How to copy a string to the clipboard from a script?

I want the wolfram script to copy a string to the clipboard.

Unfortunately the following script fails to do this. The same code works perfectly in the notebook. But CopyToClipboard[] seems not to work in the Ubuntu terminal.

#! /home/conor/mathematica/Executables/wolframscript -script;

string = "word";
CopyToClipboard[x = string];

I think I am looking for an alternative to CopyToClipboard[] that works in scripts.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ I think that the function CopyToClipboard[] requires the GUI FrontEnd, but 'wolframscript' communicates directly to the Kernel. $\endgroup$ – Somos Feb 13 at 18:26

CopyToClipboard[] requires a FrontEnd to work.


In: Trace[CopyToClipboard["hi"]]

Out: {CopyToClipboard[hi],MathLink`CallFrontEnd(FrontEnd`CopyToClipboard(System`FEDump`makeCopyBoxes(hi))),{{System`FEDump`makeCopyBoxes(hi),hi},FrontEnd`CopyToClipboard(hi)},MathLink`CallFrontEnd(FrontEnd`CopyToClipboard(hi)),Null}

However, you can (sort of roundaboutly) run the shell inside wls and copy it using your system's clipboard tool.

#!/usr/bin/env wolframscript

string = "word";
RunProcess[{"bash", "-c", "echo '" <> string <> "'|pbcopy"}]

This copies string to the clipboard.
Additionally, Paste[] requires the FrontEnd, but there's a similar workaround. All together (name from @ConorCosnett):

#!/usr/bin/env wolframscript

string = "Programming is fun!";

copyToClipboardFromString[string_]:=RunProcess[{"bash", "-c", "echo '" <> string <> "'|pbcopy"}]
getClipboard[]:=RunProcess[{"bash", "-c", "pbpaste"}, "StandardOutput"]


Implemented on macOS. See here for implementations in Ubuntu (thanks to @ConorCosnett).


Windows 10 implementation

To simply steal from the answers of @conorcosnett and @maxcoplan the following seems to work for Windows:

string = "word";
Run["echo " <> string <> " | clip"];

Wrapping the CopyToClipboard[] in a UsingFrontEnd[] allows us to use it in scripts:

#!/usr/bin/env wolframscript

string = "Pshhhkkkkkrrrrkakingkakingkakingtshchchchchchchchchdingdingding";

If a FrontEnd is already running you may have to quit it, and then rerun this script


Ubuntu implementation of Max Coplan's solution

Install xclip

$ sudo apt-get install xclip


copyToClipboardFromScript[string_] := RunProcess[{"zsh", "-c", "echo " <> string <> "| xclip -selection clipboard"}];


copyToClipboardFromScript[string_] := RunProcess[{"bash", "-c", "echo " <> string <> "| xclip -selection clipboard"}];
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Trying to copy "$PATH", or "hey; sudo ls /" will have undesirable results. We should have used literal strings $\endgroup$ – Max Coplan Feb 14 at 19:47

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