internal scripting language used by the app

  • Tray - tray or notification area in panel, contains small icons for various applications

  • Tray menu - menu invoked from app icon in tray (usually by right mouse button click)

  • Tab - container for multiple items, similar to tabs in modern web browsers

Command Line

Tabs, items, clipboard and configuration can be changed through command line interface. Run command copyq help to see complete list of commands and their description.


On Windows, you may not see any output when executing CopyQ in terminal/console (PowerShell or cmd).

See workarounds in On Windows, CopyQ does not print anything on console.

To add new item to tab with name “notes” run:

copyq tab notes add "This is the first note."

To print the item:

copyq tab notes read 0

Add other item:

copyq tab notes add "This is second note."

and print all items in the tab:

copyq eval -- "tab('notes'); for(i=size(); i>0; --i) print(str(read(i-1)) + '\n');"

This will print:

This is the first note.
This is second note.

Among other things that are possible with CopyQ are:

  • open video player if text copied in clipboard is URL with multimedia

  • store text copied from a code editor in “code” tab

  • store URLs in different tab

  • save screenshots (print-screen)

  • load all files from directory to items (create image gallery)

  • replace a text in all matching items

  • run item as a Python script


You can run multiple instances of the application given that they have different session names.

Running Multiple Instances

Each application instance should have unique name.

To start new instance with test1 name, run:

copyq --session=test1

This instance uses configuration, tabs and items unique to given session name.

You can still start default session (with empty session name) with just:


In the same manner you can manipulate the session. E.g. to add an item to first tab in test1 session, run:

copyq --session=test1 add "Some text"

Default session has empty name but it can be overridden by setting COPYQ_SESSION_NAME environment variable.

You need to use same session name for clients launched outside the application.

$ copyq -s test2 tab
ERROR: Cannot connect to server! Start CopyQ server first.

$ copyq -s test1 tab

Configuration Path

Current configuration path can be overriden with COPYQ_SETTINGS_PATH environment variable.

$ copyq info config

$ COPYQ_SETTINGS_PATH=$HOME/copyq-settings copyq info config

You need to use same configuration path (and session name) for clients lauched outside the application.

$ copyq tab
ERROR: Cannot connect to server! Start CopyQ server first.

$ COPYQ_SETTINGS_PATH=$HOME/copyq-settings copyq tab

Icon Color

Icon for each session is bit different. The color is generated from session name and can be changed using COPYQ_SESSION_COLOR environment variable.

COPYQ_SESSION_COLOR="yellow" copyq

On Linux, changing icon color won’t work if current icon theme contains icon named “copyq-normal” or doesn’t contain “copyq-mask”. Use COPYQ_DEFAULT_ICON environment variable to avoid using the application icon from icon theme.


Pin Items

This page describes how to pin selected items in a tab so they cannot be accidentally removed or moved from current row.

Why pin items?

There are two main reasons to pin items.

If a new item is added to a list (e.g. automatically when clipboard changed), rest of the items need to move one row down, except pinned items which stay on the same row. This is useful to pin important items to the top of the list.

If a tab is full (see option “Maximum number of items in history” in “History” configuration tab), adding a new item removes old item from bottom of the list. Pinned items cannot be removed so the last unpinned item is removed instead.


New items cannot be added to a tab if all its items are pinned and the tab is full.



On Windows, to enable this feature you need to install “Pinned Items” plugin.

To enable this functionality, assign keyboard shortcut for Pin and Unpin actions in “Shortcuts” tab in Preferences (Ctrl+P).


Keyboard shortcut for both menu items can be the same since at most one of the menu items is always visible.

Pinning Items

If set up correctly, when you select items, Pin action should be available in toolbar, context menu and “Item” menu.

Selecting the Pin menu item (or pressing assigned keyboard shortcut) will pin selected items to their current rows.

Pinned items will show with gray bar on the right side in the list.

Deleting pinned items won’t work, unpin the items first. Unpin action is available if an pinned item is selected.

Pinned items also will stay in same rows unless you move them with mouse or using keyboard shortcuts (Ctrl+Up/Down/Home/End).

Password Protection

This page describes how to encrypt and protect selected tabs and single items with a password.


To enable this feature you need to have “Encryption” item plugin.


The plugin configuration (under “Items” configuration tab in Configuration dialog) may prompt you to install GnuPG:

  • For Windows you can use Chocolatey to install Gpg4win Vanilla:

    choco install gpg4win-vanilla
  • For Linux install gpg command line utility. It’s usually provided by gnupg package but the package name may differ on some distributions.

Generate Keys and Set Password

To be able to encrypt tabs and items you first need to generate private and public key files.

Click on the “Generate Ney Keys…” button and wait.


If didn’t set a password in previous step click “Change Password…” button and set it.


Last step in configuration is to set tabs to encrypt. You can skip this step if you only need to encrypt single item in each tab (see next section).


Click “OK” button to confirm Configuration dialog.

Protect Tabs

Now you can create the tabs you want to encrypt (Ctrl+T to create new tab).

The tab name should be same as one of the tabs entered in plugin configuration in previous step.


You’ll be prompt to enter password in future (you only need to enter it once in a while).

If you enter wrong password or cancel the password prompt you can later click on “Reload” button in tab to enter password again.


Protect Single Items

To protect items in unprotected tab you can add menu and tool bar actions with keyboard shortcut.

Go to Command dialog F6, click on “Add” button, “Encryption” commands from list and confirm dialogs with “OK” button.

Now you can select items and press Ctrl+L to encrypt (“Items - Encryption - Encrypt” in menu).

To decrypt selected item press Ctrl+L (“Items - Encryption - Decrypt” in menu).

Synchronize with Documents

This page describes how to keep items in a tab synchronized with files in a directory on a disk (or a Dropbox folder).



On Windows, to enable this feature you need to install “Synchronize” plugin. All plugins are installed by default and also included in the portable zip version of the app.

Set path synchronization directory for a tab.

  1. Open “Preferences” (Ctrl+P shortcut).

  2. Go to “Items” tab.

  3. Select “Synchronize”.

    Configure synchronization directory
  4. Double-click an empty space in Tab Name column and enter name of the tab to synchronize.

  5. Click the browse button on the same row and select directory for the tab.

  6. Click OK to save changes.

Now any items in the synchronized tab will be saved in the directory and existing files will show up in the tab even if the tab or a file is created later.

Synchronized items can be copied and edited as normal items.

File Types

Only files with known format can be shown as items. By default:

  • Files with .txt suffix show up as text items.

  • Files with .html suffix show up as formatted text items.

  • Files with .png suffix (and others) show up as images.

To show other files as items you need to set their file suffix in the second table in the configuration. Here you can set icon and MIME format for the file data.

Configure file formats to show

The configuration in the image above allows for content of all files with .cpp suffix in synchronized directories to show up text items, i.e. items have text/plain format containing the file data.

Writing Commands and Adding Functionality

CopyQ allows you to extend its functionality through commands in following ways:

  • Add custom commands to context menu for selected items in history.

  • Run custom commands automatically when clipboard changes.

  • Assign global/system-wide shortcuts to custom commands.

Here are some examples what can be achieved by using commands:

  • Automatically store web links or other types of clipboard content in special tabs to keep the history clean.

  • Paste current date and time or modified clipboard on a global shortcut.

  • Pass selected items or clipboard to external application (e.g. web browser or image editor).

  • Keep TODO lists and tag items as “important” or use custom tags.

  • See Command Examples for some other ideas and useful commands.

Command Dialog

You can create new commands in Command dialog. To open the dialog either:

  1. Press default shortcut F6.

  2. Select menu item “Commands/Global Shortcuts…” in “File” menu.

Command dialog contains:

  • list of custom commands on the left

  • settings for currently selected command on the right

  • command filter text field at the top

  • buttons to modify the command list (add, remove and move commands) at the top

  • buttons to save, load, copy and paste commands at the bottom

Create New Command

To create new command click the “Add” button in Command dialog. This opens list with predefined commands.

“New Command” creates new empty command (but it won’t do anything without being configured). One of the most frequently used predefined command is “Show/hide main window” which allows you to assign global shortcut for showing and hiding CopyQ window.

If you double click a predefined command (or select one or multiple commands and click OK) it will be added to list of commands. The right part of the Command dialog now shows the configuration for the new command.

For example, for the “Show/hide main window” you’ll most likely need to change only the “Global Shortcut” option so click on the button next to it and press the shortcut you want to assign.

Commands can be quickly disabled by clicking the check box next to them in command list.

By clicking on “OK” or “Apply” button in the dialog all commands will be saved permanently.

Command Options

The following options can be set for commands.

If unsure what an option does, hover mouse pointer over it and tool tip with description will appear.


Name of the command. This is used in context menu if “In Menu” check box is enabled. Use / in the name to create sub-menus.

Group: Type of Action

This group sets the main type of the command. Usually only one sub-option is set.


If enabled, the command is triggered whenever clipboard changes.

Automatic items are run in order they appear in the command list. No other automatic commands will be run if a triggered automatic command has “Remove Item” option set or calls copyq ignore.

The command is applied on current clipboard data - i.e. options below access text or other data in clipboard.

