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;;; pbcopy.el --- Emacs Interface to pbcopy
;; Copyright (C) 2011 Daniel Nelson, based on xclip.el, by Leo Shidai Liu
;; This file is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify
;; it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by
;; the Free Software Foundation; either version 3, or (at your option)
;; any later version.
;; This file is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,
;; but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
;; GNU General Public License for more details.
;; You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License
;; along with GNU Emacs; see the file COPYING. If not, write to
;; the Free Software Foundation, Inc., 51 Franklin Street, Fifth Floor,
;; Boston, MA 02110-1301, USA.
;;; Commentary:
;; Enables the kill-ring to interact with the clipboard when running
;; Emacs from a Mac OSX terminal (without losing full kill-ring
;; functionality). All I did was modify xclip.el to work with pbcopy
;; and pbpaste. The real thanks go to Leo Shidai Liu, the author of
;; xclip.el.
;; Activate via:
;; (require 'pbcopy)
;; (turn-on-pbcopy)
;;; Code:
(defvar pbcopy-program (executable-find "pbcopy")
"Name of Pbcopy program tool.")
(defvar pbpaste-program (executable-find "pbpaste")
"Name of Pbpaste program tool.")
(defvar pbcopy-select-enable-clipboard t
"Non-nil means cutting and pasting uses the clipboard.
This is in addition to, but in preference to, the primary selection.")
(defvar pbcopy-last-selected-text-clipboard nil
"The value of the CLIPBOARD X selection from pbcopy.")
(defvar pbcopy-last-selected-text-primary nil
"The value of the PRIMARY X selection from pbcopy.")
(defun pbcopy-set-selection (type data)
"TYPE is a symbol: primary, secondary and clipboard.
See `x-set-selection'."
(when pbcopy-program
(let* ((process-connection-type nil)
(proc (start-process "pbcopy" nil "pbcopy"
"-selection" (symbol-name type))))
(process-send-string proc data)
(process-send-eof proc))))
(defun pbcopy-select-text (text &optional push)
"See `x-select-text'."
(pbcopy-set-selection 'primary text)
(setq pbcopy-last-selected-text-primary text)
(when pbcopy-select-enable-clipboard
(pbcopy-set-selection 'clipboard text)
(setq pbcopy-last-selected-text-clipboard text)))
(defun pbcopy-selection-value ()
"See `x-cut-buffer-or-selection-value'."
(when pbcopy-program
(let (clip-text primary-text)
(when pbcopy-select-enable-clipboard
(setq clip-text (shell-command-to-string "pbpaste"))
(setq clip-text
(cond ;; check clipboard selection
((or (not clip-text) (string= clip-text ""))
(setq pbcopy-last-selected-text-primary nil))
((eq clip-text pbcopy-last-selected-text-clipboard) nil)
((string= clip-text pbcopy-last-selected-text-clipboard)
;; Record the newer string,
;; so subsequent calls can use the `eq' test.
(setq pbcopy-last-selected-text-clipboard clip-text)
(t (setq pbcopy-last-selected-text-clipboard clip-text)))))
(setq primary-text (shell-command-to-string "pbpaste"))
(setq primary-text
(cond ;; check primary selection
((or (not primary-text) (string= primary-text ""))
(setq pbcopy-last-selected-text-primary nil))
((eq primary-text pbcopy-last-selected-text-primary) nil)
((string= primary-text pbcopy-last-selected-text-primary)
;; Record the newer string,
;; so subsequent calls can use the `eq' test.
(setq pbcopy-last-selected-text-primary primary-text)
(t (setq pbcopy-last-selected-text-primary primary-text))))
(or clip-text primary-text))))
(defun turn-on-pbcopy ()
(setq interprogram-cut-function 'pbcopy-select-text)
(setq interprogram-paste-function 'pbcopy-selection-value))
(defun turn-off-pbcopy ()
(setq interprogram-cut-function nil)
(setq interprogram-paste-function nil))
(add-hook 'terminal-init-xterm-hook 'turn-on-pbcopy)
(provide 'pbcopy)

purcell commented Oct 6, 2013

Would you consider promoting this to a "regular" github repo? I'd love to include it in MELPA, and it would be nice if it had a proper home where fixes etc. could be submitted.

seconded! Found a repo here:

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