docs » hs.pasteboard

Inspect/manipulate pasteboards (more commonly called clipboards). Both the system default pasteboard and custom named pasteboards can be interacted with.

This module is based partially on code from the previous incarnation of Mjolnir by Steven Degutis.

API Overview

API Documentation

Functions

allContentTypes
Signature hs.pasteboard.allContentTypes([name]) -> table
Type Function
Description

An array whose elements are a table containing the content types for each element on the clipboard.

Parameters:

  • name - an optional string indicating the pasteboard name. If nil or not present, defaults to the system pasteboard.

Returns:

  • an array with each index representing an object on the pasteboard. If the pasteboard contains only one element, this is equivalent to { hs.pasteboard.contentTypes(name) }.
changeCount
Signature hs.pasteboard.changeCount([name]) -> number
Type Function
Description

Gets the number of times the pasteboard owner has changed

Parameters:

  • name - An optional string containing the name of the pasteboard. Defaults to the system pasteboard

Returns:

  • A number containing a count of the times the pasteboard owner has changed

Notes:

  • This is useful for seeing if the pasteboard has been updated by another process
clearContents
Signature hs.pasteboard.clearContents([name])
Type Function
Description

Clear the contents of the pasteboard

Parameters:

  • name - An optional string containing the name of the pasteboard. Defaults to the system pasteboard

Returns:

  • None
contentTypes
Signature hs.pasteboard.contentTypes([name]) -> table
Type Function
Description

Return the UTI strings of the data types for the first pasteboard item on the specified pasteboard.

Parameters:

  • name - An optional string containing the name of the pasteboard. Defaults to the system pasteboard

Returns:

  • a table containing the UTI strings of the data types for the first pasteboard item.
deletePasteboard
Signature hs.pasteboard.deletePasteboard(name)
Type Function
Description

Deletes a custom pasteboard

Parameters:

  • name - A string containing the name of the pasteboard

Returns:

  • None

Notes:

  • You can not delete the system pasteboard, this function should only be called on custom pasteboards you have created
getContents
Signature hs.pasteboard.getContents([name]) -> string or nil
Type Function
Description

Gets the contents of the pasteboard

Parameters:

  • name - An optional string containing the name of the pasteboard. Defaults to the system pasteboard

Returns:

  • A string containing the contents of the pasteboard, or nil if an error occurred
pasteboardTypes
Signature hs.pasteboard.pasteboardTypes([name]) -> table
Type Function
Description

Return the pasteboard type identifier strings for the specified pasteboard.

Parameters:

  • name - An optional string containing the name of the pasteboard. Defaults to the system pasteboard

Returns:

  • a table containing the pasteboard type identifier strings
readAllData
Signature hs.pasteboard.readAllData([name]) -> table
Type Function
Description

Returns all values in the first item on the pasteboard in a table that maps a UTI value to the raw data of the item

Parameters:

  • name - an optional string indicating the pasteboard name. If nil or not present, defaults to the system pasteboard.

Returns:

readArchiverDataForUTI
Signature hs.pasteboard.readArchiverDataForUTI([name], uti) -> any
Type Function
Description

Returns the first item on the pasteboard with the specified UTI. The data on the pasteboard must be encoded as a keyed archive object conforming to NSKeyedArchiver.

Parameters:

  • name - an optional string indicating the pasteboard name. If nil or not present, defaults to the system pasteboard.
  • uti - a string specifying the UTI of the pasteboard item to retrieve.

Returns:

  • a lua item representing the archived data if it can be decoded. Generates an error if the data is in the wrong format.