In Menu

If enabled, the command can be run from main window either with application shortcut, from context menu or “Item” menu. The command can be also run from tray menu.

Shortcuts can be assigned by clicking on the button next to the option. These application shortcuts work only while CopyQ window has focus.

If the command is run from tray menu, it is applied on clipboard data, otherwise it’s applied on data in selected items.

Global Shortcut

Global or system shortcut is a keyboard shortcut that works even if the main application window is not focused.

If enabled, the command is triggered whenever assigned shortcut is pressed.

This command is not applied on data in clipboard nor selected items.


If enabled, the command is script which is loaded before any other script is started. This allows overriding existing functions and creating new ones (allowing new command line arguments to be used).

See Script Commands.


If enabled, the command is used to modify item data before displaying. Use data() to retrieve current item data and setData() to modify the data to display (these are not stored permanently).

See Display Commands.

Group: Match Items

This group is visible only for “Automatic” or “In Menu” commands. Sub-options specify when the command can be used.

1. Content

Regular expression to match text of selected items (for “In Menu” command) or clipboard (for “Automatic” command).

For example, ^https?:// will match simple web addresses (text starting with http:// or https://).

2. Window

Regular expression to match window title of active window (only for “Automatic” command).

For example, - Chromium$ or Mozilla Firefox$ to match some web browser window titles ($ in the expression means end of the title).

3. Filter

A command for validating text of selected items (for “In Menu” command) or clipboard (for “Automatic” command).

If the command exits with non-zero exit code it won’t be shown in context menu and automatically triggered on clipboard change.

Example, copyq: if (tab().indexOf("Web") == -1) fail() triggers the command only if tab “Web” is available.

4. Format

Match format of selected items or clipboard.

The data of this format will be sent to standard input of the command - this doesn’t apply if the command is triggered with global shortcut.


The command to run.

This can contain either:

  1. simple command line (e.g. copyq popup %1 - expression %1 means text of the selected item or clipboard)

  2. input for command interpreter (prefixed with bash:, powershell:, python: etc.)

  3. CopyQ script (prefixed with copyq:)

You can use COPYQ environment variable to get path of application binary.

Current CopyQ session name is stored in COPYQ_SESSION_NAME environment variable (see Sessions).

Example (call CopyQ from Python):

import os
from subprocess import call
copyq = os.environ['COPYQ']
call([copyq, 'read', '0'])

Example (call CopyQ from PowerShell on Windows):

$Item1 = (& "$env:COPYQ" read 0 | Out-String)
echo "First item: $Item1"
Group: Action

This group is visible only for “Automatic” or “In Menu” commands.

1. Copy to tab

Creates new item in given tab.

2. Remove Item

Removes selected items. If enabled for “Automatic” command, the clipboard will be ignored and no other automatic commands will be executed.

Group: Menu Action

This group is visible only for “In Menu” commands.

1. Hide main window after activation

If enabled, main window will be hidden after the command is executed.

Group: Command options

This group is visible only for “Automatic” or “In Menu” commands.

1. Wait

Show action dialog before applying options below.

2. Transform

Modify selected items - i.e. remove them and replace with standard output of the command.

3. Output

Format of standard output to save as new item.

4. Separator

Separator for splitting output to multiple items (\n to split lines).

5. Output tab

Tab for saving the output of command.

Save and Share Commands

You can back up or share commands by saving them in a file (“Save Selected Commands…” button) or by copying them to clipboard.

The saved commands can be loaded back to command list (“Load Commands…” button) or pasted to the list from clipboard.

You can try some examples by copying commands from Command Examples.


If you need to process items in some non-trivial way you can take advantage of the scripting interface the application provides. This is accessible on command line as copyq eval SCRIPT or copyq -e SCRIPT where SCRIPT is string containing commands written in JavaScript-similar scripting language (see Scripting API).

Every command line option is available as function in the scripting interface. Command copyq help tab can be written as copyq eval 'print(help("tab"))' (note: print is needed to print the return value of help("tab") function call).

Searching Items

You can print each item with copyq read N where N is item number from 0 to copyq size (i.e. number of items in the first tab) and put item to clipboard with copyq select N. With these commands it’s possible to search items and copy the right one with a script. E.g. having file script.js containing

var match = "MATCH-THIS";
var i = 0;
while (i < size() && str(read(i)).indexOf(match) === -1)

and passing it to CopyQ using cat script.js | copyq eval - will put first item containing “MATCH-THIS” string to clipboard.

Working with Tabs

By default commands and functions work with items in the first tab. Calling read(0, 1, 2) will read first three items from the first tab. To access items in other tab you need to switch the current tab with tab("TAB_NAME") (or copyq tab TAB_NAME on command line) where TAB_NAME is name of the tab.

For example to search for an item as in the previous script but in all tabs you’ll have to run:

var match = "MATCH-THIS";
var tabs = tab();
for (var i in tabs) {
    var j = 0;
    while (j < size() && str(read(j)).indexOf(match) === -1)
    if (j < size())
        print("Match in tab \"" + tabs[i] + "\" item number " + j + ".\n");

Scripting Functions

As mentioned above, all command line options are also available for scripting e.g.: show(), hide(), toggle(), copy(), paste().

Reference for available scripting functions and language features can be found at Scripting API.

Command Examples

Here are some useful commands for creating custom menu items, global shortcuts and automatically process new clipboard content in CopyQ.

If you want to use any of the commands below, copy it to clipboard and paste it to the command list in Command dialog (opened with F6 shortcut). For detailed info see How to load shared commands and share them?.

All these and more commands are available at CopyQ command repository.

Join Selected Items

Creates new item containing concatenated text of selected items.

Name=Join Selected Items
Command=copyq add -- %1

Paste Current Date and Time

Copies current date/time text to clipboard and pastes to current window on global shortcut Win+Alt+T.

    var time = dateString('yyyy-MM-dd hh:mm:ss')
    copy('Current date/time is ' + time)
Name=Paste Current Time

Play Sound when Copying to Clipboard

Following command will play an audio file whenever something is copied clipboard.

On Windows:

Name=Play Sound on Copy
     (New-Object Media.SoundPlayer \"C:\\Users\\copy.wav\").PlaySync()"

On Linux (requires VLC multimedia player):

Name=Play Sound on Copy
     cvlc --play-and-exit ~/audio/example.mp3"

Edit and Paste

Following command allows to edit current clipboard text before pasting it. If the editing is canceled the text won’t be pasted.

    var text = dialog('paste', str(clipboard()))
    if (text) {
Name=Edit and Paste

Remove Background and Text Colors

Removes background and text colors from rich text (e.g. text copied from web pages).

Command can be both automatically applied on text copied to clipboard and invoked from menu (or using custom shortcut).

    var html = str(input())
    html = html.replace(/color\\s*:/g, 'xxx:')
    setData('text/html', html)"
Name=Remove Background and Text Colors


Creates interactive link from plain text.

    var link = str(input());
    var href = '<a href=\"###\">###</a>';
      'text/plain', link,
      'text/html', href.replace(/###/g, link)

Highlight Text

Highlight all occurrences of a text (change x = "text" to match something else than text).

Name=Highlight Text
    x = 'text'
    style = 'background: yellow; text-decoration: underline'

    text = str(input())
    x = x.toLowerCase()
    lowertext = text.toLowerCase()
    html = ''
    a = 0
    esc = function(a, b) {
        return escapeHTML( text.substr(a, b - a) )

    while (1) {
        b = lowertext.indexOf(x, a)
        if (b != -1) {
            html += esc(a, b) + '<span>' + esc(b, b + x.length) + '</span>'
        } else {
            html += esc(a, text.length)
        a = b + x.length;

    tab( selectedtab() )
        'text/plain', text,
            + style +
            + html +

Render HTML

Render HTML code.

Name=Render HTML
    write(index() + 1, 'text/html', input())"

Translate to English

Pass to text to Google Translate.

Name=Translate to English
    text = str(input())
    url = \"https://translate.google.com/#auto/en/???\"

    x = url.replace(\"???\", encodeURIComponent(text))
    html = '<html><head><meta http-equiv=\"refresh\" content=\"0;url=' + x + '\" /></head></html>'

    write(index() + 1, \"text/html\", html)"

Paste and Forget

Paste selected items and clear clipboard.

Name=Paste and Forget
    items = selecteditems()
    if (items.length > 1) {
        text = ''
        for (i in items)
            text += read(items[i]);
    } else {


Render Math Equations

Render math equations using MathJax (e.g. $$x = {-b \pm \sqrt{b^2-4ac} \over 2a}$$).

Name=Render Math Equations
    text = str(input())
    js = 'http://cdn.mathjax.org/mathjax/latest/MathJax.js?config=TeX-AMS-MML_HTMLorMML'

    html = '<html><head><script type=\"text/javascript\" src=\"' + js + '\"></script></head><body>' + escapeHTML(text) + '</body></html>';

    write(index() + 1, 'text/html', html)"

Move Images to Other Tab

With this command active, images won’t be saved in the first tab. This can make application a bit more snappier since big image data won’t need to be loaded when main window is displayed or clipboard is stored for the first time.

