I'm trying to paste a 3K file into Thunderbird's "Write" window (i.e. for composing new messages).

This (sometimes) works:

date | xclip
# then use middle button to paste

This doesn't work:

cat /tmp/out.txt | xclip
xclip -o | wc    # just to make sure it got there - reports:      70     309    3233
# press middle mouse in Thunderbird's "Write" window - nothing is pasted

But this works:

cat /tmp/out.txt | xclip
# open gedit, paste into gedit, then select-all and copy
# paste into Thunderbird

Is there a limit to what Thunderbird can accept via the X-clipboard?

Is there another way to insert the contents of a file into a Thuderbird compose window?

I'm using Ubuntu 10.10.

  • Are you sure that the problem is on Thunderbird's end? Is there not a limit to the X clipboard? (Also, any reason for not just attaching this beast?)
    – new123456
    Oct 3, 2011 at 21:58
  • there's something else going on -- even the first example (date | xclip) doesn't always work.
    – ErikR
    Oct 3, 2011 at 22:07

2 Answers 2


How about using the compose command line?

thunderbird -compose "to='r[email protected]',subject='Test',body='`cat /tmp/out/txt`' "
  • that's interesting...
    – ErikR
    Nov 10, 2011 at 2:05

Somewhere on the web I found that xsel does the trick - I just tested it and will be using it from now on.

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