Notes:

  • NSKeyedArchiver specifies an architecture-independent format that is often used in OS X applications to store and transmit objects between applications and when storing data to a file. It works by recording information about the object types and key-value pairs which make up the objects being stored.
  • Only objects which have conversion functions built in to Hammerspoon can be converted. A string representation describing unrecognized types wil be returned. If you find a common data type that you believe may be of interest to Hammerspoon users, feel free to contribute a conversion function or make a request in the Hammerspoon Google group or Github site.
  • Some applications may define their own classes which can be archived. Hammerspoon will be unable to recognize these types if the application does not make the object type available in one of its frameworks. You may be able to load the necessary framework with package.loadlib("/Applications/appname.app/Contents/Frameworks/frameworkname.framework/frameworkname", "*") before retrieving the data, but a full representation of the data in Hammerspoon is probably not possible without support from the Application's developers.
readColor
Signature hs.pasteboard.readColor([name], [all]) -> hs.drawing.color table or array of hs.drawing.color tables
Type Function
Description

Returns one or more hs.drawing.color tables from the clipboard, or nil if no compatible objects are present.

Parameters:

  • name - an optional string indicating the pasteboard name. If nil or not present, defaults to the system pasteboard.
  • all - an optional boolean indicating whether or not all (true) of the colors on the clipboard should be returned, or just the first (false). Defaults to false.

Returns:

  • By default the first color on the clipboard, or a table of all colors on the clipboard if the all parameter is provided and set to true. Returns nil if no colors are present.
readDataForUTI
Signature hs.pasteboard.readDataForUTI([name], uti) -> string
Type Function
Description

Returns the first item on the pasteboard with the specified UTI as raw data

Parameters:

  • name - an optional string indicating the pasteboard name. If nil or not present, defaults to the system pasteboard.
  • uti - a string specifying the UTI of the pasteboard item to retrieve.

Returns:

  • a lua string containing the raw data of the specified pasteboard item

Notes:

readImage
Signature hs.pasteboard.readImage([name], [all]) -> hs.image object or array of hs.image objects
Type Function
Description

Returns one or more hs.image objects from the clipboard, or nil if no compatible objects are present.

Parameters:

  • name - an optional string indicating the pasteboard name. If nil or not present, defaults to the system pasteboard.
  • all - an optional boolean indicating whether or not all (true) of the urls on the clipboard should be returned, or just the first (false). Defaults to false.

Returns:

  • By default the first image on the clipboard, or a table of all images on the clipboard if the all parameter is provided and set to true. Returns nil if no images are present.
readPListForUTI
Signature hs.pasteboard.readPListForUTI([name], uti) -> any
Type Function
Description

Returns the first item on the pasteboard with the specified UTI as a property list item

Parameters:

  • name - an optional string indicating the pasteboard name. If nil or not present, defaults to the system pasteboard.
  • uti - a string specifying the UTI of the pasteboard item to retrieve.

Returns:

  • a lua item representing the property list value of the pasteboard item specified

Notes:

readSound
Signature hs.pasteboard.readSound([name], [all]) -> hs.sound object or array of hs.sound objects
Type Function
Description

Returns one or more hs.sound objects from the clipboard, or nil if no compatible objects are present.

Parameters:

  • name - an optional string indicating the pasteboard name. If nil or not present, defaults to the system pasteboard.
  • all - an optional boolean indicating whether or not all (true) of the urls on the clipboard should be returned, or just the first (false). Defaults to false.

Returns:

  • By default the first sound on the clipboard, or a table of all sounds on the clipboard if the all parameter is provided and set to true. Returns nil if no sounds are present.
readString
Signature hs.pasteboard.readString([name], [all]) -> string or array of strings
Type Function
Description

Returns one or more strings from the clipboard, or nil if no compatible objects are present.

Parameters:

  • name - an optional string indicating the pasteboard name. If nil or not present, defaults to the system pasteboard.
  • all - an optional boolean indicating whether or not all (true) of the urls on the clipboard should be returned, or just the first (false). Defaults to false.

Returns:

  • By default the first string on the clipboard, or a table of all strings on the clipboard if the all parameter is provided and set to true. Returns nil if no strings are present.

