One of the more annoying quirks with GNOME Linux is that if you copy text from a program, then close that program and attempt to paste the text into a second program, there is no text to paste. The clipboard is cleared when the program which originally held the text is closed. This is annoying, to say the least. Because of this, I’ve always tried to use a clipboard manager. In addition to rectifying the “disappearing clipboard” issue, there are other benefits, such as the ability to hold more than one item in memory at a single time. Unfortunately, some of the clipboard managers I’ve used – Glipper and Parcellite being my two favorites – have stopped development. They still work fine, even in the newest version of Ubuntu, but no doubt their day will come. Ubuntu or GNOME will change something and they’ll be useless. Because of this, I’ve started trying out different clipboard managers, such as Glippy, trying to find a new one I like. Today I tried one called Pastie, and after only a little while, I’ve already started using it full-time.
Pastie is very simple. In fact, here is how the author describes it: “It does one thing: keep your clipboard history safe (but you can also edit your clipboard and clear your history). It supports text, files and images.”
I call that simple, straightforward and focused. And as such (as it should be), Pastie is easy to use. There are a few configuration options, but you may never need to use them. What can you configure? You can change how many clippings Pastie keeps, and how many it shows in the menu. You can choose to show or hide the “preferences” option and the “quit” option on the clipboard menu. You can choose whether or not the contents of the primary selection should be saved, and also whether or not to synchronize this with your standard clipboard selection. Finally, Pastie supports keyboard shortcuts. You can access the selection dialog (which will show you the current contents of the clipboard), by typing in ” C” (without the quotes), while typing “Ctrl> P” (again without the quotes), reveals the preferences window. Both shortcuts can be changed to something else if you prefer.
One of the best features Pastie offers, however, is that it does so much of what it does automatically. Going along with the whole “primary selection” idea, you don’t actually need to hit C in order to add something to the Pastie clipboard. Simply highlight it, and as the primary selection, if you have that setting turned on, it will appear in Pastie, ready to be pasted into another program. Last, Pastie supports images. If you’re using GIMP or Krita or another graphics program and you highlight and copy a piece of your image, the bitmap of that selection is stored in Pastie, and can be pasted into a different image (even after restarting both Pastie and the computer itself). It’s pretty great.
All in all, I’m quite happy with Pastie. I love being able to have multiple items stored at once in my clipboard, and the ability to copy and paste graphics so easily is a bonus as well. It doesn’t work exactly the same as Parcellite (the last clipboard manager I used before switching), but it works well, supports the Ubuntu Indicator Applet, is being actively developed, and most importantly, gets the job done.