I’m trying to make a basic Windows application that builds a string out of user input and then adds it to the clipboard. How do I copy a string to the clipboard using Python?

Actually, pywin32 and ctypes seem to be an overkill for this simple task. Tkinter is a cross-platform GUI framework, which ships with Python by default and has clipboard accessing methods along with other cool stuff.

If all you need is to put some text to system clipboard, this will do it:

from Tkinter import Tk
r = Tk()
r.clipboard_append('i can has clipboardz?')
r.update() # now it stays on the clipboard after the window is closed

And that’s all, no need to mess around with platform-specific third-party libraries.

If you are using Python 3, replace TKinter with tkinter.

I didn’t have a solution, just a workaround.

Windows Vista onwards has an inbuilt command called clip that takes the output of a command from command line and puts it into the clipboard. For example, ipconfig | clip.

So I made a function with the os module which takes a string and adds it to the clipboard using the inbuilt Windows solution.

import os
def addToClipBoard(text):
    command = 'echo ' + text.strip() + '| clip'

# Example
addToClipBoard('penny lane')

# Penny Lane is now in your ears, eyes, and clipboard.

As previously noted in the comments however, one downside to this approach is that the echo command automatically adds a newline to the end of your text. To avoid this you can use a modified version of the command:

def addToClipBoard(text):
    command = 'echo | set /p nul=" + text.strip() + "| clip'

If you are using Windows XP it will work just following the steps in Copy and paste from Windows XP Pro’s command prompt straight to the Clipboard.

You can use pyperclip – cross-platform clipboard module. Or Xerox – similar module, except requires the win32 Python module to work on Windows.

You can also use ctypes to tap into the Windows API and avoid the massive pywin32 package. This is what I use (excuse the poor style, but the idea is there):

import ctypes

# Get required functions, strcpy..
strcpy = ctypes.cdll.msvcrt.strcpy
ocb = ctypes.windll.user32.OpenClipboard    # Basic clipboard functions
ecb = ctypes.windll.user32.EmptyClipboard
gcd = ctypes.windll.user32.GetClipboardData
scd = ctypes.windll.user32.SetClipboardData
ccb = ctypes.windll.user32.CloseClipboard
ga = ctypes.windll.kernel32.GlobalAlloc    # Global memory allocation
gl = ctypes.windll.kernel32.GlobalLock     # Global memory Locking
gul = ctypes.windll.kernel32.GlobalUnlock

def Get():
  ocb(None) # Open Clip, Default task

  pcontents = gcd(1) # 1 means CF_TEXT.. too lazy to get the token thingy...

  data = ctypes.c_char_p(pcontents).value

  #gul(pcontents) ?

  return data

def Paste(data):
  ocb(None) # Open Clip, Default task


  hCd = ga(GMEM_DDESHARE, len(bytes(data,"ascii")) + 1)

  pchData = gl(hCd)

  strcpy(ctypes.c_char_p(pchData), bytes(data, "ascii"))


  scd(1, hCd)


You can use the excellent pandas, which has a built in clipboard support, but you need to pass through a DataFrame.

import pandas as pd
df=pd.DataFrame(['Text to copy'])

The simplest way is with pyperclip. Works in python 2 and 3.

To install this library, use:

pip install pyperclip

Example usage:

import pyperclip

pyperclip.copy("your string")

If you want to get the contents of the clipboard:

clipboard_content = pyperclip.paste()

Here’s the most easy and reliable way I found if you’re okay depending on Pandas. However I don’t think this is officially part of the Pandas API so it may break with future updates. It works as of 0.25.3

from pandas.io import clipboard

I’ve tried various solutions, but this is the simplest one that passes my test:


import win32clipboard  # http://sourceforge.net/projects/pywin32/

def copy(text):
    win32clipboard.SetClipboardText(text, win32clipboard.CF_UNICODETEXT)
def paste():
    data = win32clipboard.GetClipboardData(win32clipboard.CF_UNICODETEXT)
    return data

if __name__ == "__main__":  
    text = "Testing\nthe “clip—board”: 📋"
    try: text = text.decode('utf8')  # Python 2 needs decode to make a Unicode string.
    except AttributeError: pass
    print("%r" % text.encode('utf8'))
    data = paste()
    print("%r" % data.encode('utf8'))
    print("OK" if text == data else "FAIL")

    try: print(data)
    except UnicodeEncodeError as er:

