How to copy and paste within a terminal in macOS or Linux?
Sometimes we want to store some piece of information while using a terminal, for example, a result of an executed command. We usually save it into some temporary file which is going to be deleted after all. There’s a better way.
Copying and pasting on macOS
On macOS, there are two commands -
pbpaste which leverage the system’s clipboard.
The pbcopy command puts input into the clipboard.
pbcopy “some text”
Piping output works surprisingly well:
ps aux | pbcopy
If you want to print the clipboard’s content all you need to do is run
Let’s say you want to copy and execute the file’s content. Of course, you may just use
source file.sh but for the sake of this tutorial let’s assume that scenario.
First, create a file:
cat > file.sh <<EOF echo "hello world" EOF
Then you can copy its content with pbcopy:
pbcopy < file.sh
The last step is to execute the clipboard’s content:
pbpaste | zsh
Copying and pasting on Linux
You can create pbcopy and pbpaste commands on Linux. All you need to do is to add those two lines to the ~/.bashrc file and restart your terminal:
alias pbcopy=’xsel --clipboard --input’ alias pbpaste=’xsel --clipboard --output’
And… that’s it! I hope that those two commands will enhance your experience with the CLI.