#file-copy #file-path #terminal-file #cp #yank #command-line-tool #tool

app ynk

Effortlessly yank and paste files blazingly fast in the terminal

13 releases

new 0.3.0 Apr 7, 2024
0.2.6 Feb 10, 2024
0.2.2 Jan 28, 2024
0.1.9 Jan 24, 2024

#112 in Filesystem

Download history 20/week @ 2024-01-15 17/week @ 2024-01-22 5/week @ 2024-02-05 24/week @ 2024-02-19 8/week @ 2024-02-26 17/week @ 2024-03-11 174/week @ 2024-04-01

191 downloads per month

MIT license



Y(a)nk is a simple command line tool that implements a very basic feature in the terminal that I always wanted to have. It allows you to essentially copy and paste files from one directory to another without having to type out the full path. It's a very simple tool that I made for myself, but I thought it might be useful for others as well.

So essentially, you can go into a directory, like you would do with a GUI, and copy a file or directory. Then you can go to another directory and paste it. It's that simple.

No cp or mv needed. Just yank and paste.



If you are on a unix platform like Linux or Macos, ynk has first class and tested support for it. The best way to install it is to use cargo. If you don't have cargo installed, you can install it from here.

Once you have cargo installed, you can install ynk by running the following command:

cargo install ynk


The best way to install ynk on Windows is to use cargo.

cargo install ynk

Moreover, I cannot test it on Windows, so if you find any bugs, please open an issue.



To copy a file or directory, you can use the add command. It takes a single argument which is the path to the file(s) or directory(s) that you want to copy.

yank add README.md

For this you need not provide any arguments. This is because this inherently doesn't do any sort of IO operations. It just stores the path of the file or directory in a database. So it's very fast.

It checks the integrity of the path, converts it into a suitable format, and then stores it in the database. If the path is invalid, it will throw an error.


Pasting is also quite simple. Just use the paste command. Here is where you get to essentially tweak what you want to copy over. You can do this with the following options

WARNING: Paste will paste all the files and directories in the store. If you want to specify a specific entry, use ynk list, get the index of the entry, and then use ynk paste -r <index>, or just use ynk pop.

ynk paste [-n|--no-ignore] [--hidden] [-s|--strict] [-f|--force] [--dry-run] [-r|--range <start..end>] [--id <id1,id2>] [-d|--delete] FOLDER_NAME

Before passing in the options, know that the paste command is highly optimized for IO tasks. All the way from reading the directory structure (walking the directory tree) to reading and writing files. It uses a lot of threads to do this. So it's very fast.

Moreover, it also by default respects your .gitignore file and doesn't copy over an hidden files or directories. To learn how to tweak this, read the options below.

  • -n or --no-ignore: This will make it ignore the .gitignore file and copy over all files and directories.
  • -a or --all: This will make it copy over all the files and directories, including hidden files and directories.
  • -s or --strict: This will make sure that any and all IO errors are reported. By default, it will ignore any IO errors and continue with the operation.
  • -f or --force: TODO For now, this does nothing. But in the future, this will make it overwrite any files or directories that already exist.
  • --dry-run: This will make it not actually copy over any files or directories. It will just print out what it would have done.
  • -r or --range: This will make it paste only a range of files and directories. This is useful when you want to paste only a few files and directories from a large list. You can specify the range in the following format: start:end. It is not the smartest yet, so make sure that you specify the range correctly. It will throw an error if the range is invalid.
  • -d or --delete: This will make it delete the files and directories from stored in the database after pasting them. Not from the disk.
  • --preserve: This will preserve the natural path of the filename and use, it as is. For example, if you use ynk add ../README.md --preserve, when you paste it, it will actually ../ to the path and paste it in the parent directory.
  • --size: This will print out the size of the files and directories that are being listed, can be only used with list command.
  • --id: This will paste only the files with the specified id's. Overrides the range option.


This is the most common use case. You can pop the last file or directory that you copied. This will remove it from the database and paste all the files and directories in the current directory. The same options as the paste command, except the --range option, are available for the pop command.

yank pop [-n|--no-ignore] [--hidden] [-s|--strict] [-f|--force] [--dry-run] [-d|--delete] FOLDER_NAME


You can list all the files and directories indexed by ynk in the database.

yank list


You can delete a file or directory from the database.

yank delete README.md

So it's just a glorified cp?

Well, yes and no. For now, it only has a database that sort of abstracts a name and full path. So you can do something like this:

yank add README.md

This would store something like this in the database:

id name path created_at
1 README.md /home/user/README.md 2020-01-01 00:00:00

So, when you paste, it would basically just read the entire file, store it in temporary memory, and then write it to the current directory. So it's not really a cp or mv because it doesn't actually move the file. It just reads and writes it.

Stuff Ynk can do that cp can't

  • It can respect your .gitignore file. So if you have a file or directory that is ignored by git, it won't be copied over.
  • Have a consistent store of files and directories that you copy over. You can list them, delete them, and paste them whenever you want.
  • Essentially, it's a clipboard for your files and directories.
  • It's fast. It uses multiple threads to do IO operations, so it's very fast.
  • Especially useful for handling very large projects with dependencies, think node_modules or target directories.
  • You can essentially combine multiple cp commands into one. You can copy over multiple files and directories, and then paste them all at once, in fact this is the recommended way to use ynk.
  • Hey, it's Rust. So it's fast and safe.
  • Essentially, it's a GUI like feature in the terminal.

What about the pasting?

Pasting is at the core of this tool. The indexed files and directories are stored in a database. So when you paste, it will read the file's exact path from the database, and then read the file, and then write it to the current directory. If the path it is reading from is invalid, it will throw an error.

The IO operation itself is powered by multiple threads, almost like a thread pool. So it's very fast. Every file IO is done in a separate thread. So it's very fast. The Reading and writing of the files is done in chunks powered by tokio's fs module, maintaining safety and speed.

The file tree is walked using walkdir, while making sure that it respects the .gitignore file. All of this is done parallely in a thread pool with a in memory static cache.

What DB do I need to install?

You need not install any database.

The database is a simple SQLite3 database, the drivers for which are embedded in the binary. So you don't need to install anything else. This keeps the binary a single file, and makes it easy to install and use.

The db functionality is all abstracted away in a separate module, so it's easy to swap out the database if needed.


  • Add a --force option to overwrite files and directories.
  • Add a --target option to paste files and directories in a specific directory. (release 0.1.2)
  • Add config file support.
  • Add permanent storage option.
  • More explicit error handling.


This project is licensed under the MIT License - see the LICENSE file for details.


ynk is an open source project and contributions are welcome. You can contribute in many ways like filing issues, fixing bugs, suggesting features, etc. You can read the contributing guidelines here.

I am quite new to Rust, so if you find any bugs or have any suggestions, please open an issue. I would love to hear your feedback.

Thanks for trying out ynk!


~1M SLoC