Copy to Clipboard over SSH

When you're logged into a remote machine with ssh, getting text on the clipboard of your local machine isn't straight forward. There are several ways to achieve this however, two of which I'll outline here.


Using the excellent kitty terminal, getting text on your machine's clipboard is as easy as:

$ ssh
$ echo hello world | kitty +kitten clipboard

That's it. Granted you have kitty installed on the server and you're sshing from a kitty terminal, you're all set. Amazingly simple. You can of course also put whole files on the clipboard like so:

$ cat /etc/hosts | kitty +kitten clipboard

Using your mouse

Arguably an even easier approach, is simply using your mouse. I recommend configuring your terminal to put whatever you select with your mouse directly on the clipboard. No key presses, no Ctrl + c, just select the text with the mouse and it goes to the clipboard.

To get kitty terminal to do this, I added the following to ~/.config/kitty/kitty.conf:

copy_on_select        yes

While at it, I also set:

strip_trailing_spaces always

The last line ensures I don't get any trailing whitespace when selecting multiple lines (it's normally what you want, should've been the default if you ask me).

Final words

If you've set copy on select in your terminal, using the mouse is fast, but you must take heed to copy only the characters you need. If accuracy is needed, or you need more than a couple of lines, I recommend using the first approach with kitty's clipboard kitten.

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