Manipulating the clipboard using python3

Sometimes I make a lot of effort in order to be extremely lazy. In this instance I got bored of manually generating folder names from book titles so decided to create a script to do it for me.

Initially I was copying the title, pasting it into the input() then copying out the result and pasting it into the new folder dialog. Even this seemed like too much effort. A short web search, led me to Build a Shared Clipboard Utility in Python : Page 3. The relevant bit for my purposes (since I’m only using this on my Mac) is Listing 4 which gives this snippet:

import subprocess

def getClipboardData():
    p = subprocess.Popen(['pbpaste'], stdout=subprocess.PIPE)
    retcode = p.wait()
    data =
    return data.decode('utf-8')

def setClipboardData(data):
    p = subprocess.Popen(['pbcopy'], stdin=subprocess.PIPE)
    retcode = p.wait()

I have added the encode() and decode() calls to the clipboard functions in order that they not have to be repeated across calls.

Now I have this I need to add it to my existing string manipulation function and make it run on demand (as it intercepting all clipboard traffic would be annoying).

import regex as re

translator = str.maketrans('. ', '-_')

if input('Ready: ').lower() != "x":
    op = re.sub('[^{\w .}]+', "", getClipboardData()) # remove all punctuation apart from periods
    op = re.sub('__+', "_", op).translate(translator).lower() # replace any resulting __ with _, switch . for -

Now all I have to do is copy the filename, cmd+tab over to my terminal app (iTerm2) and press enter.