Tested OK in Python 3.4 on Windows 8.1 and Python 2.7 on Windows 7. Also when reading Unicode data with Unix linefeeds copied from Windows. Copied data stays on the clipboard after Python exits: "Testing
the “clip—board”: 📋"

If you want no external dependencies, use this code (now part of cross-platform pyperclipC:\Python34\Scripts\pip install --upgrade pyperclip):

def copy(text):
    GMEM_DDESHARE = 0x2000
    d = ctypes.windll # cdll expects 4 more bytes in user32.OpenClipboard(None)
    try:  # Python 2
        if not isinstance(text, unicode):
            text = text.decode('mbcs')
    except NameError:
        if not isinstance(text, str):
            text = text.decode('mbcs')
    hCd = d.kernel32.GlobalAlloc(GMEM_DDESHARE, len(text.encode('utf-16-le')) + 2)
    pchData = d.kernel32.GlobalLock(hCd)
    ctypes.cdll.msvcrt.wcscpy(ctypes.c_wchar_p(pchData), text)
    d.user32.SetClipboardData(CF_UNICODETEXT, hCd)

def paste():
    d = ctypes.windll
    handle = d.user32.GetClipboardData(CF_UNICODETEXT)
    text = ctypes.c_wchar_p(handle).value
    return text

For some reason I’ve never been able to get the Tk solution to work for me. kapace’s solution is much more workable, but the formatting is contrary to my style and it doesn’t work with Unicode. Here’s a modified version.

import ctypes

from ctypes.wintypes import BOOL, HWND, HANDLE, HGLOBAL, UINT, LPVOID
from ctypes import c_size_t as SIZE_T

OpenClipboard = ctypes.windll.user32.OpenClipboard
OpenClipboard.argtypes = HWND,
OpenClipboard.restype = BOOL
EmptyClipboard = ctypes.windll.user32.EmptyClipboard
EmptyClipboard.restype = BOOL
GetClipboardData = ctypes.windll.user32.GetClipboardData
GetClipboardData.argtypes = UINT,
GetClipboardData.restype = HANDLE
SetClipboardData = ctypes.windll.user32.SetClipboardData
SetClipboardData.argtypes = UINT, HANDLE
SetClipboardData.restype = HANDLE
CloseClipboard = ctypes.windll.user32.CloseClipboard
CloseClipboard.restype = BOOL

GlobalAlloc = ctypes.windll.kernel32.GlobalAlloc
GlobalAlloc.argtypes = UINT, SIZE_T
GlobalAlloc.restype = HGLOBAL
GlobalLock = ctypes.windll.kernel32.GlobalLock
GlobalLock.argtypes = HGLOBAL,
GlobalLock.restype = LPVOID
GlobalUnlock = ctypes.windll.kernel32.GlobalUnlock
GlobalUnlock.argtypes = HGLOBAL,
GlobalSize = ctypes.windll.kernel32.GlobalSize
GlobalSize.argtypes = HGLOBAL,
GlobalSize.restype = SIZE_T


unicode_type = type(u'')

def get():
    text = None
    handle = GetClipboardData(CF_UNICODETEXT)
    pcontents = GlobalLock(handle)
    size = GlobalSize(handle)
    if pcontents and size:
        raw_data = ctypes.create_string_buffer(size)
        ctypes.memmove(raw_data, pcontents, size)
        text = raw_data.raw.decode('utf-16le').rstrip(u'\0')
    return text

