Perhaps surprisingly, the GNOME desktop clipboard—as supplied with Ubuntu—is rather basic. You can only copy and paste single items at a time. Keeping a clipboard history—where several items can be held in the clipboard at one time—can sometimes be useful, and is one of those features that, once tried, is hard to give-up. Luckily the KDE desktop project comes to the rescue with Klipper, a desktop applet that also works under GNOME.40
To install it, use Synaptic to search for and install klipper. Be sure to select the version of Klipper that's officially supported by the Ubuntu project—you can tell if this is the case because there will be an Ubuntu logo alongside its entry in Synaptic's list of packages.
Once installed, you'll need to make Klipper start when you login, so click System ^ Preferences ^ Sessions. In the program window that appears, ensure the Startup Programs tab is selected, and click the Add
40. There is a Klipper-like project for the GNOME desktop—Glipper. Unfortunately it didn't function correctly with Ubuntu 8.04 in my tests, and selected text was added incorrectly so that the history list became prematurely full. Feel free to try Glipper, however— the package is called glipper and, once installed, you can start the background demon by typing /usr/lib/glipper/glipper. Then right-click a panel to add the Glipper applet (it's referred to in the applet list as Clipboard manager). If you intend to keep using Glipper, add it to your startup items, as described in the tip above. Bear in mind that Klipper and Glipper can't work alongside each other.
button. In both the Name and Command fields, type klipper. Leave the Comment field empty. Then hit OK and log out and then back in. You should now find the Klipper icon in the notification area.
Using Klipper is simplicity itself. It records any text that is copied/cut into the clipboard, along with any text that is selected using click-and-drag using the mouse. You can then select from its history of cuttings by clicking the icon, which will insert that cutting into the clipboard so you can paste it as usual by clicking Edit ^ Paste within an application. Klipper remembers the cut/copy history even after reboots. You can boost Klipboard's memory beyond the default seven entries by right-clicking it and selecting Configure Klipper. Then click and drag the Clipboard history size slider.
To turn off the perhaps less-than-useful facility of recording click-and-drag selections to the clipboard, open Klipper's configuration options, as described above, and put a check in Ignore selection. This can avoid several seemingly blank entries being added to Klipper's history list. When configuring Klipper, bear in mind that many of its options and program features only apply when the KDE desktop is being used. However, the core functionality works fine in the GNOME desktop.
See also Tip 244, on page 285, which explains how to utilize the cut and paste function at the command-line.
Was this article helpful?