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Last active October 11, 2023 23:39
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Python script that saves an image from clipboard to a file.


Saves an image from clipboard to a file.


  • python2
  • PyGTK


Download and run it with python

Note: Some distributions such as Arch Linux renamed Python 2 to python2 instead of python.

Arch Linux users can install the image-clipboard-to-file package from the AUR.


Thanks to Paweł Pałucha who posted this script on this stackoverflow discussion. I share it here to allow package maintainers to easily package it for their distribution.

Save image from clipboard to file
import sys
import glob
from optparse import OptionParser
def def_file():
Return default file name
files = glob.glob("img???.png")
if len(files) < 1:
return 'img001.png'
maxf = 0
for f in files:
n = int(f[3:6])
maxf = max(n, maxf)
except ValueError:
return 'img{:03d}.png'.format(maxf+1)
usage = """%prog [option] [filename]
Save image from clipboard to file in PNG format."""
op = OptionParser(usage=usage)
op.add_option("-o", "--open", action="store_true", dest="open", default=False,
help="Open saved file with default program (using xdg-open)")
(options, args) = op.parse_args()
if len(args) > 1:
parser.error("Only one argument expected")
elif len(args) == 1:
fname = args[0]
fname = def_file()
import gtk
clipboard = gtk.clipboard_get()
image = clipboard.wait_for_image()
if image is not None:, "png")
print "PNG image saved to file", fname
import subprocess["xdg-open", fname])
print "No image in clipboard found"
sys.exit( 1 )
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I added a single line to the end of the script to make it even more useful:

    print "No image in clipboard found"
    sys.exit( 1 )

By adding the sys.exit it is now possible to issue an alternative command when there is no image in the clipboard buffer. I used this to create a "Launcher" button on my desktop:

~/bin/ -o || gimp

When an image is in the clipboard buffer and I click the button, gimp will open with the image. Otherwise gimp will open as normal with an empty document.

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Thanks for your contribution! I just saw your comment and added your line to the script above.



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benzen3 commented Oct 11, 2023

Does this script work in Google Colab? I'm getting errors I don't know how to resolve.


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