Name=Move Images to Other Tab

Copy Clipboard to Window Tabs

Following command automatically adds new clipboard to tab with same name as title of the window where copy operation was performed.

Name=Window Tabs
    item = unpack(input())
    window_title = item[\"application/x-copyq-owner-window-title\"]
    if (window_title) {
        // Remove the part of window title before dash
        // (it's usually document name or URL).
        tabname = str(window_title).replace(/.* (-|\x2013) /, \"\")
        tab(\"Windows/\" + tabname)
        write(\"application/x-copyq-item\", input())

Quickly Show Current Clipboard Content

Quickly pop up notification with text in clipboard using Win+Alt+C system shortcut.

Name=Show clipboard
    seconds = 2;
    popup(\"\", clipboard(), seconds * 1000)"

Replace All Occurrences in Selected Text

Name=Replace in Selection
    // Copy without changing Linux mouse selection (on Windows you can use "copy" instead).
    function copy2() {
      try {
        var x = config('copy_clipboard')
        config('copy_clipboard', false)
        try {
          copy.apply(this, arguments)
        } finally {
          config('copy_clipboard', x)
      } catch(e) {
        copy.apply(this, arguments)

    var text = str(clipboard())

    if (text) {
      var r1 = 'Text'
      var r2 = 'Replace with'
      var reply = dialog(r1, '', r2, '')

      if (reply) {
        copy2(text.replace(new RegExp(reply[r1], 'g'), reply[r2]))

Copy Nth Item

Copy item in row depending on which shortcut was pressed. E.g. Ctrl+2 for item in row “2”.

Name=Copy Nth Item
    var shortcut = str(data(\"application/x-copyq-shortcut\"));
    var row = shortcut ? shortcut.replace(/^\\D+/g, '') : currentItem();
    var itemIndex = (config('row_index_from_one') == 'true') ? row - 1 : row;
    copy(\"application/x-copyq-item\", pack(getItem(itemIndex)));"
Shortcut=ctrl+1, ctrl+2, ctrl+3, ctrl+4, ctrl+5, ctrl+6, ctrl+7, ctrl+8, ctrl+9, ctrl+0

Edit Files

Opens files referenced by selected item in external editor (uses “External editor command” from “History” config tab).

Works with following path formats (some editors may not support all of these).

  • C:/...

  • file://...

  • ~... (some shells)

  • %...%... (Windows environment variables)

  • $... (environment variables)

  • /c/... (gitbash)

Name=Edit Files
    var editor = config('editor')
        .replace(/ %1/, '')

    var filePaths = str(input())
        .replace(/^file:\\/{2}/gm, '')
        .replace(/^\\/(\\w):?\\//gm, '$1:/')

    var args = [editor].concat(filePaths)

    execute.apply(this, args)"

Change Monitoring State Permanently

Disables clipboard monitoring permanently, i.e. the state is restored when clipboard changes even after application is restarted.

Should be the first automatic command in the list of commands so other commands are not invoked.

    var option = 'disable_monitoring'
    var disabled = str(settings(option)) === 'true'

    if (str(data('application/x-copyq-shortcut'))) {
      disabled = !disabled
      settings(option, disabled)
      popup('', disabled ? 'Monitoring disabled' : 'Monitoring enabled')

    if (disabled) {
    } else {
Name=Toggle Monitoring

Show Window Title

Shows source application window title for new items in tag (“Tags” plugin must be enabled in “Items” config tab).

    var window = str(data('application/x-copyq-owner-window-title'))
    var tagsMime = 'application/x-copyq-tags'
    var tags = str(data(tagsMime)) + ', ' + window
    setData(tagsMime, tags)"
Name=Store Window Title

Show Copy Time

Shows copy time of new items in tag (“Tags” plugin must be enabled in “Items” config tab).

    var time = dateString('yyyy-MM-dd hh:mm:ss')
    setData('application/x-copyq-user-copy-time', time)

    var tagsMime = 'application/x-copyq-tags'
    var tags = str(data(tagsMime)) + ', ' + time
    setData(tagsMime, tags)"
Name=Store Copy Time

Mark Selected Items

Toggles highlighting of selected items.

    var color = 'rgba(255, 255, 0, 0.5)'
    var mime = 'application/x-copyq-color'

    var firstSelectedItem = selectedItems()[0]
    var currentColor = str(read(mime, firstSelectedItem))
    if (currentColor != color)
      setData(mime, color)
Name=Mark/Unmark Items

Change Upper/Lower Case of Selected Text

    if (!copy())

    var text = str(clipboard())

    var newText = text.toUpperCase()
    if (text == newText)
      newText = text.toLowerCase()

    if (text == newText)

Name=Toggle Upper/Lower Case

Change Copied Text to Title Case

    function toTitleCase(str) {
      return str.replace(
        function(txt) {
          return txt.charAt(0).toUpperCase() + txt.substr(1).toLowerCase();
Name=Title Case

Script Commands

Script command is type of command which allows overriding existing functions and creating new ones (allowing new command line arguments to be used).

The command is executed before any script and all defined variables and functions are available to the scripts.

Script commands can be created in Command dialog by setting Type of Action to Script.

Extending Command Line Interface

By adding following script command you can use hello() from other script or on command line (copyq hello):

global.hello = function() {
    print('Hello, World!\n')

Script commands are executed in own scope so as to avoid adding temporary variables in the global scope which contains all functions like copy() or add(). Using global object allows to modify the global scope.

It’s useful to move code used by multiple commands to a new script command.

It can also simplify using copyq from another application or shell script.

Override Functionality

Existing functions can be overridden from script commands.

Specifically onClipboardChanged and functions it calls can be overridden to customize handling of new clipboard content.

E.g. following command saves only textual clipboard data and removes any formatted text:

var saveData_ = saveData

saveData = function() {
    if ( str(data(mimeText)) != "" ) {
        popup('Saving only text')
    } else {
        popup('Not saving non-textual data')

E.g. following command overrides paste() to use an external utility for pasting clipboard:

paste = function() {
    var x = execute(
        'keyup', 'alt', 'ctrl', 'shift', 'super', 'meta',
        'key', 'shift+Insert')
    if (!x)
        throw 'Failed to run xdotool'
    if (x.stderr)
        throw 'Failed to run xdotool: ' + str(x.stderr)

E.g. show custom notifications for clipboard and Linux mouse selection changes.

function clipboardNotification(owns, hidden) {
    var id = isClipboard() ? 'clipboard' : 'selection'
    var icon = isClipboard() ? '\uf0ea' : '\uf246'
    var owner = owns ? 'CopyQ' : str(data(mimeWindowTitle))
    var title = id + ' - ' + owner
    var message = hidden ? '<HIDDEN>' : data(mimeText).left(100)
    '.id', id,
    '.title', title,
    '.message', message,
    '.icon', icon

var onClipboardChanged_ = onClipboardChanged
onClipboardChanged = function() {
    clipboardNotification(false, false)

var onOwnClipboardChanged_ = onOwnClipboardChanged
onOwnClipboardChanged = function() {
    clipboardNotification(true, false)

var onHiddenClipboardChanged_ = onHiddenClipboardChanged
onHiddenClipboardChanged = function() {
    clipboardNotification(true, true)

Display Commands

Display command is type of command that modifies item data before displaying. The modified data are only used for displaying the item and are not stored.

The command is executed just before an item needs to be displayed. This can sometimes happen multiple times for the same item if the data or configuration changes or the tab was unloaded.

Display commands can be created in Command dialog by setting Type of Action to Display.

Use data() to retrieve current item data and setData() to set the data to display (these are not stored permanently).

E.g. use slightly different color for plain text items.

if ( str(data(mimeText)) && !str(data(mimeHtml)) ) {
    html = escapeHtml(data(mimeText))
    setData(mimeHtml, '<span style="color:#764">' + html + '</span>')

E.g. try to interpret text as Markdown (with marked external utility).

var text = data(mimeText)
var result = execute('marked', null, text)
if (result && result.exit_code == 0) {
    setData(mimeHtml, result.stdout)


This page describes how to back up tabs, configuration and commands in CopyQ.

Back Up All Data Automatically on Exit

You can use command that backs up all items, tabs and settings after exit.

To install the command see the description in the repository.

Back Up Manually

To back up all the data, exit the application first and copy the configuration directory.

Path to configuration is usually:

  • Windows: %APPDATA%\copyq

  • Portable version for Windows: config sub-folder in unzipped application directory

  • Linux: ~/.config/copyq

To copy the configuration path to clipboard from CopyQ:

  1. Open Action dialog (F5 shortcut).

  2. Enter the command:

dir = Dir(info('config') + '/..')
  1. Click OK dialog button.

To restore the backup, exit the application and replace the configuration directory.


Before making or restoring back up, always exit CopyQ (don’t only close the main window).

Export and Import

You can easily export selected tabs and optionally configuration and commands within the application.


Tabs are always exported unencrypted and if a tab is synchronized with directory on disk the files themselves won’t be exported.

To export the data click “Export…” in “File” menu and select what to export, confirm with OK button and select file to save the stuff to.

To restore the data click “Import…” in “File” menu, select file to import and select what to import.


Import won’t overwrite existing tabs and commands but create new ones.

