Howto: Use clip.exe to redirect command line output to the Windows clipboard


I was browsing the Windows Server Command Line Reference today and came across clip.exe.  I was not familiar with this little utility, but after a brief investigation I found that it could redirect command line output to the Windows clipboard.

Why would I want to do this?

I’m very command line oriented.  I grew up with DOS, so I do as much through the command line as possible, especially when it comes to repetative tasks that can be scripted.

For example, a task I may perform is to list all instances of Java on my drive and redirect the output to a text file so I could easily read it, especially if there was a large number of files.  To do this, I’d type

dir java.exe /s >java.txt

I’d then have to go find the java.txt output file and open it with a text editor.  Not a big deal in this case, but imagine working 7 or 8 subdirectories deep and having to browse to the file.  Again, not a daunting task, but it still takes mouse clicks.

A better way to perform this task is to use clip.exe to pipe the output to the Windows clipboard.  To do so, you’d type:

dir java.exe /s |clip

Now I can open up notepad and paste the output by pressing ctrl-v.

Clip.exe can be found on a Windows 2003 server in the c:\windows\system32 directory.  If you don’t have access to  a Windows 2003 server, you can download it here and save it to your c:\windows\system32 directory.

If you’d like to do the opposite operation, i.e. copy the contents of the clipboard to the command line, perform the following steps:

Highlight the text to be copied to the clipboard by highlighting it and press ctrl-c

Press Windows key+R, type cmd and hit enter to open a command prompt

Press Alt+Space Bar to open the window’s Titlebar menu

press ‘e‘, ‘p‘ (without the comma or quotes) to open the edit menu and paste the contents of the clipboard.

One Response to “Howto: Use clip.exe to redirect command line output to the Windows clipboard”

  1. clip.exe - redirect command line output to the Windows clipboard « Kurt’s Tech Blog Says:

    […] http://thebackroomtech.com/2007/09/14/howto-use-clipexe-to-redirect-command-line-output-to-the-windo… « Procedure to mount ISO images under Linux […]


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