I like having a keyboard shortcut to paste contents of X11 clipboard. Right now, I have the following in my .Xresources file:

XTerm*VT100*translations: #override \n\
    <Key>F2: insert-selection(PRIMARY,CUT_BUFFER0)

That makes the function key into a keyboard paste in an xterm window of whatever I've highlighted in some other xterm window. I like having keyboard paste a special key on my left hand, because that means I can move the mouse around with my right hand, and I don't have to move from mouse-to-keyboard-and-back with my right hand all the time.

Does some more general method of doing this exist? I'm stuck using explicit copy-n-paste (control-C, control-V) in Firefox, and I'd like to use to paste everywhere.

  • Probably I misunderstand you, but I find the mouse's middle button handier: with the left mouse button (right hand) I select the text in Firefox, with Alt-Tab (left hand) I switch the window to XTerm, with middle button (right hand) I paste the text into XTerm. Have I missed something in your workflow?
    – manatwork
    Jul 30, 2012 at 17:15
  • Just a little. If I copy some text with a mouse, I often want to paste it while both hands are back on the keyboard, you know, like when editing with Vim. Or maybe I paste once with the middle-mouse-button, and then a few seconds later, I want to paste again, but both hands are on the keyboard.
    – user732
    Jul 30, 2012 at 18:50
  • Got it. Sorry, I have no idea that would better integrate into this workflow.
    – manatwork
    Jul 31, 2012 at 5:54
  • Do any of the answers to these questions work?
    – jw013
    Aug 7, 2012 at 14:35

1 Answer 1


You can map the execution of:

xte "mouseclick 2"

to some key or key combination in your window manager.

For instance, with openbox, add

<keybind key="S-F2">
    <action name="Execute">
      <command>xte "mouseclick 2"</command>

to the keyboard section to bind it to Shift-F2

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