Working with the screen and history buffer contents

You can pipe the contents of the current screen and history buffer as STDIN to an arbitrary program using the pipe function. The program can be displayed in a kitty window or overlay.

For example, the following in kitty.conf will open the scrollback buffer in less in an overlay window, when you press F1:

map f1 pipe @ansi overlay less +G -R

The syntax of the pipe function is:

pipe <input placeholder> <destination window type> <command line to run>

The piping environment

The program to which the data is piped has a special environment variable declared, KITTY_PIPE_DATA whose contents are:

KITTY_PIPE_DATA={scrolled_by}:{cursor_x},{cursor_y}:{lines},{columns}

where scrolled_by is the number of lines kitty is currently scrolled by, cursor_(x|y) is the position of the cursor on the screen with (1,1) being the top left corner and {lines},{columns} being the number of rows and columns of the screen.

You can choose where to run the pipe program:

overlay
An overlay window over the current kitty window
window
A new kitty window
os_window
A new top-level window
tab
A new window in a new tab
none
Run it in the background

Input placeholders

There are various different kinds of placeholders

@text
Plain text, current screen + scrollback buffer
@ansi
Text with formatting, current screen + scrollback buffer
@screen
Plain text, only current screen
@ansi_screen
Text with formatting, only current screen
@alternate
Plain text, secondary screen. The secondary screen is the screen not currently displayed. For example if you run a fullscreen terminal application, the secondary screen will be the screen you return to when quitting the application.
@ansi_alternate
Text with formatting, secondary screen.
@alternate_scrollback
Plain text, secondary screen + scrollback, if any.
@ansi_alternate_scrollback
Text with formatting, secondary screen + scrollback, if any.
none
No input

You can also add the suffix _wrap to the placeholder, in which case kitty will insert the carriage return at every line wrap location (where long lines are wrapped at screen edges). This is useful if you want to pipe to program that wants to duplicate the screen layout of the screen.