Source at the Bit Powder GitLab

Clippy is a tool to interact with your desktop environment from a remote SSH sessions: share clipboard contents, open URLs and show notifications on your desktop. This way, your remote neovim session can paste directly from your clipboard, and yanking in a remote session will end up in your local clipboard manager (e.g. clipmenu). Clippy uses the SSH connection (specifically UNIX domain socket forwarding), so the clipboard contents is encrypted during transmission.

This is an alternative to lemonade. However, the security on shared servers is improved as only the current user can share the link to the desktop (the TCP port of lemonade is available to all users).

Integrates with:

  • Linux/FreeBSD clipboard (for X11 needs package xsel, for Wayland needs package wl-clipboard);

  • Android clipboard if run in Termux;

  • Windows clipboard if run under WSL;

  • macOS clipboard.


For FreeBSD, Debian, and Raspbian, add the bitpowder repository. See the instructions on that repository page.

For macOS:

brew tap bvgastel/clippy
brew install --HEAD bvgastel/clippy/clippy

Update with brew reinstall bvgastel/clippy/clippy.

To build the project from the source, you need cmake and a C++ compiler:

cmake .
cmake --build .
cmake --install .

On Termux (Android) use:

cmake --build .
cmake --install .


Clippy should be installed on both the client and the server. Use clippy ssh instead of ssh to connect to remote computers. Clippy set some additional options automatically for ssh. If no clippy daemon is running, it automatically starts a clippy daemon that listens on a UNIX domain socket named /tmp/clipboard.username.something, which is forwarded through SSH.


  • clippy ssh to set up a clippy ssh connection to a different host;

  • clippy get to retrieve the clipboard contents;

  • echo contents | clippy set to set the clipboard;

  • clippy notification [summary] [body] to show a notification.

  • clippy openurl [url] to open an URL in your default browser.

  • clippy command [command] [args] to execute a command on the desktop, such as a dmenu session. It forwards stdin, stdout, stderr, and copies over the exit code. Terminal sizes etc are not copied over.

If you execute these commands locally, they also work. Making them suitable for integration in generic config files used both for a server and a client.

Set up for specific programs

Some software needs custom config options. Setup depends on the software you are using:

sshd (on some platforms set automatically)

On modern Debian (>= bullseye), Ubuntu (>= focal), and Raspbian (>= bullseye), these settings are automatically included when you install clippy.

Your sshd_config on the server should have:

StreamLocalBindUnlink yes

On Linux add Include /etc/ssh/sshd_config.d/* to your /etc/ssh/sshd_config. On FreeBSD add Include /usr/local/etc/ssh/sshd_config.d/* to your /etc/ssh/sshd_config.


Use with tmux-yank (in ~/.tmux.conf):

# move x clipboard into tmux paste buffer
bind ] run "tmux set-buffer \"$(clippy get)\"; tmux paste-buffer"
set -g @override_copy_command 'clippy set'
set-option -g -a update-environment "LC_CLIPPY"
set-option -g -a update-environment "DISPLAY"
set-option -g -a update-environment "WAYLAND_DISPLAY"

The basic version, without any plugins (in ~/.tmux.conf):

bind ] run "tmux set-buffer \"$(clippy get)\"; tmux paste-buffer"
# move tmux copy buffer into x clipboard
bind -T copy-mode-vi y run "tmux save-buffer - | clippy set"
bind -T copy-mode-emacs y run "tmux save-buffer - | clippy set"
set-option -g -a update-environment "LC_CLIPPY"
set-option -g -a update-environment "DISPLAY"
set-option -g -a update-environment "WAYLAND_DISPLAY"


In .config/nvim/init.vim:

set clipboard+=unnamed,unnamedplus
let g:clipboard = {
      \   'name': 'ClippyRemoteClipboard',
      \   'copy': {
      \      '+': 'clippy set',
      \      '*': 'clippy set',
      \    },
      \   'paste': {
      \      '+': 'clippy get'
      \      '*': 'clippy get',
      \   },
      \   'cache_enabled': 0,
      \ }

For more custom neovim clipboard settings, see :help g:clipboard.