Alternatively you can use command line for export and import everything (selection dialogs won’t be opened).

copyq exportData {FILE/PATH/TO/EXPORT}
copyq importData {FILE/PATH/TO/IMPORT}

Writing Raw Data

Application allows you to save any kind of data using drag and drop or scripting interface.

To add an image to Images tab you can run:

cat image1.png | copyq tab Images write image/png -

This works for any other MIME data type (though unknown formats won’t be displayed properly).

Scripting API

CopyQ provides scripting capabilities to automatically handle clipboard changes, organize items, change settings and much more.

Supported language features and base function can be found at ECMAScript Reference. The language is mostly equivalent to modern JavaScript. Some features may be missing but feel free to use for example JavaScript reference on MDN.

CopyQ-specific features described in this document:


These terms are equivalent: format, MIME type, media type

Execute Script

The scripts can be executed from:

  1. Action or Command dialogs (F5, F6 shortcuts), if the first line starts with copyq:

  2. command line as copyq eval '<SCRIPT>'

  3. command line as cat script.js | copyq eval -

  4. command line as copyq <SCRIPT_FUNCTION> <FUNCTION_ARGUMENT_1> <FUNCTION_ARGUMENT_2> ...

When run from command line, result of last expression is printed on stdout.

Command exit values are:

  • 0 - script finished without error

  • 1 - fail() was called

  • 2 - bad syntax

  • 3 - exception was thrown

Command Line

If number of arguments that can be passed to function is limited you can use

              <FUNCTION3> <FUNCTION3_ARGUMENTS> ...

where <FUNCTION1> and <FUNCTION2> are scripts where result of last expression is functions that take two and one arguments respectively.


copyq tab clipboard separator "," read 0 1 2

After eval() no arguments are treated as functions since it can access all arguments.

Arguments recognize escape sequences \n (new line), \t (tabulator character) and \\ (backslash).

Argument -e is identical to eval().

Argument - is replaced with data read from stdin.

Argument -- is skipped and all the remaining arguments are interpreted as they are (escape sequences are ignored and -e, -, -- are left unchanged).


Argument list parts ... and [...] are optional and can be omitted.

Comment /*set*/ in function declaration indicates a specific function overload.

Item row values in scripts always start from 0 (like array index), unlike in GUI, where row numbers start from 1 by default.


Returns version string.


Version string.

Return type


Example of the version string:

CopyQ Clipboard Manager v4.0.0-19-g93d95a7f
Qt: 5.15.2
KNotifications: 5.79.0
Compiler: GCC
Arch: x86_64-little_endian-lp64
OS: Fedora 33 (Workstation Edition)

Returns help string.


Help string.

Return type


/*search*/ help(searchString, ...)

Returns help for matched commands.


Help string.

Return type



Shows main window.

/*tab*/ show(tabName)

Shows tab.

showAt(x, y[, width, height])

Shows main window with given geometry.

/*cursor*/ showAt()

Shows main window under mouse cursor.

/*tab*/ showAt(x, y, width, height, tabName)

Shows tab with given geometry.


Hides main window.


Shows or hides main window.


true only if main window is being shown, otherwise false.

Return type


Opens context menu.

/*tab*/ menu(tabName[, maxItemCount[, x, y]])

Shows context menu for given tab.

This menu doesn’t show clipboard and doesn’t have any special actions.

Second argument is optional maximum number of items. The default value same as for tray (i.e. value of config('tray_items')).

Optional arguments x, y are coordinates in pixels on screen where menu should show up. By default menu shows up under the mouse cursor.


Exits server.


Disables or enables clipboard content storing.


Returns true only if clipboard storing is enabled.


true if clipboard storing is enabled, otherwise false.

Return type



Returns true only if main window is visible.


true if main window is visible, otherwise false.

Return type



Returns true only if main window has focus.


true if main window has focus, otherwise false.

Return type



Activates window that was focused before the main window.


Error() – Thrown if previous window cannot be activated.


Shows/hides item preview and returns true only if preview was visible.

Example – toggle the preview:

preview(false) || preview(true)

Returns the current text for filtering items in main window.


Current filter.

Return type


/*set*/ filter(filterText)

Sets text for filtering items in main window.


Ignores current clipboard content (used for automatic commands).

This does all of the below.

  • Skips any next automatic commands.

  • Omits changing window title and tray tool tip.

  • Won’t store content in clipboard tab.


Returns clipboard data for MIME type (default is text).

Pass argument "?" to list available MIME types.


Clipboard data.

Return type



Same as clipboard() for Linux mouse selection.


Selection data.

Return type



Returns true only if clipboard contains MIME type.


true if clipboad contans the format, otherwise false.

Return type



Same as hasClipboardFormat() for Linux mouse selection.


true if selection contans the format, otherwise false.

Return type



Returns true only in automatic command triggered by clipboard change.

This can be used to check if current automatic command was triggered by clipboard and not Linux mouse selection change.


true if current automatic command is triggered by clipboard change, otherwise false.

Return type



Sets clipboard plain text.

Same as copy(mimeText, text).


Error() – Thrown if clipboard fails to be set.

/*data*/ copy(mimeType, data, [mimeType, data]...)

Sets clipboard data.

This also sets mimeOwner format so automatic commands are not run on the new data and it’s not stored in clipboard tab.

All other data formats are dropped from clipboard.


Error() – Thrown if clipboard fails to be set.

Example – set both text and rich text:

copy(mimeText, 'Hello, World!',
     mimeHtml, '<p>Hello, World!</p>')
/*item*/ copy(Item)

Function override with an item argument.


Error() – Thrown if clipboard fails to be set.

Example – set both text and rich text:

var item = {}
item[mimeText] = 'Hello, World!'
item[mimeHtml] = '<p>Hello, World!</p>'
/*window*/ copy()

Sends Ctrl+C to current window.


Error() – Thrown if clipboard doesn’t change (clipboard is reset before sending the shortcut).


try {
} catch (e) {
    // Coping failed!
    popup('Coping Failed', e)
var text = str(clipboard())
popup('Copied Text', text)

Same as copy() for Linux mouse selection.

There is no copySelection() without parameters.


Error() – Thrown if selection fails to be set.


Pastes current clipboard.

This is basically only sending Shift+Insert shortcut to current window.

Correct functionality depends a lot on target application and window manager.


Error() – Thrown if paste operation fails.


try {
} catch (e) {
    // Pasting failed!
    popup('Pasting Failed', e)
popup('Pasting Successful')

Returns tab names.


Array with names of existing tab.

Return type

array of strings

/*set*/ tab(tabName)

Sets current tab for the script.

Example – select third item at index 2 from tab “Notes”:


Removes tab.

renameTab(tabName, newTabName)

Renames tab.


Returns path to icon for tab.


Path to icon for tab.

Return type


/*set*/ tabIcon(tabName, iconPath)

Sets icon for tab.


Unload tabs (i.e. items from memory).

If no tabs are specified, unloads all tabs.

If a tab is open and visible or has an editor open, it won’t be unloaded.


Array of successfully unloaded tabs.

Return type

array of strings


Force-unload tabs (i.e. items from memory).

If no tabs are specified, unloads all tabs.

Refresh button needs to be clicked to show the content of a force-unloaded tab.

If a tab has an editor open, the editor will be closed first even if it has unsaved changes.


Returns amount of items in current tab.


Item count.

Return type



Copies item in the row to clipboard.

Additionally, moves selected item to top depending on settings.


Copies next item from current tab to clipboard.


Copies previous item from current tab to clipboard.


Same as insert(0, ...).

insert(row, text|Item...)

Inserts new items to current tab.


Error() – Thrown if space for the items cannot be allocated.

remove(row, ...)

Removes items in current tab.


Error() – Thrown if some items cannot be removed.


Moves selected items to given row in same tab.

edit([row|text] ...)

Edits items in current tab.

Opens external editor if set, otherwise opens internal editor.


Same as clipboard().

/*row*/ read(mimeType, row, ...)

Returns concatenated data from items, or clipboard if row is negative.

Pass argument "?" to list available MIME types.


Concatenated data in the rows.

Return type


write(row, mimeType, data, [mimeType, data]...)

Inserts new item to current tab.


Error() – Thrown if space for the items cannot be allocated.

/*item*/ write(row, Item...)

Function override with one or more item arguments.

/*items*/ write(row, Item[])

Function override with item list argument.

change(row, mimeType, data, [mimeType, data]...)

Changes data in item in current tab.

If data is undefined the format is removed from item.

/*item*/ change(row, Item...)

Function override with one or more item arguments.

/*items*/ change(row, Item[])

Function override with item list argument.


Returns item separator (used when concatenating item data).


Current separator.

Return type


/*set*/ separator(separator)

Sets item separator for concatenating item data.


Opens action dialog.

/*row*/ action([rows, ..., ]command[, outputItemSeparator])

Runs command for items in current tab.

If rows arguments is specified, %1 in the command will be replaced with concatenated text of the rows.

If no rows are specified, %1 in the command will be replaced with clipboard text.

The concatenated text (if rows are defined) or clipboard text is also passed on standard input of the command.

Shows popup message for given time in milliseconds.

If time argument is set to -1, the popup is hidden only after mouse click.


