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XSEL(1x)							      XSEL(1x)

       xsel - manipulate the X selection.

       xsel [OPTION]...

       Retrieve	and set	the X selection.

       The  X server maintains three selections, called	PRIMARY, SECONDARY and
       CLIPBOARD. The PRIMARY selection	is conventionally  used	 to  implement
       copying	and  pasting  via  the	middle mouse button. The SECONDARY and
       CLIPBOARD selections are	less frequently	used by	application  programs.
       This  program operates on the PRIMARY selection unless otherwise	speci-

       By default, this	program	outputs	the selection without modification  if
       both  standard  input  and standard output are terminals	(ttys).	Other-
       wise, the current selection is output if	standard output	is not a  ter-
       minal  (tty),  and the selection	is set from standard input if standard
       input is	not a terminal (tty). If any input or output options are given
       then the	program	behaves	only in	the requested mode.

       If  both	 input	and  output is required	then the previous selection is
       output before being replaced by the contents of standard	input.

       Input options

       -a, --append
	      append standard input to the selection. Implies -i.

       -f, --follow
	      append to	selection as standard input grows. Implies -i.

       -i, --input
	      read standard input into the selection.

       Output options

       -o, --output
	      write the	selection to standard output.

       Action options

       -c, --clear
	      clear the	selection. Overrides all input options.

       -d, --delete
	      Request that the current selection be  deleted.  This  not  only
	      clears  the selection, but also requests to the program in which
	      the selection resides that the  selected	contents  be  deleted.
	      Overrides	all input options.

       Selection options

       -p, --primary
	      operate on the PRIMARY selection (default).

       -s, --secondary
	      operate on the SECONDARY selection.

       -b, --clipboard
	      operate on the CLIPBOARD selection.

       -k, --keep
	      Do not modify the	selections, but	make the PRIMARY and SECONDARY
	      selections persist even after the	programs they were selected in
	      exit. (Conventionally, the CLIPBOARD selection is	persisted by a
	      separate special purpose program such as xclipboard(1)). Ignores
	      all input	and output options.

       -x, --exchange
	      exchange the PRIMARY and SECONDARY selections. Ignores all input
	      and output options.

       X options

       -d displayname, --display displayname
	      specify the server to use; see X(1).

       -t ms, --selectionTimeout ms
	      Specify the timeout in milliseconds within which	the  selection
	      must be retrieved. A value of 0 (zero) specifies no timeout (de-

       Miscellaneous options

       -l filename, --logfile filename
	      Specify the file	to  log	 errors	 to  when  detached.  (Default

       -n, --nodetach
	      Do  not  detach  from the	controlling terminal. Without this op-
	      tion, xsel will fork to become a background  process  in	input,
	      exchange and keep	modes.

       -h, --help
	      display usage information	and exit

       -v, --verbose
	      Print informative	messages. Additional instances of -v raise the
	      debugging	level, ie. print more information.

	      output version information and exit

       There is	no X selection buffer. The selection mechanism in  X11	is  an
       interclient  communication  mediated by the X server each time any pro-
       gram wishes to know the selection contents, eg.	to  perform  a	middle
       mouse  button  paste.  In order to implement modification of the	selec-
       tion(s) (in input, keep and exchange modes) this	program	detaches  from
       the  terminal,  spawning	a child	process	to supply the new selection(s)
       on demand. This child exits immediately when any	 other	program	 takes
       over  the  selection(s),	 eg. when the user next	selects	some text in a
       terminal	window or by running xsel -c.

       xsel conforms to	the Inter-Client Communication Conventions Manual Ver-
       sion 2.0	(ICCCM2).

       X(7), Xserver(1), xset(1), xclipboard(1), xpaste(1)

       Conrad Parker <>, July 2001

				 January 2008			      XSEL(1x)


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