Notes:

  • almost all string and styledText objects are internally convertible and will be available with this method as well as hs.pasteboard.readStyledText. If the item is actually an hs.styledtext object, the string will be just the text of the object.
readStyledText
Signature hs.pasteboard.readStyledText([name], [all]) -> hs.styledtext object or array of hs.styledtext objects
Type Function
Description

Returns one or more hs.styledtext objects from the clipboard, or nil if no compatible objects are present.

Parameters:

  • name - an optional string indicating the pasteboard name. If nil or not present, defaults to the system pasteboard.
  • all - an optional boolean indicating whether or not all (true) of the urls on the clipboard should be returned, or just the first (false). Defaults to false.

Returns:

  • By default the first styledtext object on the clipboard, or a table of all styledtext objects on the clipboard if the all parameter is provided and set to true. Returns nil if no styledtext objects are present.

Notes:

  • almost all string and styledText objects are internally convertible and will be available with this method as well as hs.pasteboard.readString. If the item on the clipboard is actually just a string, the hs.styledtext object representation will have no attributes set
readURL
Signature hs.pasteboard.readURL([name], [all]) -> string or array of strings representing file or resource urls
Type Function
Description

Returns one or more strings representing file or resource urls from the clipboard, or nil if no compatible objects are present.

Parameters:

  • name - an optional string indicating the pasteboard name. If nil or not present, defaults to the system pasteboard.
  • all - an optional boolean indicating whether or not all (true) of the urls on the clipboard should be returned, or just the first (false). Defaults to false.

Returns:

  • By default the first url on the clipboard, or a table of all urls on the clipboard if the all parameter is provided and set to true. Returns nil if no urls are present.
setContents
Signature hs.pasteboard.setContents(contents[, name]) -> boolean
Type Function
Description

Sets the contents of the pasteboard

Parameters:

  • contents - A string to be placed in the pasteboard
  • name - An optional string containing the name of the pasteboard. Defaults to the system pasteboard

Returns:

  • True if the operation succeeded, otherwise false
typesAvailable
Signature hs.pasteboard.typesAvailable([name]) -> table
Type Function
Description

Returns a table indicating what content types are available on the pasteboard.

Parameters:

  • name - an optional string indicating the pasteboard name. If nil or not present, defaults to the system pasteboard.

Returns:

  • a table which may contain any of the following keys set to the value true:
    • string - at least one element which can be represented as a string is on the pasteboard
    • styledText - at least one element which can be represented as an hs.styledtext object is on the pasteboard
    • sound - at least one element which can be represented as an hs.sound object is on the pasteboard
    • image - at least one element which can be represented as an hs.image object is on the pasteboard
    • URL - at least one element on the pasteboard represents a URL, either to a local file or a remote resource
    • color - at least one element on the pasteboard represents a color, representable as a table as described in hs.drawing.color

Notes:

  • almost all string and styledText objects are internally convertible and will return true for both keys
    • if the item on the clipboard is actually just a string, the hs.styledtext object representation will have no attributes set
    • if the item is actually an hs.styledtext object, the string representation will be the text without any attributes.
uniquePasteboard
Signature hs.pasteboard.uniquePasteboard() -> string
Type Function
Description

Returns the name of a new pasteboard with a name that is guaranteed to be unique with respect to other pasteboards on the computer.

Parameters:

  • None

Returns:

  • a unique pasteboard name

Notes:

  • to properly manage system resources, you should release the created pasteboard with hs.pasteboard.deletePasteboard when you are certain that it is no longer necessary.
writeAllData
Signature hs.pasteboard.writeAllData([name], table) -> boolean
Type Function
Description

Stores in the pasteboard a given table of UTI to data mapping all at once

Parameters:

  • name - an optional string indicating the pasteboard name. If nil or not present, defaults to the system pasteboard.
  • a mapping from a UTI value to the raw data

Returns:

writeArchiverDataForUTI
Signature hs.pasteboard.writeArchiverDataForUTI([name], uti, data, [add]) -> boolean
Type Function
Description

Sets the pasteboard to the contents of the data and assigns its type to the specified UTI. The data will be encoded as an archive conforming to NSKeyedArchiver.