Shows popup message with icon and buttons.

Each button can have script and data.

If button is clicked the notification is hidden and script is executed with the data passed as stdin.

The function returns immediately (doesn’t wait on user input).

Special arguments:

  • ‘.title’ - notification title

  • ‘.message’ - notification message (can contain basic HTML)

  • ‘.icon’ - notification icon (path to image or font icon)

  • ‘.id’ - notification ID - this replaces notification with same ID

  • ‘.time’ - duration of notification in milliseconds (default is -1, i.e. waits for mouse click)

  • ‘.button’ - adds button (three arguments: name, script and data)


      '.title', 'Example',
      '.message', 'Notification with button',
      '.button', 'Cancel', '', '',
      '.button', 'OK', 'copyq:popup(input())', 'OK Clicked'

Exports current tab into file.


Error() – Thrown if export fails.


Imports items from file to a new tab.


Error() – Thrown if import fails.


Exports all tabs and configuration into file.


Error() – Thrown if export fails.


Imports all tabs and configuration from file.


Error() – Thrown if import fails.


Returns help with list of available application options.

Users can change most of these options via the CopyQ GUI, mainly via the “Preferences” window.

These options are persisted within the [Options] section of a corresponding copyq.ini or copyq.conf file (copyq.ini is used on Windows).


Available options.

Return type


/*get*/ config(optionName)

Returns value of given application option.


Current value of the option.

Return type



Error() – Thrown if the option is invalid.

/*set*/ config(optionName, value)

Sets application option and returns new value.


New value of the option.

Return type



Error() – Thrown if the option is invalid.

/*set-more*/ config(optionName, value, ...)

Sets multiple application options and return list with values in format optionName=newValue.


New values of the options.

Return type



Error() – Thrown if there is an invalid option in which case it won’t set any options.


Toggles an option (true to false and vice versa) and returns the new value.


New value of the option.

Return type



Returns paths and flags used by the application.


Path for given identifier.

Return type


Example – print path to the configuration file:


Evaluates script and returns result.


Result of the last expression.


Evaluates script file and returns result of last expression in the script.

This is useful to move some common code out of commands.


Result of the last expression.

// File: c:/copyq/replace_clipboard_text.js
replaceClipboardText = function(replaceWhat, replaceWith)
    var text = str(clipboard())
    var newText = text.replace(replaceWhat, replaceWith)
    if (text != newText)
replaceClipboardText('secret', '*****')

Get current path.


Current path.

Return type


cd /tmp
copyq currentPath
# Prints: /tmp
/*set*/ currentPath(path)

Set current path.


Converts a value to string.

If ByteArray object is the argument, it assumes UTF8 encoding. To use different encoding, use :js:func`toUnicode`.


Value as string.

Return type



Returns standard input passed to the script.


Data on stdin.

Return type



Returns string for bytes with encoding detected by checking Byte Order Mark (BOM).


Value as string.

Return type


/*encoding*/ toUnicode(ByteArray, encodingName)

Returns string for bytes with given encoding.


Value as string.

Return type


fromUnicode(String, encodingName)

Returns encoded text.


Value as ByteArray.

Return type



Returns data for automatic commands or selected items.

If run from menu or using non-global shortcut the data are taken from selected items.

If run for automatic command the data are clipboard content.


Data for the format.

Return type


setData(mimeType, data)

Modifies data for data() and new clipboard item.

Next automatic command will get updated data.

This is also the data used to create new item from clipboard.


true if data were set, false if parsing data failed (in case of mimeItems).

Return type


Example – automatic command that adds a creation time data and tag to new items:

var timeFormat = 'yyyy-MM-dd hh:mm:ss'
setData('application/x-copyq-user-copy-time', dateString(timeFormat))
setData(mimeTags, 'copied: ' + time)

Example – menu command that adds a tag to selected items:

setData('application/x-copyq-tags', 'Important')

Removes data for data() and new clipboard item.


Returns formats available for data().


Array of data formats.

Return type

array of strings


Prints value to standard output.


Prints value to application log.


Returns application logs.


Application logs.

Return type



Aborts script evaluation.


Aborts script evaluation with nonzero exit code.


Focus tab without showing main window.

selectItems(row, ...)

Selects items in current tab.


Returns tab that was selected when script was executed.


Currently selected tab name, empty if called outside the main window context (see Selected Items).

Return type



Returns selected rows in current tab.


Currently selected rows, empty if called outside the main window context (see Selected Items).

Return type

array of ints


Returns data for given selected item.

The data can empty if the item was removed during execution of the script.


Currently selected items, empty if called outside the main window context (see Selected Items).

Return type

array of Item()

setSelectedItemData(index, Item)

Set data for given selected item.

Returns false only if the data cannot be set, usually if item was removed.

See Selected Items.


true if data were set, otherwise false.

Return type



Returns data for all selected items.

Some data can be empty if the item was removed during execution of the script.


Currently selected item data, empty if called outside the main window context (see Selected Items).

Return type

array of Item()


Set data to all selected items.

Some data may not be set if the item was removed during execution of the script.

See Selected Items.


Returns current row in current tab.

See Selected Items.


Current row, -1 if called outside the main window context (see Selected Items).

Return type



Returns text with special HTML characters escaped.


Escaped HTML text.

Return type



Returns deserialized object from serialized items.


Deserialize item.

Return type



Returns serialized item.


Serialize item.

Return type



Returns an item in current tab.


Item data for the row.

Return type


Example – show data of the first item in a tab in popups:

tab('work')  // change current tab for the script to 'work'
var item = getItem(0)
for (var format in item) {
    var data = item[format]
    popup(format, data)
setItem(row, text|Item)

Inserts item to current tab.

Same as insert(row, something).


Returns base64-encoded data.


Base64-encoded data.

Return type



Returns base64-decoded data.


Base64-decoded data.

Return type



Returns MD5 checksum of data.


MD5 checksum of the data.

Return type



Returns SHA1 checksum of data.


SHA1 checksum of the data.

Return type



Returns SHA256 checksum of data.


SHA256 checksum of the data.

Return type



Returns SHA512 checksum of data.


SHA512 checksum of the data.

Return type


open(url, ...)

Tries to open URLs in appropriate applications.


true if all URLs were successfully opened, otherwise false.

Return type


execute(argument, ..., null, stdinData, ...)

Executes a command.

All arguments after null are passed to standard input of the command.

If argument is function it will be called with array of lines read from stdout whenever available.


Finished command properties or undefined if executable was not found or could not be executed.

Return type

FinishedCommand() or undefined

Example – create item for each line on stdout:

execute('tail', '-f', 'some_file.log',
        function(lines) { add.apply(this, lines) })

Returns object for the finished command or undefined on failure.

String currentWindowTitle()

Returns window title of currently focused window.


Current window title.

Return type



Shows messages or asks user for input.

Arguments are names and associated values.

Special arguments:

  • ‘.title’ - dialog title

  • ‘.icon’ - dialog icon (see below for more info)

  • ‘.style’ - Qt style sheet for dialog

  • ‘.height’, ‘.width’, ‘.x’, ‘.y’ - dialog geometry

  • ‘.label’ - dialog message (can contain basic HTML)


Value or values from accepted dialog or undefined if dialog was canceled.

  '.title', 'Command Finished',
  '.label', 'Command <b>successfully</b> finished.'

Other arguments are used to get user input.

var amount = dialog('.title', 'Amount?', 'Enter Amount', 'n/a')
var filePath = dialog('.title', 'File?', 'Choose File', new File('/home'))

If multiple inputs are required, object is returned.

var result = dialog(
  'Enter Amount', 'n/a',
  'Choose File', new File(str(currentPath))
print('Amount: ' + result['Enter Amount'] + '\n')
print('File: ' + result['Choose File'] + '\n')

A combo box with an editable custom text/value can be created by passing an array argument. The default text can be provided using .defaultChoice (by default it’s the first item).

var text = dialog('.defaultChoice', '', 'Select', ['a', 'b', 'c'])

A combo box with non-editable text can be created by prefixing the label argument with .combo:.

var text = dialog('.combo:Select', ['a', 'b', 'c'])

An item list can be created by prefixing the label argument with .list:.

var items = ['a', 'b', 'c']
var selected_index = dialog('.list:Select', items)
if (selected_index !== undefined)
    print('Selected item: ' + items[selected_index])

Icon for custom dialog can be set from icon font, file path or theme. Icons from icon font can be copied from icon selection dialog in Command dialog or dialog for setting tab icon (in menu ‘Tabs/Change Tab Icon’).

var search = dialog(
  '.title', 'Search',
  '.icon', 'search', // Set icon 'search' from theme.
  'Search', ''

Opens menu with given items and returns selected item or an empty string.


Selected item or empty string if menu was canceled.

Return type


var selectedText = menuItems('x', 'y', 'z')
if (selectedText)
    popup('Selected', selectedText)
/*items*/ menuItems(items[])

Opens menu with given items and returns index of selected item or -1.

Menu item label is taken from mimeText format an icon is taken from mimeIcon format.


Selected item index or -1 if menu was canceled.

