Documentation for Olla

CopyQ | Geany | Epiphany

While it can be fun to tinker with the settings of CopyQ and Geany, not everyone wants to take that route or has the time to play and experiment. I hope this short documentation will be helpful.


CopyQ is an actively developed project. It is also a very mature project with its own mailing list and excellent documentation. See the website.

The version I am using now is not the most recent one, but the most recent one available for Raspberry Pi OS and derivates. Versions are slightly different from one another, so I'll show the settings that I use in my version 3.7.3. (On my other, more powerful, llnux computer, the version is 3.13.0, the most recent one. * April 2021: newest version is now: CopyQ-4.0.0)

* March 2021: The old version 3.7.3 seems to be a bit unstable, at least on the Raspberry Pi 400. Please use one of the latest versions, 3.13.0, or 4.0.0, if your system allows it.

CopyQ has an import/export feature. You can also download my export from version 3.7.3, version 3.13.0, and from version 4.0.0 to have a starting point. ( Just go to this point below.) It will be imported correctly in that version, but I have no idea what other versions would import it successfully.

Let's open the CopyQ preferences (File>Preferences): My General Configuration looks like this:


Next tab is layout:


Then history:


The tray:


No changes for the Notificatons tab, next one is "Items":


No changes for Shortcuts, next - and last- one is Appearance:


This last one is optional and personal. I have chosen the dark theme, because it looks good to me, but there's a bunch of other themes avalable.

[Edit March 2021]: narrow_copyqHave now changed the layout, just showing the 'notes'...those are the tag names and by hiding the tags themselves, we now have a much narrower copyq column, thereby freeing up screen space and it looks cleaner, calmer and less intimidating, but that is a matter of taste and habit I guess... Personally I much prefer it over the former layout, but if you would like to go back to the old set-up, it is simple. Just go to Preferences/Items and untick "Notes" and then restore the tags' white font color in Preferences/Appearance. (assuming you're using the dark theme...)
The screen shot to the left is an attempt to show the whole list...I just had to shorten and shrink it slightly, to keep it managable here. The only things missing from the shot are the 4 top entries, the headings 1 to 4.

Please feel free to replace any of the tags with your own choice. The list is my personal would be crazily pretentious to think this is the right choice for everyone. You will soon discover deleting items and adding new ones is child's play. Olla was born out of a desire to symplify web writing maximally, while making sure freedom of choice is built-in.

While Olla was kept simple intentionally, it is entirely possible someone will use it as a starting point for something more powerful. E.g. one of the 'shortcomings' of Olla as it is now, is that it is less ideal for writers who are used to write their bare text first and then, once finished, go over it again to add styles, links, images, etc. To make that way of working comfortable, you would have to be able to select a word or a span, choose e.g. the bold tag, hit Enter and wham... the selection is bold. This does not work with Olla in its present form: the selection would be deleted and replaced by the empty tag. This is not to say it is impossible with Olla in its present form, it just takes some extra cutting/pasting ( Ctrl + x / Ctrl + v). (still far less work than writing the html!) I'll try to show it in this short GIF (webm):

Alternatively you can of course write more like an artist, considering the whole page layout while writing your text. That would largely alleviate the need to go over the text a second time to add all parts of the style. But this too is a habit and it's a bad idea to force people into something that doesn't fit into their natural habits. As a notorious slow typist, it feels natural to me to add style while composing, but I fully understand people who "write first, embellish later".

Maybe a next generation of Olla will have this capability to wrap a tag around a piece of selected text...that would be awesome... however, I cannot code that nor do I want to, as it deviates from the main purpose: to simplify, simplify, simplify...

Import my export ;)

If you want to try my 'export' (settings, tags, templates) as a start, you can download it here:

All I know is that 'export' from the recent 3.13 is not compatable with version 3.7.3.


From the website :

Geany is a powerful, stable and lightweight programmer's text editor that provides tons of useful features without bogging down your workflow. It runs on Linux, Windows and MacOS is translated into over 40 languages, and has built-in support for more than 50 programming languages.

I really like Geany. It has everything I need. In fact it has more than I need. If you are not a programmer and you're using Geany the way I do - mostly for web writing- it pays to adjust Geany a little to your needs. In just a few simple steps, it becomes more of a html editor. These steps are not necessary, they just create a more enjoyable environment to write in:

If for some reason, you don't like Geany, Olla works with any text editor. I tested Featherpad and Atom (in mxlinux), good old BlueFish, and Mousepad, a simple xfce text editor. All worked as expected. Humble Mousepad was a nice surprise, after fiddling with its settings just a little bit. Perfect for people who love ultra lightweight. No auto-saving though:



For the live preview I chose Epiphany ( a.k.a. 'Gnome Web' or 'Web') for several reasons:

  1. Its rendering stays close enough to Firefox and Chrome/Chromium
  2. It is small but has everything needed
  3. Most importantly: it auto-reloads each time a Geany document is saved! This is a rare feature in html viewers and browsers.( and great longer needing to refresh the browser manually after each change in the source .)
  4. Just like CopyQ and Geany it remembers its size and position, making the trio cooperate perfectly.

Just as with Geany, you could replace Epiphany with any browser. One of the advantages of choosing a small extra browser like Epiphany, is that it frees up your main browser and its settings for daily work. ( browsing instead of web writing)

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