Using the vim text editor, I am looking for a method to copy content highlighted in visual mode to the system clipboard (i.e. I would then be able to Ctr-v that content say in a browser window).

Is there a standard way to copy content directly to the system clipboard? If not is there a suited hack to enable it for Mac OS 10.7.3?


If your VIM was built with the clipboard feature enabled, then you select your text in visual mode, and then type "*y.

To paste from the clipboard, do "*p.

  • @Kurt The text register "* is special, it places the selected text into the X CLIPBOARD. – Keith Apr 10 '12 at 12:12
  • This does not work for me. Each time I press "* I get a bell and then y/p perform their independently mapped actions. – rudolph9 Apr 10 '12 at 17:40
  • This seems to be an issue with OS X, from what I have gather it does not properly map the X CLIPBOARD as mentioned by Keith. (it seems rather unsuited to even call OS X Unix anymore!) – rudolph9 Apr 10 '12 at 17:49
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    For OSX this article was rather helpful. Basically there is a command pbcopy and pbpast which you able to call for say the current line . !pbcopy or if you don't want the current line cut .w !pbcopy. – rudolph9 Apr 10 '12 at 17:59
  • Right, the "* register is only available where VIM was built with the right settings. It might be that OS X can't do that, but I can't check as I don't have it. – ams Apr 10 '12 at 19:02

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