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Full toolkit agnostic cross-platform clipboard access




klembord is a python 3 package that provides full clipboard access on supported platforms (Linux and Windows for now, though this may change in the future). klembord has minimal dependencies, depending only on platform specific apis, which means it can be used with any graphics toolkit or without a toolkit at all.

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Install and dependencies

klembord uses python-xlib under Linux and ctypes on Windows. When installing with pip dependencies will be taken care of automatically.

pip install klembord

That's it!


>>> import klembord
>>> klembord.init()
>>> klembord.get_text()
'example clipboard text'
>>>klembord.set_text('some string')

klembord also includes convenience functions for working with rich text:

>>> klembord.get_with_rich_text()
('example html', '<i>example html</i>')
>>> klembord.set_with_rich_text('plain text', '<b>plain text</b>')

Rich text function set platform's unicode and html formats.

On Linux accessing selections other than CLIPBOARD is easy, just pass selection name to init:


If you need access to other targets/formats you can use get and set functions:

>>> content = {'UTF8_STRING': 'string'.encode(), 'text/html': '<s>string</s>'.encode()}
>>> klembord.set(content)
>>> klembord.get(['UTF8_STRING', 'text/html', 'application/rtf'])
{'UTF8_STRING': b'string', 'text/html': b'<s>string</s>', 'application/rtf': None}

>>> from collections import OrderedDict
>>> content = OrderedDict()
>>> content['HTML Format'] = klembord.wrap_html('<a href="">Example</a>')
>>> content['CF_UNICODETEXT'] = 'Example'.encode('utf-16le')
>>> klembord.set(content)
>>> klembord.get(['HTML Format', 'CF_RTF'])
{'HTML Format': b'<a href="">Example</a>', 'CF_RTF': None}

These examples show manual way of setting clipboard with rich text. Unlike convenience functions get and set takes dicts of bytes as arguments. Key should be target/format string and value binary data or encoded string. Every given format/target will be set.

The first example is Linux usage. Most targets are encoded with utf8 and it's all fairly simple. The second shows usage on Windows. Now windows retrieves formats in order they were defined, so using collections.OrderedDict is a good idea to ensure that say html format takes precedence over plain text. CF_UNICODE, the unicode text format is always encoded in utf-16le. If you set this target with utf8 you'll get unknown characters when pasting. Another thing to note is the wrap_html function. While setting plain html works on Linux, Windows uses it's own (unnecessary) format. This function takes html fragment string and returns formatted bytes object. wrap_html is only available on Windows.

To list available targets/formats:

>>> klembord.get(['TARGETS'])

Clipboard persistence on Linux

As of version 0.1.3 klembord supports storing content in clipboard after application exit. You do need to call explicitly. Note that this method raises AttributeError on Windows.

Selection object

If you need to access PRIMARY selection at the same time as clipboard or you prefer working with objects rather than module level functions, you can use Selection objects.

from klembord import Selection

These objects have the same methods as module level functions, with klembord.init(SELECTION) being the Selection.__init__(SELECTION).

Why klembord

klembord means clipboard in dutch. Since every reasonable name in english was taken on pypi, I decided to cosult a dictionary. Now you might think since there're so many packages for clipboard access klembord is unnecessary. Alas, all the other packages only work with plain text, depend on heavy toolkits or external executables, and in one particular case the entire package simply imports copy and paste functions from pyperclip. I found the situation rather sad, so I decided to write klembord.

Bugs and limitations

  • Setting binary formats should work in theory but it's mostly untested.
  • Setting/getting Windows built in binary formats (e.g. CF_BITMAP) doesn't work and WILL crash python. These require special handling which is currently not implemented in klembord



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