def put(s):
    if not isinstance(s, unicode_type):
        s = s.decode('mbcs')
    data = s.encode('utf-16le')
    handle = GlobalAlloc(GMEM_MOVEABLE | GMEM_ZEROINIT, len(data) + 2)
    pcontents = GlobalLock(handle)
    ctypes.memmove(pcontents, data, len(data))
    SetClipboardData(CF_UNICODETEXT, handle)

paste = get
copy = put

The above has changed since this answer was first created, to better cope with extended Unicode characters and Python 3. It has been tested in both Python 2.7 and 3.5, and works even with emoji such as \U0001f601 (😁).

Update 2021-10-26: This was working great for me in Windows 7 and Python 3.8. Then I got a new computer with Windows 10 and Python 3.10, and it failed for me the same way as indicated in the comments. This post gave me the answer. The functions from ctypes don’t have argument and return types properly specified, and the defaults don’t work consistently with 64-bit values. I’ve modified the above code to include that missing information.

Looks like you need to add win32clipboard to your site-packages. It’s part of the pywin32 package

If you don’t like the name you can use the derivative module clipboard.

Note: It’s just a selective wrapper of pyperclip

After installing, import it:

import clipboard

Then you can copy like this:

clipboard.copy("This is copied")

You can also paste the copied text:


Use pyperclip module

Install using pip pip install pyperclip.

Copy text "Hello World!" to clip board

import pyperclip
pyperclip.copy('Hello World!')

You can use Ctrl+V anywhere to paste this somewhere.

Paste the copied text using python

pyperclip.paste() # This returns the copied text of type <class 'str'>

Widgets also have method named .clipboard_get() that returns the contents of the clipboard (unless some kind of error happens based on the type of data in the clipboard).

The clipboard_get() method is mentioned in this bug report:

Strangely, this method was not mentioned in the common (but unofficial) online TkInter documentation sources that I usually refer to.

I think there is a much simpler solution to this.

name = input('What is your name? ')
print('Hello %s' % (name) )

Then run your program in the command line

python greeter.py | clip

This will pipe the output of your file to the clipboard

Not all of the answers worked for my various python configurations so this solution only uses the subprocess module. However, copy_keyword has to be pbcopy for Mac or clip for Windows:

import subprocess
subprocess.run('copy_keyword', universal_newlines=True, input="New Clipboard Value 😀")

Here’s some more extensive code that automatically checks what the current operating system is:

import platform
import subprocess

copy_string = 'New Clipboard Value 😀'

# Check which operating system is running to get the correct copying keyword.
if platform.system() == 'Darwin':
    copy_keyword = 'pbcopy'
elif platform.system() == 'Windows':
    copy_keyword = 'clip'

subprocess.run(copy_keyword, universal_newlines=True, input=copy_string)

In addition to Mark Ransom’s answer using ctypes:
This does not work for (all?) x64 systems since the handles seem to be truncated to int-size.
Explicitly defining args and return values helps to overcomes this problem.

import ctypes
import ctypes.wintypes as w


u32 = ctypes.WinDLL('user32')
k32 = ctypes.WinDLL('kernel32')

OpenClipboard = u32.OpenClipboard
OpenClipboard.argtypes = w.HWND,
OpenClipboard.restype = w.BOOL

GetClipboardData = u32.GetClipboardData
GetClipboardData.argtypes = w.UINT,
GetClipboardData.restype = w.HANDLE

EmptyClipboard = u32.EmptyClipboard
EmptyClipboard.restype = w.BOOL

SetClipboardData = u32.SetClipboardData
SetClipboardData.argtypes = w.UINT, w.HANDLE,
SetClipboardData.restype = w.HANDLE

CloseClipboard = u32.CloseClipboard
CloseClipboard.argtypes = None
CloseClipboard.restype = w.BOOL

GHND = 0x0042

GlobalAlloc = k32.GlobalAlloc
GlobalAlloc.argtypes = w.UINT, w.ctypes.c_size_t,
GlobalAlloc.restype = w.HGLOBAL

