I'd like to do something like this:

  • On the command line, copy a file to the Windows clipboard
  • In Windows Explorer, paste the file/files into a current location

Is there a simple tool to do this, in cygwin or elsewhere?

  • How does this fit into your wider workflow? I ask because AFAIK this isn't possible either using any Cygwin tool or the Windows command shell, and I'm wondering if there's a different way to do what you're trying to do.
    – me_and
    Feb 13, 2013 at 13:48
  • 1
    Came to ask the same question. The way it fits into my workflow is: I work mostly on command line, mostly Emacs. To send a file as outlook mail attachment, I have to open explorer and copy from explorer and paste in outlook. If I can copy the "file" into clipboard on command line, I don't have to open explorer. Aug 30, 2013 at 1:07

3 Answers 3


Try the clip utility that comes with Windows.


    Redirects output of command line tools to the Windows clipboard.
    This text output can then be pasted into other programs.

Parameter List:
    /?                  Displays this help message.

    DIR | CLIP          Places a copy of the current directory
                        listing into the Windows clipboard.

    CLIP < README.TXT   Places a copy of the text from readme.txt
                        on to the Windows clipboard.
  • This won't allow the file to be pasted via windows-explorer. If you run clip < filename then Windows explorer disables paste as the clipboard only contains the file contents, not whatever an explorer copy would capture. Feb 13, 2013 at 3:54
  • @AdrianPronk Yes, sorry, good point. I misread the question. Searching, it doesn't appear that there is a good alternative for file copying that would then work with explorer. Feb 13, 2013 at 4:32
  • 1
    In Cygwin, the canonical method to do what you're suggesting is to redirect to /dev/clipboard, rather than invoke a Windows utility program. You can also read from /dev/clipboard, which means you can use it in all sorts of exciting *nix-y pipelines and workflows. That doesn't answer the OP's question either, though!
    – me_and
    Feb 13, 2013 at 13:41

I'm using this tool https://github.com/roryyorke/picellif. This is a Windows commandline tool. Put it into your PATH in Cygwin. I actually use it along with winpty like this in .bashrc

alias cf='winpty picellif'


With Cygwin:

user@computer ~$ echo "foo bar" |clip

user@computer ~$ cat /dev/clipboard
foo bar

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