I'm on Ubuntu. I copied some arguments (separated by newline) and I can use xsel to print them out like this

$ xsel

Now, I want to use each of these arguments for another command and execute that command as many times as there are arguments.

So I tried

$ xsel | mycommand "constantArgument" $1

However, this executed mycommand only for the first argument. How can I execute it for every argument?

  • Edited the question to reflect the fact that there is more than one argument to mycommand.
    – Wes
    Mar 19 '14 at 20:10

You can simply use xargs

xsel | xargs -n1 echo mycommand 

-n1 means one arg for mycommand, but it's just dry run, it will show what going to be run, to run it remove echo

For constant Argument

xsel | xargs -I {} -n1 echo mycommand "constantArgument" {}
  • 1
    What if "mycommand" expects more than one argument out of which the xsel contains just one argument?
    – Wes
    Mar 19 '14 at 20:07
  • xsel | xargs -n1 echo mycommand -more-arg Mar 19 '14 at 20:08
  • xsel | xargs -n2 echo mycommand two arg per command Mar 19 '14 at 20:09
xsel | while read line; do mycommand "$line"; done

Or something similar. You can also use xargs, which is a very powerful command for manipulation of command line arguments.


For a little customizability:

printf "${CMD} %s ${ARG2}\n" `xsel` | sh -n

You can remove the -noexecute flag after you've seen how it works.

If it works for you, you can drop sh entirely and do this instead:

. <<HERE /dev/stdin
    $(printf "${CMD} %s ${ARG2}\n" `xsel`)

Or faster:

printf "${CMD} %s ${ARG2}\n" `xsel` | . /dev/stdin

Either way is easy and will do it.

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