I have been trying to figure out why when I use "*y or "*x in one terminal window running vim and "*p in another it doesn't paste what I had just copy or cut and just can't figure it out.

I know that * is the system clipboard buffer, but it will not copy between terminal windows.

I'm on Ubuntu 12.04 with Vim 7.3.


Use :version to see what features are included (+) or not (-).

If you see -clipboard and -xterm_clipboard then it's not going to work. You could compile vim yourself including those features, or you could install vim-gtk through:

apt-get install vim-gtk
  • Really the only way to make this work is to compile it myself? there has got to be some other way – csteifel Jun 5 '12 at 2:29
  • 2
    Ah I got it, I had to get the vim-gtk package – csteifel Jun 5 '12 at 2:41
  • I see you have a solution, but for the record, you can start gvim as gvim -v and it will start in terminal mode, so that you'll have a terminal vim with X11 features enabled. – garyjohn Jun 5 '12 at 4:29

AFAIK that only works in gvim - not in vim running in a terminal.

  • It works in the terminal version, but needs the compilation switch mentioned in Matthew Cline's answer. The "beefier" Vim packages in the mainstream distributions come with this functionality. – Daniel Andersson Jun 5 '12 at 6:44

From the help.ubuntu.com website:

NOTE: As of Ubuntu 6.10 (Edgy Eft), the default Vim install is a cut-down version called "vim-tiny". In order to get the full version complete with the online help documentation, and many of the advanced functions such as code folding; you will need to install "vim":

sudo apt-get install vim

This should install a (much!) better build of vim, allowing you to do the clipboard cut/paste from terminals. (I do it all the time). You might also install the 'vim-gtk' package to obtain the GUI build, sometimes it's handy to have (I map 'Meta-V' to open gvim for me, hotkeys for the win!)

(There is no need to uninstall the 'vim-tiny' package, it's kinda 'absorbed' into the 'vim' and 'vim-gtk' packages)

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