Return type


var items = selectedItemsData()
var selectedIndex = menuItems(items)
if (selectedIndex != -1)
    popup('Selected', items[selectedIndex][mimeText])

Returns array with names of all custom user options.

These options can be managed by various commands, much like cookies are used by web applications in a browser. A typical usage is to remember options lastly selected by user in a custom dialog displayed by a command.

These options are persisted within the [General] section of a corresponding copyq-scripts.ini file. But if an option is named like group/..., then it is written to a section named [group] instead. By grouping options like this, we can avoid potential naming collisions with other commands.


Available custom options.

Return type

array of strings

/*get*/ Value settings(optionName)

Returns value for a custom user option.


Current value of the custom options, undefined if the option was not set.

/*set*/ settings(optionName, value)

Sets value for a new custom user option or overrides existing one.


Returns text representation of current date and time.

See Date QML Type for details on formatting date and time.


Current date and time as string.

Return type



var now = dateString('yyyy-MM-dd HH:mm:ss')

Return list of all commands.


Array of all commands.

Return type

array of Command()


Clear previous commands and set new ones.

To add new command:

var cmds = commands()
        name: 'New Command',
        automatic: true,
        input: 'text/plain',
        cmd: 'copyq: popup("Clipboard", input())'
Command[] importCommands(String)

Return list of commands from exported commands text.


Array of commands loaded from a file path.

Return type

array of Command()

String exportCommands(Command[])

Return exported command text.


Serialized commands.

Return type



Opens Command dialog, adds commands and waits for user to confirm the dialog.

NetworkReply networkGet(url)

Sends HTTP GET request.


HTTP reply.

Return type


NetworkReply networkPost(url, postData)

Sends HTTP POST request.


HTTP reply.

Return type


NetworkReply networkGetAsync(url)

Same as networkGet() but the request is asynchronous.

The request is handled asynchronously and may not be finished until you get a property of the reply.


HTTP reply.

Return type


NetworkReply networkPostAsync(url, postData)

Same as networkPost() but the request is asynchronous.

The request is handled asynchronously and may not be finished until you get a property of the reply.


HTTP reply.

Return type



Returns value of environment variable with given name.


Value of the environment variable.

Return type


setEnv(name, value)

Sets environment variable with given name to given value.


true if the variable was set, otherwise false.

Return type



Wait for given time in milliseconds.

afterMilliseconds(time, function)

Executes function after given time in milliseconds.


Returns list of available screen names.


Available screen names.

Return type

array of strings

screenshot(format='png'[, screenName])

Returns image data with screenshot.

Default screenName is name of the screen with mouse cursor.

You can list valid values for screenName with screenNames().


Image data.

Return type



copy('image/png', screenshot())
screenshotSelect(format='png'[, screenName])

Same as screenshot() but allows to select an area on screen.


Image data.

Return type



Returns list of currently pressed keyboard modifiers which can be ‘Ctrl’, ‘Shift’, ‘Alt’, ‘Meta’.


Currently pressed keyboard modifiers.

Return type

array of strings


Returns current mouse pointer position (x, y coordinates on screen).


Current mouse pointer coordinates.

Return type

array of ints (with two elements)

setPointerPosition(x, y)

Moves mouse pointer to given coordinates on screen.


Error() – Thrown if the pointer position couldn’t be set (for example, unsupported on current the system).


Get current tray and window icon color name.


Current icon color.

Return type


/*set*/ iconColor(colorName)

Set current tray and window icon color name (examples: ‘orange’, ‘#ffa500’, ‘#09f’).

Resets color if color name is empty string.


Error() – Thrown if the color name is empty or invalid.

// Flash icon for few moments to get attention.
var color = iconColor()
for (var i = 0; i < 10; ++i) {

See also



Get current tray and window icon tag text.


Current icon tag.

Return type


/*set*/ iconTag(tag)

Set current tray and window tag text.


Get current tray and window tag color name.


Current icon tag color.

Return type


/*set*/ iconTagColor(colorName)

Set current tray and window tag color name.


Error() – Thrown if the color name is invalid.


Loads theme from an INI file.


Error() – Thrown if the file cannot be read or is not valid INI format.


Called when clipboard or Linux mouse selection changes.

Default implementation is:

if (!hasData()) {
} else if (runAutomaticCommands()) {
} else {

Called when clipboard or Linux mouse selection changes by a CopyQ instance.

Owned clipboard data contains mimeOwner format.

Default implementation calls updateClipboardData().


Called when hidden clipboard or Linux mouse selection changes.

Hidden clipboard data contains mimeHidden format set to 1.

Default implementation calls updateClipboardData().


Called when clipboard or Linux mouse selection changes but data remained the same.

Default implementation does nothing.


Called when application starts.


Called just before application exists.


Executes automatic commands on current data.

If an executed command calls ignore() or have “Remove Item” or “Transform” check box enabled, following automatic commands won’t be executed and the function returns false. Otherwise true is returned.


true if clipboard data should be stored, otherwise false.

Return type



Clear clipboard visibility in GUI.

Default implementation is:

if (isClipboard()) {

Update main window title and tool tip from current data.

Called when clipboard changes.


Sets current clipboard data for tray menu, window title and notification.

Default implementation is:

if (isClipboard()) {

Set main window title and tool tip.


Synchronize current data from clipboard to Linux mouse selection.

Called automatically from clipboard monitor process if option copy_clipboard is enabled.

Default implementation calls provideSelection().


Synchronize current data from Linux mouse selection to clipboard.

Called automatically from clipboard monitor process if option copy_selection is enabled.

Default implementation calls provideClipboard().


Returns list of clipboard format to save automatically.


Formats to get and save automatically from clipboard.

Return type

array of strings

Override the funtion, for example, to save only plain text:

global.clipboardFormatsToSave = function() {
    return ["text/plain"]

Or to save additional formats:

var originalFunction = global.clipboardFormatsToSave;
global.clipboardFormatsToSave = function() {
    return originalFunction().concat([

Save current data (depends on mimeOutputTab).


Returns true only if some non-empty data can be returned by data().

Empty data is combination of whitespace and null characters or some internal formats (mimeWindowTitle, mimeClipboardMode etc.)


true if there are some data, otherwise false.

Return type



Show notification for current data.


Hide notification for current data.


Sets clipboard data for menu commands.


List available styles for style option.


Style identifiers.

Return type

array of strings

To change or update style use:

config("style", styleName)


class ByteArray()

Wrapper for QByteArray Qt class.

See QByteArray.

ByteArray is used to store all item data (image data, HTML and even plain text).

Use str() to convert it to string. Strings are usually more versatile. For example to concatenate two items, the data need to be converted to strings first.

var text = str(read(0)) + str(read(1))
class File()

Wrapper for QFile Qt class.

See QFile.

To open file in different modes use:

  • open() - read/write

  • openReadOnly() - read only

  • openWriteOnly() - write only, truncates the file

  • openAppend() - write only, appends to the file

Following code reads contents of “README.md” file from current directory:

var f = new File('README.md')
if (!f.openReadOnly())
  throw 'Failed to open the file: ' + f.errorString()
var bytes = f.readAll()

Following code writes to a file in home directory:

var dataToWrite = 'Hello, World!'
var filePath = Dir().homePath() + '/copyq.txt'
var f = new File(filePath)
if (!f.openWriteOnly() || f.write(dataToWrite) == -1)
  throw 'Failed to save the file: ' + f.errorString()

// Always flush the data and close the file,
// before opening the file in other application.
class Dir()

Wrapper for QDir Qt class.

Use forward slash as path separator, for example “D:/Documents/”.

See QDir.

class TemporaryFile()

Wrapper for QTemporaryFile Qt class.

See QTemporaryFile.

var f = new TemporaryFile()
popup('New temporary file', f.fileName())

To open file in different modes, use same open methods as for File.

class Item()

Object with MIME types of an item.

Each property is MIME type with data.


var item = {}
item[mimeText] = 'Hello, World!'
item[mimeHtml] = '<p>Hello, World!</p>'
write(mimeItems, pack(item))
class ItemSelection()

List of items from given tab.

An item in the list represents the same item in tab even if it is moved to a different row.

New items in the tab are not added automatically into the selection.

To create new empty selection use ItemSelection() then add items with select*() methods.

Example - move matching items to the top of the tab:


Example - remove all items from given tab but keep pinned items:


Example - modify items containing “needle” text:

var sel = ItemSelection().select(/needle/, mimeText);
for (var index = 0; index < sel.length; ++index) {
    var item = sel.itemAtIndex(index);
    item[mimeItemNotes] = 'Contains needle';

Example - selection with new items only:

var sel = ItemSelection().selectAll()
add("New Item 1")
add("New Item 2")

Tab name


Number of filtered items in the selection


Select all items in the tab.



Return type


ItemSelection.select(regexp[, mimeType])

Select additional items matching the regular expression.

If regexp is a valid regular expression and mimeType is not set, this selects items with matching text.

If regexp matches empty strings and mimeType is set, this selects items containing the MIME type.

If regexp is undefined and mimeType is set, this select items not containing the MIME type.



Return type



Select only items that can be removed.



Return type



Select only items not in the selection.



Return type



Deselect items at given indexes in the selection.



Return type



Deselect items in other selection.