Parameters:

  • name - an optional string indicating the pasteboard name. If nil or not present, defaults to the system pasteboard.
  • uti - a string specifying the UTI of the pasteboard item to set.
  • data - any type representable in Lua which will be converted into the appropriate NSObject types and archived with NSKeyedArchiver. All Lua basic types are supported as well as those NSObject types handled by Hammerspoon modules (NSColor, NSStyledText, NSImage, etc.)
  • add - an optional boolean value specifying if data with other UTI values should retain. This value must be strictly either true or false if given, to avoid ambiguity with preceding parameters.

Returns:

  • True if the operation succeeded, otherwise false (which most likely means ownership of the pasteboard has changed)

Notes:

  • NSKeyedArchiver specifies an architecture-independent format that is often used in OS X applications to store and transmit objects between applications and when storing data to a file. It works by recording information about the object types and key-value pairs which make up the objects being stored.
  • Only objects which have conversion functions built in to Hammerspoon can be converted.

  • A full list of NSObjects supported directly by Hammerspoon is planned in a future Wiki article.

writeDataForUTI
Signature hs.pasteboard.writeDataForUTI([name], uti, data, [add]) -> boolean
Type Function
Description

Sets the pasteboard to the contents of the data and assigns its type to the specified UTI.

Parameters:

  • name - an optional string indicating the pasteboard name. If nil or not present, defaults to the system pasteboard.
  • uti - a string specifying the UTI of the pasteboard item to set.
  • data - a string specifying the raw data to assign to the pasteboard.
  • add - an optional boolean value specifying if data with other UTI values should retain. This value must be strictly either true or false if given, to avoid ambiguity with preceding parameters.

Returns:

  • True if the operation succeeded, otherwise false (which most likely means ownership of the pasteboard has changed)

Notes:

writeObjects
Signature hs.pasteboard.writeObjects(object, [name]) -> boolean
Type Function
Description

Sets the pasteboard contents to the object or objects specified.

Parameters:

  • object - an object or table of objects to set the pasteboard to. The following objects are recognized:
    • a lua string, which can be received by most applications that can accept text from the clipboard
    • hs.styledtext object, which can be received by most applications that can accept a raw NSAttributedString (often converted internally to RTF, RTFD, HTML, etc.)
    • hs.sound object, which can be received by most applications that can accept a raw NSSound object
    • hs.image object, which can be received by most applications that can accept a raw NSImage object
    • a table with the url key and value representing a file or resource url, which can be received by most applications that can accept an NSURL object to represent a file or a remote resource
    • a table with keys as described in hs.drawing.color to represent a color, which can be received by most applications that can accept a raw NSColor object
    • an array of one or more of the above objects, allowing you to place more than one object onto the clipboard.
  • name - an optional string indicating the pasteboard name. If nil or not present, defaults to the system pasteboard.

Returns:

  • true or false indicating whether or not the clipboard contents were updated.

Notes:

  • Most applications can only receive the first item on the clipboard. Multiple items on a clipboard are most often used for intra-application communication where the sender and receiver are specifically written with multiple objects in mind.
writePListForUTI
Signature hs.pasteboard.writePListForUTI([name], uti, data, [add]) -> boolean
Type Function
Description

Sets the pasteboard to the contents of the data and assigns its type to the specified UTI.

Parameters:

  • name - an optional string indicating the pasteboard name. If nil or not present, defaults to the system pasteboard.
  • uti - a string specifying the UTI of the pasteboard item to set.
  • data - a lua type which can be represented as a property list value.
  • add - an optional boolean value specifying if data with other UTI values should retain. This value must be strictly either true or false if given, to avoid ambiguity with preceding parameters.

Returns:

  • True if the operation succeeded, otherwise false (which most likely means ownership of the pasteboard has changed)

Notes: