How To Improve The Linux Clipboard With CopyQ [Guide]

Tired of your boring Linux clipboard? Check out CopyQ! It’s a powerful clipboard manager that lets users save data for later, edit entries, and even encrypt them!

Install Dependencies

Sadly, the developer of the CopyQ clipboard application doesn’t have any pre-compiled binary files for Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora or other major Linux distributions out there. Instead, if you want to use the program, building from source is the only way. To make CopyQ from source, you need the build tools.

CopyQ has quite a lot of build tools and dependencies, and each distribution has different needs. To get them working, open up a terminal and enter the following commands.

Note: Arch users, the developer, doesn’t outline specific dependencies for building this software. Grab the AUR package instead.


sudo apt install    git cmake    qtbase5-private-dev    qtscript5-dev    qttools5-dev    qttools5-dev-tools    libqt5svg5-dev    libqt5x11extras5-dev    libxfixes-dev    libxtst-dev    libqt5svg5


sudo apt-get install    git cmake    qtbase5-private-dev    qtscript5-dev    qttools5-dev    qttools5-dev-tools    libqt5svg5-dev    libqt5x11extras5-dev    libxfixes-dev    libxtst-dev    libqt5svg5


sudo dnf install    gcc-c++ git cmake    libXtst-devel libXfixes-devel    qt5-qtbase-devel    qt5-qtsvg-devel    qt5-qttools-devel    qt5-qtscript-devel    qt5-qtx11extras-devel


sudo zypper install    gcc-c++ git cmake    libXtst-devel libXfixes-devel    libqt5-qtbase-common-devel    qt5-qtsvg-devel    qt5-qttools-devel    qt5-qtscript-devel    qt5-qtx11extras-devel

Generic Linux

Building CopyQ on a Linux distribution that isn’t Redhat, Debian, or Ubuntu based is possible, though you’ll have to search for the dependencies on your own.

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To find the dependencies you’ll need, refer to the official documentation and install the correct packages required for the build.

Build CopyQ

You’ve got all the critical CopyQ dependencies on your Linux PC. The next step in the installation process is grabbing the source code. In the terminal use the git clone command.

Note: don’t feel like using Git? A Tar archive of the CopyQ source code is downloadable on SourceForge.

git clone 

Using the CD command, move the terminal from your home directory into the CopyQ source code folder.

cd CopyQ

Run cmake and set up the build configuration files.


Compile CopyQ with the make command. Keep in mind that compiling source code takes a long time. Be patient and let the compiler build in the background.


Using the make install command, finish the build process.

sudo make install

Set Up CopyQ Startup Entry

Once CopyQ is built and installed, the application is accessible via your Linux desktop’s launcher. Before using it, it’s a good idea to set up an automatic startup entry. Setting up a startup entry for CopyQ is vital since the concept of the program is to monitor your clipboard for data to save consistently.

There are many different ways to set up a startup entry for CopyQ. Each Linux desktop environment does it a little different, so we’ll be focusing on the terminal instead. Start off by using the CD command to move into the applications folder on your PC.

cd /usr/local/share/applications

Create a new autostart folder (if you don’t already have one) using mkdir.

mkdir -p ~/.config/autostart

Copy the CopyQ desktop shortcut to the autostart folder.

cp com.github.hluk.copyq.desktop ~/.config/autostart

Update the permissions for the file.

cd ~/.config/autostart  sudo chmod +x cp com.github.hluk.copyq.desktop

Using CopyQ

The CopyQ clipboard manager has a lot of features, but at its core, it’s a clipboard manager. To use it, highlight some text, right-click on it and select “copy”. Clicking the “copy” action will automatically save it as an entry to the CopyQ manager. To access any collected data, click on the CopyQ icon in your system tray.

Move To Clipboard

At any time, if you’d like to move an old entry in CopyQ to your clipboard, look through the clipboard data and click the “move to clipboard” icon.

Encrypt Entry

If you’ve got some sensitive information saved in CopyQ, don’t delete it! Instead, use the encryption feature. To encrypt, find a clipboard entry and click the lock icon. Doing so will invoke GnuPG and automatically encrypt your data.

Note: the encryption feature will not work without GnuPG. If your Linux PC doesn’t have it, install it here.

Edit Entry

CopyQ lets users edit existing clipboard entries with ease. To do it, highlight a clipboard entry with the mouse and click the edit button (or press F2).

Create Entry

A handy feature that CopyQ has is its ability to create new clipboard entries without actually using your clipboard on Linux. This feature is “new item”. To use it, click the “new item” button. From there, write in your text and click the save icon.

Clicking save will automatically add the new clipboard entry to the list of data that CopyQ has saved.

About Alex Miller 12813 Articles
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