Return type



Deselects all and selects only the items which were selected when the command was triggered.

See Selected Items.



Return type



Delete all items in the selection (if possible).



Return type



Move all items in the selection to the target row.



Return type



Clone the selection object.


cloned object

Return type



Returns selected rows.


Selected rows

Return type

array of ints


Returns item data at given index in the selection.


Item data

Return type


ItemSelection.setItemAtIndex(index, Item)

Sets data to the item at given index in the selection.



Return type



Return list of data from selected items.


Selected item data

Return type

array of Item()


Set data for selected items.



Return type



Return list of data from selected items containing specified MIME type.


Selected item data containing only the format

Return type

array of Item()

ItemSelection.setItemsFormat(mimeType, data)

Set data for given MIME type for the selected items.



Return type


class FinishedCommand()

Properties of finished command.


Standard output


Standard error output


Exit code

class NetworkReply()

Received network reply object.


Reply data


HTTP status


Error string (set only if an error occurred)


URL for redirection (set only if redirection is needed)


Reply headers (array of pairs with header name and header content)


True only if request has been completed, false only for unfinished asynchronous requests

class Command()

Wrapper for a command (from Command dialog).

Properties are same as members of Command struct.



Array for accessing arguments passed to current function or the script (arguments[0] is the script itself).


Object allowing to modify global scope which contains all functions like copy() or add().

This is useful for Script Commands.


Allows some logging and debugging.

// Print a message if COPYQ_LOG_LEVEL=DEBUG
// environment variable is set
    'Supported console properties/functions:',
console.warn('Changing clipboard...')

// Elapsed time

// Ensure a condition is true before continuing
console.assert(str(clipboard()) == 'TEST')

MIME Types

Item and clipboard can provide multiple formats for their data. Type of the data is determined by MIME type.

Here is list of some common and builtin (start with application/x-copyq-) MIME types.

These MIME types values are assigned to global variables prefixed with mime.


Content for following types is UTF-8 encoded.


Data contains plain text content. Value: ‘text/plain’.


Data contains HTML content. Value: ‘text/html’.


Data contains list of links to files, web pages etc. Value: ‘text/uri-list’.


Current window title for copied clipboard. Value: ‘application/x-copyq-owner-window-title’.


Serialized items. Value: ‘application/x-copyq-item’.


Data contains notes for item. Value: ‘application/x-copyq-item-notes’.


Data contains icon for item. Value: ‘application/x-copyq-item-icon’.


If available, the clipboard was set from CopyQ (from script or copied items). Value: ‘application/x-copyq-owner’.

Such clipboard is ignored in CopyQ, i.e. it won’t be stored in clipboard tab and automatic commands won’t be executed on it.


Contains selection if data is from Linux mouse selection. Value: ‘application/x-copyq-clipboard-mode’.


Current tab name when invoking command from main window. Value: ‘application/x-copyq-current-tab’.

Following command print the tab name when invoked from main window:

copyq data application/x-copyq-current-tab
copyq selectedTab

Selected items when invoking command from main window. Value: ‘application/x-copyq-selected-items’.


Current item when invoking command from main window. Value: ‘application/x-copyq-current-item’.


If set to 1, the clipboard or item content will be hidden in GUI. Value: ‘application/x-copyq-hidden’.

This won’t hide notes and tags.

Example – clear window title and tool tip:

copyq copy application/x-copyq-hidden 1 plain/text "This is secret"

Application or global shortcut which activated the command. Value: ‘application/x-copyq-shortcut’.

var shortcut = data(mimeShortcut)
popup("Shortcut Pressed", shortcut)

Item color (same as the one used by themes). Value: ‘application/x-copyq-color’.


bg - #000099

Name of the tab where to store new item. Value: ‘application/x-copyq-output-tab’.

The clipboard data will be stored in tab with this name after all automatic commands are run.

Clear or remove the format to omit storing the data.

Example – automatic command that avoids storing clipboard data:


Valid only in automatic commands.

Selected Items

Functions that get and set data for selected items and current tab are only available if called from Action dialog or from a command which is in menu.

Selected items are indexed from top to bottom as they appeared in the current tab at the time the command is executed.

Linux Mouse Selection

In many application on Linux, if you select a text with mouse, it’s possible to paste it with middle mouse button.

The text is stored separately from normal clipboard content.

On non-Linux system, functions that support mouse selection will do nothing (for example copySelection()) or return undefined (in case of selection()).


Use plugins object to access functionality of plugins.


Returns synchronization path for current tab (mimeCurrentTab).

var path = plugins.itemsync.selectedTabPath()
var baseName = str(data(plugins.itemsync.mimeBaseName))
var absoluteFilePath = Dir(path).absoluteFilePath(baseName)
// NOTE: Known file suffix/extension can be missing in the full path.
class plugins.itemsync.tabPaths()

Object that maps tab name to synchronization path.

var tabName = 'Downloads'
var path = plugins.itemsync.tabPaths[tabName]

MIME type for accessing base name (without full path).

Known file suffix/extension can be missing in the base name.


List of user-defined tags.

plugins.itemtags.tags(row, ...)

List of tags for items in given rows.

plugins.itemtags.tag(tagName[, rows, ...])

Add given tag to items in given rows or selected items.

See Selected Items.

plugins.itemtags.untag(tagName[, rows, ...])

Remove given tag from items in given rows or selected items.

See Selected Items.

plugins.itemtags.clearTags([rows, ...])

Remove all tags from items in given rows or selected items.

See Selected Items.

plugins.itemtags.hasTag(tagName[, rows, ...])

Return true if given tag is present in any of items in given rows or selected items.

See Selected Items.


MIME type for accessing list of tags.

Tags are separated by comma.

plugins.itempinned.isPinned(rows, ...)

Returns true only if any item in given rows is pinned.

plugins.itempinned.pin(rows, ...)

Pin items in given rows or selected items or new item created from clipboard (if called from automatic command).

plugins.itempinned.unpin(rows, ...)

Unpin items in given rows or selected items.


Presence of the format in an item indicates that it is pinned.

Build from Source Code

This page describes how to build the application from source code.

Get the Source Code

Download the source code from git repository

git clone https://github.com/hluk/CopyQ.git

or download the latest source code archive from:

Install Dependencies

The build requires:


On Ubuntu you can install all build dependencies with:

sudo apt install \
  build-essential \
  cmake \
  extra-cmake-modules \
  git \
  libkf5notifications-dev \
  libqt5svg5 \
  libqt5svg5-dev \
  libqt5waylandclient5-dev \
  libqt5x11extras5-dev \
  libwayland-dev \
  libxfixes-dev \
  libxtst-dev \
  qtbase5-private-dev \
  qtdeclarative5-dev \
  qttools5-dev \
  qttools5-dev-tools \
  qtwayland5 \

Fedora / RHEL / Centos

On Fedora and derivatives you can install all build dependencies with:

sudo yum install \
  cmake \
  extra-cmake-modules \
  gcc-c++ \
  git \
  kf5-knotifications-devel \
  libSM-devel \
  libXfixes-devel \
  libXtst-devel \
  qt5-qtbase-devel \
  qt5-qtbase-private-devel \
  qt5-qtdeclarative-devel \
  qt5-qtsvg-devel \
  qt5-qttools-devel \
  qt5-qtwayland-devel \
  qt5-qtx11extras-devel \

Build and Install

Build the source code with CMake and make or using an IDE of your choice (see next sections).

cd CopyQ
make install

Qt Creator

Qt Creator is IDE focused on developing C++ and Qt applications.

Install Qt Creator from your package manager or by selecting it from Qt installation utility.

Set up Qt library, C++ compiler and CMake.

See also

Adding Kits

Open file CMakeLists.txt in repository clone to create new project.

Visual Studio

You need to install Qt for given version Visual Studio.

In Visual Studio 2017 open folder containing repository clone using “File - Open - Folder”.

In older versions, create solution manually by running cmake -G "Visual Studio 14 2015 Win64" . (select appropriate generator name) in repository clone folder.

Building and Packaging for OS X

On OS X, required Qt 5 libraries and utilities can be easily installed with Homebrew.

cd CopyQ
git -C "utils/github/homebrew" init .
git -C "utils/github/homebrew" add .
git -C "utils/github/homebrew" commit -m "Initial"
brew tap copyq/kde utils/github/homebrew/
brew install qt5 copyq/kde/kf5-knotifications

Build with the following commands:

cmake -DCMAKE_PREFIX_PATH="$(brew --prefix qt5)" .
cmake --build .

This will produce a self-contained application bundle CopyQ.app which can then be copied or moved into /Applications.

Fixing Bugs and Adding Features

This page describes how to build, fix and improve the source code.

Making Changes

Pull requests are welcome at github project page.

For more info see Creating a pull request from a fork.

Try to keep the code style consistent with the existing code.

Build the Debug Version

mkdir build
cd build

Run Tests

You can run automated tests if the application is built either in debug mode, with CMake flag -DWITH_TESTS=ON.

Run the tests with following command.

copyq tests

This command will execute all test cases in new special CopyQ session so that user configuration, tabs and items are not modified. It’s better to close any other CopyQ session before running tests since they can affect test results.

