navigator.clipboard API

By  on  

Interacting with a user's host clipboard is something web developers have wanted for both good and evil purposes. On the good side, it's nice to allow users to easily copy text like wallet addresses or branch names; for evil, copying malicious text that the user may mistakenly paste into a form and have their funds stolen -- and there are probably more evil reasons.

We used to use the document.execCommand('copy') to accomplish this task, but it was unreliable. The navigator.clipboard API provides async readText and writeText methods for managing clipboard data. Let's have a look how it works!

// Write to clipboard
document.body.addEventListener(
    "click", 
    (e) => {
        await navigator.clipboard.writeText("Yo")
    }
)

// Read from clipboard
document.body.addEventListener(
    "click", 
    (e) => {
        const text = await navigator.clipboard.readText()
    }
)

The readText and writeText methods are easy enough to use, but you can't execute this code whenever you'd like, due to browser security protocols. Oftentimes you need to use this code inside of an event listener, as a result of an action taken by the users.

I'm glad we now have an API that's async and more reliable than the gross execCommand hack of the old days. Still, I sometimes wonder how this could be exploited, because after all, you can still put any text there. Let's all do each other a solid though -- let's use this API for good, not evil!

Recent Features

  • By
    CSS Animations Between Media Queries

    CSS animations are right up there with sliced bread. CSS animations are efficient because they can be hardware accelerated, they require no JavaScript overhead, and they are composed of very little CSS code. Quite often we add CSS transforms to elements via CSS during...

  • By
    5 HTML5 APIs You Didn’t Know Existed

    When you say or read "HTML5", you half expect exotic dancers and unicorns to walk into the room to the tune of "I'm Sexy and I Know It."  Can you blame us though?  We watched the fundamental APIs stagnate for so long that a basic feature...

Incredible Demos

  • By
    jQuery Countdown Plugin

    You've probably been to sites like RapidShare and MegaUpload that allow you to download files but make you wait a specified number of seconds before giving you the download link. I've created a similar script but my script allows you to animate the CSS font-size...

  • By
    Image Manipulation with PHP and the GD Library

    Yeah, I'm a Photoshop wizard. I rock the selection tool. I crop like a farmer. I dominate the bucket tool. Hell, I even went as far as wielding the wizard wand selection tool once. ...OK I'm rubbish when it comes to Photoshop.

Discussion

  1. Dan F

    In the compatibility tables on MDN https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Web/API/Clipboard/writeText it says for Firefox
    “Writing to the clipboard is available without permission in secure contexts and browser extensions, but only from user-initiated event callbacks”

    What’s secure contexts in this case? Just https, or some other restrictions?

Wrap your code in <pre class="{language}"></pre> tags, link to a GitHub gist, JSFiddle fiddle, or CodePen pen to embed!