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Xcb (X clipboard buffer??) is a utility that helps makes the clipboard in X more useful by allowing you to store multiple buffers of text for easy pasting into an application. Eight is the default number of buffers, but you can go far beyond that -- install xcb and then view the man page.

Dann Washko of the LVLUG recommended it to me (he remembered my quest something like a year after I set it aside). I was looking for something that would let me select and paste various buffers using keyboard shortcut keys -- xcb seems to work mostly via the mouse.

I had trouble installing it so Dann provided some installation instructions, listed below.

See also KeyboardMacrosInLinux.

See AboutThesePages.



I downloaded a tar.gz file from http://www.goof.com/pcg/marc/xcb.html, and then gunzipped and (un)tarred it under my home directory. The actual link to the file at that time was: http://www.goof.com/pcg/marc/data/xcb-2.3i.tar.gz

Then, from Dann Washko:

xmkmf -a make

You don't have to run make install, but you might be able to.

What I did at this point was

cp xcb /usr/X11R6/bin cp xcb.man /usr/X11R6/man/man1/xcb.1

Then I was golden.

I have a slackware package made (of course) but this will probably not help you.

See man xmkmf -- it creates a make file from an Imakefile.

Using xcb

See the man page. It gives some good examples of usage including how to preserve the contents of the buffers across sessions.

Here is my first shot at the best way to work with xcb (for my purposes):

As it is now, without keyboard shortcuts, this is the process I go through to paste from a buffer, assuming I'm starting in the application I want to paste into:

  • Using the mouse, click on the X xcb button / icon on the toolbar to display the Xcb buffers (hmm, I can probably find a keyboard shortcut for "switch to previous application" within kde if I look)
  • Using the mouse, click on the buffer containing the text I want to paste
  • Using the mouse, click on the button / icon on the toolbar for the application I was using (or find the keyboard shortcut for previous application)
  • Confirm the cursor / insertion point is at the right location, and press v

So, it will be useful for longer rather than shorter text strings.

If you see any ways to improve this procedure, let me know. (Of course, if I paste the same text multiple times I don't have to repeat the selection of the buffer in xde (if I remember which buffer I used last wink ).


  • () RandyKramer - 31 May 2002
  • <If you edit this page: add your name here; move this to the next line; and include your comment marker (initials), if you have created one, in parenthesis before your WikiName.>

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Topic revision: r1 - 2002-05-31 - RandyKramer
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