Coming from Mac OS X, I've enjoyed being able to cut/copy/paste text to and from its built in Terminal application.

Now, I am planning to migrate to a tiling window manager like scrotwm, xmonad, etc., but all I've got right now is xTerm. I can't get it to accept cut/paste. Is there another terminal emulator that accepts cut and paste from other programs' windows?

(by the way, I hope the encoding will support UTF-8)

  • xterm supports copy/paste, or at least it should. Are you using the wrong hotkey? Shift+insert should be paste by default Jan 18, 2011 at 21:39
  • 2
    What exactly have you tried? First try to copy-paste from an xterm to an xterm: select by holding down the left mouse button, paste by pressing the middle button. Jan 18, 2011 at 21:52
  • I see, but my MacBook Pro doesn't seem to have the insert key, and my mouse doesn't have a middle button..... can the keybindings be changed? Thanks.
    – hpy
    Jan 18, 2011 at 22:21
  • Sounds like he's using X11.app on a mac. I think this should be migrated to apple.stackexchange.com.
    – bahamat
    Jan 18, 2011 at 23:02
  • @penyuan: The keybindings can be changed (look out for “translations” and “resources”), but there might be recommended settings for Macs that people on Apple Stack Exchange would know better. If you want to migrate your question there, flag your question for moderator attention. Jan 19, 2011 at 0:19

2 Answers 2


Xfce Terminal Emulator, Konsole, and Gnome Terminal are good terminal emulators, and all are going to have tabs and keyboard shortcuts. The decision is mainly going to come down to which toolkit you like and which dependencies you can live with.

Xfce Terminal is a personal favorite of mine. It's simpler then the other two, but it's mainly missing profiles, which the other two have, which I don't use. It uses the GTK+ widget toolkit, and it has some dependencies to Xfce.

Konsole is from the KDE project, and like all things KDE, it has tons of knobs to tweak. At one time it had the distinction of being the fastest terminal emulator due to some intelligence code which cut down on the amount of text written to the screen while scrolling. It relies on the QT widget toolkit, and has dependencies to KDE.

Gnome Terminal served as the basis for Xfce Terminal, so the preferences look the similar to Xfce Terminal. The biggest difference is the inclusion of profiles. I'm not sure what difference they would make, since I don't use them. It's based on GTK+, and it has dependencies to Gnome.

I'm sure there are more term emulators out there that are lighter weight, but these are just the ones I'm most familiar with and the ones most Terminal.app like.


Add the line below to your .Xdefaults and the xterm will copy/paste to all buffers and you will be able to copy/paste between say xterm and any GTK apps, etc (which I reckon is essentially what you want):

xterm*VT100.translations: #override <Btn1Up>: select-end(PRIMARY, CLIPBOARD, CUT_BUFFER0)

To paste into xterm from the clipboard (or the primary selection), use this:

XTerm*VT100.translations: #override <Btn2Up>: insert-selection(PRIMARY,CLIPBOARD,CUT_BUFFER0)

EDIT: There is anouther easier setting in xterm that does pretty much the same (adding the following to .Xdefault would do):

xterm*selectToClipboard: true

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