Copy/paste has never worked properly in all cases in GNU/Linux, for decades, and this problem is still not fixed.

I find myself with two xfce4-terminal instances, terminal A and terminal B.

Terminal A is at a bash command prompt. Terminal B is in a vim instance, editing some arbitrary file.

I attempt to copy/paste text from B into A, by highlighting the text in B with the mouse cursor. The text becomes successfully highlighted. I use the middle button in terminal A.

Expected results:

The text from terminal B should be copied into terminal A.

Actual results:

The previous entry in the clip buffer gets dumped in terminal A instead.

My "fix":

Get out of vim and use less or similar command line tools, copy the text without being in vim. Then it works as expected.


Is there a better fix?

  • Have you tried Right Click->Copy and Right Click->Paste? or Copy & Paste from the terminal's Edit menu? or highlight to select in the source terminal and then Edit Menu->Paste Selection. All of those work for me in xfce4-terminal. standard middle-button paste works for me most of the time (but that depends on what the source program does - some apps like to use the clipboard for selections instead of just the select buffer). – cas Oct 5 '19 at 10:42
  • btw, it might help if you set mouse= and ttymouse= (i.e. null arguments) in your .vimrc. IMO vim's mouse handling sucks so I disable it. That may be why copy-paste works for me....it's been so long since i've allowed vim mouse handling that I can't remember how it behaved. – cas Oct 5 '19 at 10:44
  • See vi.stackexchange.com/q/84 Make sure your version of Vim has +clipboard support. I recommend Neovim. – Devon Oct 5 '19 at 15:57

You can use the terminal in vim mode. If you type in the terminal console, set -o vi The terminal keyboard layout now switches to vim mode.

another way: copy / cut mouse clipboard paste in the terminal


  • This doesn’t answer how to copy from Vim. – Devon Oct 5 '19 at 16:02
  • because we don't copy mouse on the vim, if you standard mode on the vim, you chanced mode v, Visiual mode and we keypress J belove line select or K above line select than yy command than for paste pp command – Erdal Oct 5 '19 at 16:29
  • 1
    vi users usually don't use a mouse – Erdal Oct 5 '19 at 16:37

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