In all terminal emulators that I know of, Ctrl is used for sending control codes such as Ctrl+C and Ctrl+Z. On most systems this conflicts with common keyboard shortcuts.

Thus on all those systems except OS X, CtrlShift is used for copy-pasting and more, which I find really annoying. If I got a penny for every time I opened the Firefox inspector accidentally, I would be rich.

I tried mimicking Apples behavior of using Cmd for keyboard shortcuts, but this is practically impossible to achieve across the whole desktop.

The other alternative is to use another combination for sending control codes. Is there any terminal emulator that supports this?

I found Sakura allows setting the modifier for key combos, but not for control characters. Another desirable feature is non-messed-up line wrapping, but that is of secondary importance.

  • If vi is your thing you can set your terminal in vi mode: $ set -o vi and everything you do in vi can be done on terminal.
    – Ketan
    Commented Feb 9, 2014 at 16:56
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    On *nix systems you selecting anything copies it to the clipboard (well, one of them) and middle clicking pastes. No need for a keyboard shortcut.
    – terdon
    Commented Feb 9, 2014 at 17:22
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    I'd suggest looking through the back catalog of Q&A on U&L, specifically: "unix clipboard". The Unix clipboard is much more sophisticated than the Windows one you're familiar with. There are multiple clipboards as well as a whole host of tools for interacting with them.
    – slm
    Commented Feb 9, 2014 at 17:34
  • What are you talking about... Selecting text in my terminal does not copy anything. I'm not familiar with Windows. I use vi mode already, but esc, v does not let me select and yank stuff.
    – Pepijn
    Commented Feb 10, 2014 at 12:43

4 Answers 4


You can change your settings in Gnome Terminal keyboard settings to make

  • Ctrl+C = Copy
  • Ctrl+V = Paste

Menu > Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts... Gnome Keyboard Shortcuts Settings

Then you can still press Shift to do whatever that key combination would usually do in a terminal, e.g.

  • Ctrl+Shift+C = Interrupt
  • Ctrl+Shift+V = Literal Next Character

Alternatively, you could get into the habit of using

  • Ctrl+Ins = Copy
  • Shift+Del = Cut
  • Shift+Ins = Paste

in all applications, to avoid ever accidentally pressing Ctrl+C in your terminal and having it abort the program instead of copying some text. Those shortcuts date back to the IBM Common User Access standards. Some people might remember them from DOS EDIT.

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    How to do that under xfce terminal ? Commented Mar 21, 2016 at 10:51
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    You, Sir, made my day! I'm appalled how long I lived with ctrl+shift+c/v and all the havoc confusing them between applications has caused considering how easy this fix was.
    – Eloff
    Commented Sep 12, 2017 at 21:04

With the kitty terminal you can set this configuration option (not default, but nice):

map ctrl+c copy_or_interrupt

Then when you hit Ctrl-C, it will copy if something is selected, but if nothing is selected, it'll send the regular Interrupt signal.


You can also select text and paste by clicking with the mouse scroller...


I'm a fan of Parcellite. It can copy content on selection and paste on mouse middle click. It is much faster than using keyboard shortcuts. Give it a try.

  • 4
    +1 but that has nothing to do with parcelite, select to copy and middle click paste is default *nix behavior.
    – terdon
    Commented Feb 9, 2014 at 17:22

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