Text Clippings in the Terminal

macOS has supported text clippings since OS 9: snippets of text — RTF if appropriate — that can be dragged around your computer and dropped into text fields (or any other view that accepts a string of characters). Creating a clipping is simple: select the desired text with your cursor and then drag the selection to your desktop.

The bad news: prior to macOS Sierra the contents of text clippings were stored in difficult-to-parse resources forks, thereby rendering them virtually inaccessible to shell scripts and other UNIX-based utilities unless you wanted to jump through painful hoops to access them.

The goods news: as of 10.12 text clippings are plain old files saved in Apple’s binary plist format, which can be read from & written to via the NSDictionary class.

text-clipping is a simple Swift script that will echo the plain-text contents of clippings to standard out:

$ text-clipping ~/Desktop/hashtags.textClipping
#Z7
#raw
#RPE11
#topset
#wymtm
#blessed
#brocycle
#herniaface
#squatsarefree
#fromwhereilift
#bulkingseason
#ysesucksforlifting

Clone it on GitHub.