I am running tmux inside urxvt. I would like to select and copy text using the left mouse button and paste it using the middle mouse button -- I am very old school.

I did get tmux-yank almost working but need to hit SHIFT+Mouse 1 Select doing the selection, then hit y… This is a lot of key presses.

Anyone knows how I can get this simple behaviour working better?

Here are some versions:

; tmux -V       
tmux 2.2
; urxvt256c-ml --version 
urxvt: "version": unknown or malformed option.
rxvt-unicode (urxvt256c-ml) v9.21 - released: 2014-12-31
options: perl,xft,styles,combining,blink,iso14755,unicode3,encodings=eu+vn+jp+jp-ext+kr+zh+zh-ext,fade,transparent,tint,pixbuf,XIM,frills,selectionscrolling,wheel,slipwheel,smart-resize,cursorBlink,pointerBlank,scrollbars=plain+rxvt+NeXT+xterm
; awesome --version
awesome v3.5.9 (Mighty Ravendark)
 • Build: Mar  7 2016 18:43:56 for x86_64 by gcc version 6.0.0 (mockbuild@)
 • Compiled against Lua 5.3.2 (running with Lua 5.3)
 • D-Bus support: ✔
  • 1
    Old school is actually: select with left button and paste with middle button (and it works out-of-the-box). Did I understand correctly? You want to copy with middle button, not paste? Sep 23, 2016 at 11:45
  • @MartinSugioarto: Oops, you are right. Select and copy with left, paste with middle. And that does not work out of the box… Sep 23, 2016 at 11:51
  • @MartinSugioarto: Well, ${insult}! It does indeed work out of the box. Something is FUBAR with my configuration, somewhere: set -g mouse on seems to be it. Sep 23, 2016 at 11:53

1 Answer 1


In case some other poor soul struggles with this, here is my ~/.tmux.conf file. I use the tmux plugin manager so install that first.

# ./tmux.conf

# Powerline…
run-shell "powerline-daemon -q"
source '~/.local/lib/python2.7/site-packages/powerline/bindings/tmux/powerline.conf'

# VI-mode…
setw -g mode-keys vi

# C-b is not acceptable -- Vim uses it
set-option -g prefix C-a
bind-key C-a last-window

# Set windows modes styles
set -g mode-style "fg=black,bg=colour69"

# Renumber windows
set -g renumber-windows on

# Automaitcally rename.
setw -g automatic-rename

# Allows for faster key repetition
set -s escape-time 0

# Scroll History
set -g history-limit 30000

# Mouse
set -g mouse on # ← This stops the default correct behaviour…

# List of plugins
set -g @plugin 'tmux-plugins/tpm' # ← The tmux plugin manager.
set -g @plugin 'nhdaly/tmux-scroll-copy-mode' # ← sane scrolling.
set -g @plugin 'tmux-plugins/tmux-yank' # ← Yanking.
set -g @shell_mode 'vi'  # tmux-yank option.
set -g @yank_selection 'primary'  # tmux-yank option.

# Initialize TMUX plugin manager (keep this line at the very bottom of tmux.conf)
run '~/.tmux/plugins/tpm/tpm'

So, you can use the mouse to select whatever text you wish. If you hit y before releasing the left mouse button, the selection is copy into the primary buffer which you can paste via the middle mouse click.

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