While running tests there must be no keyboard and mouse interaction. Preferably you can execute the tests in separate virtual environment. On Linux you can run the tests on virtual X11 server with xvfb-run.

xvfb-run sh -c 'openbox & sleep 1; copyq tests'

Test invocation examples:

  • Print help for tests: copyq tests --help

  • Run specific tests: copyq tests commandHelp commandVersion

  • Run specific tests for a plugin: copyq tests 'PLUGINS:pinned' isPinned

  • Run tests only for specific plugins: copyq tests 'PLUGINS:pinned|tags'

  • List tests: copyq tests -functions

  • List tests for a plugin: copyq tests PLUGINS:tags -functions

  • Less verbose tests: copyq tests -silent

  • Slower GUI tests: COPYQ_TESTS_KEYS_WAIT=1000 COPYQ_TESTS_KEY_DELAY=50 copyq tests editItems

Source Code Overview

This page describes application processes and source code.

Applications, Frameworks and Libraries

The application is written in C++17 and uses Qt framework.

Source code can be build either with CMake.

Most icons in the application are taken from theme by default (which currently works only on Linux) with fallback to built-in icons provided by FontAwesome.

The application logo and icons were created in Inkscape (icon source is in src/images/icon.svg).

Application Processes

There are these system processes related to CopyQ:

  • Main GUI application

  • Clipboard monitor - executes automatic clipboard commands

  • Menu command filter - enables/hides custom menu items based on “Filter” field in menu commands

  • Display command - executes display commands as needed

  • Clipboard and X11 selection owner and synchronization - provides clipboard data; launched as needed

  • Multiple clients - anything run by user from Action dialog or triggered as menu, automatic or global-shortcut command

Main GUI Application

The main GUI application (or server) can be executed by running copyq binary without attributes (session name can be optionally specified on command line).

It creates local server allowing communication with clipboard monitor process and other client processes.

Each user can run multiple main application processes each with unique session name (default name is empty).

Clipboard Monitor

Clipboard monitoring happens in separate process because otherwise it would block GUI (in Qt clipboard needs to be accessed in main GUI thread). The process is allowed to crash or loop indefinitely due to bugs on some platforms.

Setting and retrieving clipboard can still happen in GUI thread (copying and pasting in various GUI widgets) but it’s preferred to send and receive clipboard data using monitor process.

The monitor process is launched as soon as GUI application starts and is restarted whenever it doesn’t respond to keep-alive requests.

Clients and Scripting

Scripting language is Qt Script (mostly same syntax and functions as JavaScript).

API is described in Scripting API.

A script can be started by passing arguments to copyq. For example: copyq "1+1"

After script finishes, the server sends back output of last command and exit code (non-zero if script crashes).

copyq eval 'read(0,1,2)' # prints first three items in list
copyq eval 'fail()' # exit code will be non-zero

While script is running, it can send print requests to client.

copyq eval 'print("Hello, "); print("World!\n")'

Scripts can ask for stdin from client.

copyq eval 'var client_stdin = input()'

The script run in current directory of client process.

copyq eval 'Dir().absolutePath()'
copyq eval 'execute("ls", "-l").stdout'

Single function call where all arguments are numbers or strings can be executed by passing function name and function arguments on command line. Following commands are equal.

copyq eval 'copy("Hello, World!")'
copyq copy "Hello, World!"

Getting application version or help mustn’t require the server to be running.

copyq help
copyq version

Scripts run in separate thread and communicate with main thread by calling methods on an object of ScriptableProxy class. If called from non-main thread, these methods invoke a slot on an QObject in main thread and pass it a function object which simply calls the method again.

bool ScriptableProxy::loadTab(const QString &tabName)
    // This section is wrapped in an macro so to remove duplicate code.
    if (!m_inMainThread) {
        // Callable object just wraps the lambda so it's possible to send it to a slot.
        auto callable = createCallable([&]{ return loadTab(tabName); });

        m_inMainThread = true;
        QMetaObject::invokeMethod(m_wnd, "invoke", Qt::BlockingQueuedConnection, Q_ARG(Callable*, &callable));
        m_inMainThread = false;

        return callable.result();

    // Now it's possible to call method on an object in main thread.
    return m_wnd->loadTab(tabName);

Platform-dependent Code

Code for various platforms is stored in src/platform.

This leverages amount of #ifs and similar preprocessor directives in common code.

Each supported platform implements PlatformNativeInterface and platformNativeInterface().

The implementations can contain:

  • Creating Qt application objects

  • Clipboard handling (for clipboard monitor)

  • Focusing window and getting window titles

  • Getting system paths

  • Setting “autostart” option

  • Handling global shortcuts (note: this part is in qxt/)

For unsupported platforms there is simple implementation to get started.


Plugins are built as dynamic libraries which are loaded from runtime plugin directory (platform-dependent) after application start.

Code is stored in plugins.

Plugins implement interfaces from src/item/itemwidget.h.

To create new plugin just duplicate and rewrite an existing plugin. You can build the plugin with make {PLUGIN_NAME}.

Continuous Integration (CI)

The application binaries and packages are built and tested on multiple CI servers.

  • GitHub Actions
    • Builds packages for OS X.

    • Builds and runs tests for Linux binaries.

  • GitLab CI
    • Builds and runs tests for Ubuntu 16.04 binaries.

    • Screenshots are taken while GUI tests are running. These are available if a test fails.

  • AppVeyor
    • Builds installers and portable packages for Windows.

    • Provides downloads for recent commits.

    • Release build are based on gcc-compiled binaries (Visual Studio builds are also available).

  • OBS Linux Packages
    • Builds release packages for various Linux distributions.

  • Beta OBS Linux Packages
    • Builds beta and unstable packages for various Linux distributions.

  • Coveralls
    • Contains coverage report from tests run with GitHub Actions.


Translations can be done either via Weblate (preferred) or by using Qt utilities.

For explanation for some frequent words see Glossary.

Translating Keyboard Accelerators

Some texts contain single & character that is not visible in UI and is used to mark the following character as keyboard accelerator (the character is usually underlined in UI). This is used to quickly access labels, menu items etc. with keyboard shortcut.

E.g. &File menu item can be accesses with Alt+F shortcut on most systems.

If multiple UI elements have the same keyboard accelerator, associated shortcut cycles through them (if pressed multiple times). It’s better to avoid this by defining unique accelerator, but that’s not always easy.

If unsure, use the original one enclosed in parentheses, e.g. label For&mat: can be translated to simplified Chinese as 格式(&M):.

Writing Translatable Code

All GUI strings should be translatable. This is indicated in code with tr("Some GUI text", "Hints for translators").

Adding New Language

To add new language for the application follow these steps.

  1. Create new translation file with utils/lupdate.sh translations/copyq_<LANGUAGE>.ts.

  2. Add new language file to Git repository.

  3. Translate with Weblate service or locally with linguist translations/copyq_<LANGUAGE>.ts.

Updating Translations

To push and pull changes from Weblate safely, avoiding merge conflicts, you can use Weblate Client.

Install Weblate Client:

pip3 install -U --user wlc

Lock and push changes from Weblate (remember to unlock later):

wlc lock
wlc push
git pull

Update and push new translations to repository:

git add translations/
git commit -m "Update translations"
git push

Pull changes to Weblate and unlock:

wlc pull
wlc unlock

Text Encoding

This page serves as concept for adding additional CopyQ command line switch to print and read texts in UTF-8 (i.e. without using system encoding).

Every time the bytes are read from a command (standard output or arguments from client) the input is expected to be either just series of bytes or text in system encoding (possibly Latin1 on Windows). But texts/strings in CopyQ and in clipboard are UTF-8 formatted (except some MIME types with specified encoding).

When reading system-encoded text (MIME starts with “text/”) CopyQ re-encodes the data from system encoding to UTF-8. That’s not a problem if the received data is really in system encoding. But if you send data from Perl with the UTF-8 switch, CopyQ must also know that UTF-8 is used instead of system encoding.

The same goes for other way. CopyQ sends texts back to client or to a command in system encoding so it needs to convert these texts from UTF-8.

As for the re-encoding part, Qt does nice job transforming characters from UTF-8 but of course for lot of characters in UTF-8 there is no alternative in Latin1 and other encodings.

Customize and Build the Windows Installer


Most of the translations for the installer are taken directly from the installer generator Inno Setup (http://www.jrsoftware.org/isinfo.php).

You can add translations for CopyQ-specific messages in shared/copyq.iss. Just copy lines starting with en. from [Custom Messages] section and change prefix to de. (for german translation).

Modify and Test Installation

Normally the installation file is generated automatically by Appveyor which executes appveyor-after-build.bat to generate portable app folder from build files and runs Inno Setup (the last line).

You don’t have to build the app again, you just need:

  1. Download the unzipped portable version of the app.

  2. Clone of this repository.

  3. Install Inno Setup.

  4. Open shared/copyq.iss in Inno Setup and add few lines at the beginning of the file.

#define AppVersion 2.8.1-beta
#define Source C:\path\to\CopyQ-repository-clone
#define Destination C:\path\to\CopyQ-portable

You should now be able to modify the file in Inno Setup and run it easily.