How To Set And Get System Clipboard Contents In Java

The clipboard is a software facility that can be used for short-term data storage and/or data transfer between documents or applications, via copy and paste operations. It is most commonly a part of a GUI environment and is usually implemented as an anonymous, temporary block of memory that can be accessed from most or all programs within the environment via defined programming interfaces. A typical application accesses clipboard functionality by mapping user input (keybindings, menu selections, etc.) to these interfaces. [Wikipedia]

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The following tutorial demonstrate how to read the content of a clipboard or set data in the clipboard.

package com.kushal.utils;

/**
 * @Author Kushal Paudyal
 * www.sanjaal.com/java
 * Last Modfiied On 31st July 2009
 */
import java.awt.Toolkit;
import java.awt.datatransfer.DataFlavor;
import java.awt.datatransfer.StringSelection;
import java.awt.datatransfer.Transferable;

public class SystemClipboardDataManipulate {

	/**
	 * When you do a cut or copy of text in the operating system, the text is
	 * stored in the clipboard.
	 *
	 * The following method returns the content that is currently in the
	 * clipboard.
	 *
	 */
	public static String getClipboardData() {
		String clipboardText;
		Transferable trans = Toolkit.getDefaultToolkit().getSystemClipboard()
				.getContents(null);

		try {
			if (trans != null
					&& trans.isDataFlavorSupported(DataFlavor.stringFlavor)) {
				clipboardText = (String) trans
						.getTransferData(DataFlavor.stringFlavor);
				return clipboardText;
			}
		} catch (Exception e) {
			e.printStackTrace();
		}
		return null;
	}

	/**
	 * This method will set any parameter string to the system's clipboard.
	 */
	public static void setClipboardData(String string) {
		StringSelection stringSelection = new StringSelection(string);
		Toolkit.getDefaultToolkit().getSystemClipboard().setContents(
				stringSelection, null);
	}

	/**
	 * Testing the clipboard set and get methods.
	 */
	public static void main(String[] args) {

		/**
		 * If something is already there in the clipboard, printing the value.
		 */
		System.out.println(getClipboardData());

		/**
		 * Setting our own clipboard data
		 */
		setClipboardData("Sanjaal.com/java");

		/**
		 * Printing the Clipboard Data We Just Set.
		 */
		System.out.println(getClipboardData());

	}

}

===========================
Here is the output (The first line depends on what is there in your system clipboard).
Most environments support a single clipboard transaction. Each cut or copy overwrites the previous contents.
Sanjaal.com/java

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2 Responses to How To Set And Get System Clipboard Contents In Java

  1. PlutlesteVeli says:

    Hi, my name is Tim. Just wanted to say hi to the forum, I been creeping around here for a while now, but tend to participate more. Looking forward to make some new friends. Ciao!

    Tim

    NY, NY

  2. kushalzone says:

    About Clipboard Management:

    Modern GUIs often provide a clipboard manager which supports multiple cut and paste transactions. In this model the clipboard is treated as a stack or scrap book, with new cuts and copies being placed added to the top of the list of recent transactions. The standard paste operation copies the most recent transaction, while specialized pastes provide access to the other stored transactions. These managers generally also provide a window that displays the transaction history and allows the user to select earlier copies, edit them, change their format and even search amongst them.

    Most environments do not save the clipboard contents to any persistent storage – when a user logs out or reboots his or her system the clipboard contents are cleared and forgotten.

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