GlobalLock = k32.GlobalLock
GlobalLock.argtypes = w.HGLOBAL,
GlobalLock.restype = w.LPVOID

GlobalUnlock = k32.GlobalUnlock
GlobalUnlock.argtypes = w.HGLOBAL,
GlobalUnlock.restype = w.BOOL

GlobalSize = k32.GlobalSize
GlobalSize.argtypes = w.HGLOBAL,
GlobalSize.restype = w.ctypes.c_size_t

unicode_type = type(u'')

def get():
    text = None
    handle = GetClipboardData(CF_UNICODETEXT)
    pcontents = GlobalLock(handle)
    size = GlobalSize(handle)
    if pcontents and size:
        raw_data = ctypes.create_string_buffer(size)
        ctypes.memmove(raw_data, pcontents, size)
        text = raw_data.raw.decode('utf-16le').rstrip(u'\0')
    return text

def put(s):
    if not isinstance(s, unicode_type):
        s = s.decode('mbcs')
    data = s.encode('utf-16le')
    handle = GlobalAlloc(GHND, len(data) + 2)
    pcontents = GlobalLock(handle)
    ctypes.memmove(pcontents, data, len(data))
    SetClipboardData(CF_UNICODETEXT, handle)

#Test run
paste = get
copy = put
copy("Hello World!")

Use python’s clipboard library!

import clipboard as cp

Clipboard contains ‘abc’ now. Happy pasting!

also you can use > clipboard

import clipboard

def copy(txt):
copy("your txt")

If (and only if) the application already uses Qt, you can use this (with the advantage of no additional third party dependency)

from PyQt5.QtWidgets import QApplication
clipboard = QApplication.clipboard()

# get text (if there's text inside instead of e.g. file)

# set text

This requires a Qt application object to be already constructed, so it should not be used unless the application already uses Qt.

Besides, as usual, in X systems (and maybe other systems too), the content only persist until the application exists unless you use something like parcellite or xclipboard.


See also: python – PyQT – copy file to clipboard – Stack Overflow

import wx

def ctc(text):

    if not wx.TheClipboard.IsOpened():
        data = wx.TextDataObject()


The snippet I share here take advantage of the ability to format text files: what if you want to copy a complex output to the clipboard ? (Say a numpy array in column or a list of something)

import subprocess
import os

def cp2clip(clist):

    #create a temporary file

    #write in the text file the way you want your data to be
    for m in clist:

    #close the file

    #send "clip < file" to the shell
    cmd="clip < thisTextfileShouldNotExist.txt"
    w = subprocess.check_call(cmd,shell=True)

    #delete the temporary text file

    return w

works only for windows, can be adapted for linux or mac I guess. Maybe a bit complicated…



Ctrl+V in any text editor :


This is the improved answer of atomizer.

Note 2 calls of update() and 200 ms delay between them. They protect freezing applications due to an unstable state of the clipboard:

from Tkinter import Tk
import time     

r = Tk()
r.clipboard_append('some string')



You can use winclip32 module!

pip install winclip32

to copy:

import winclip32
winclip32.set_clipboard_data(winclip32.UNICODE_STD_TEXT, "some text")

to get:

import winclip32

for more informations: https://pypi.org/project/winclip32/

On Windows, you can use this. No external dependencies neither have to open sub-process:

import win32clipboard

def to_clipboard(txt):


Code snippet to copy the clipboard:

Create a wrapper Python code in a module named (clipboard.py):

import clr
from System.Windows.Forms import Clipboard
def setText(text):

def getText():
    return Clipboard.GetText()

Then import the above module into your code.

import io
import clipboard
code = clipboard.getText()
print code
code = "abcd"

I must give credit to the blog post Clipboard Access in IronPython.

you can try this:

command = 'echo content |clip'
subprocess.check_call(command, shell=True)