I have OSX ML and Vim 7.3. When I try to use OSX clipboard...well nothing happens.

If I do "+yy for instance, nothing gets into osx clipboard. "* doesn't work either, neither does ex command yaking to register's + and *. Pasting into Vim from OSX clipboard doesn't work either.

Also, :set clipboard=unnamed doesn't work either (supposed to sync unnamed register with osx clipboard). It doesn't work in iTerm nor System Terminal.

I have no problems on my Linux box.

EDIT: I just found out my Vim isn't compiled with clipboard:

jan@rmbp:~$ vim --version
VIM - Vi IMproved 7.3 (2010 Aug 15, compiled Jun 20 2012 13:16:02)
Compiled by root@apple.com
Normal version without GUI.  Features included (+) or not (-):
-arabic +autocmd -balloon_eval -browse +builtin_terms +byte_offset +cindent 
-clientserver -clipboard +cmdline_compl +cmdline_hist +cmdline_info +comments 
-conceal +cryptv +cscope +cursorbind +cursorshape +dialog_con +diff +digraphs 
-dnd -ebcdic -emacs_tags +eval +ex_extra +extra_search -farsi +file_in_path 
+find_in_path +float +folding -footer +fork() -gettext -hangul_input +iconv 
+insert_expand +jumplist -keymap -langmap +libcall +linebreak +lispindent 
+listcmds +localmap -lua +menu +mksession +modify_fname +mouse -mouseshape 
-mouse_dec -mouse_gpm -mouse_jsbterm -mouse_netterm -mouse_sysmouse 
+mouse_xterm +multi_byte +multi_lang -mzscheme +netbeans_intg -osfiletype 
+path_extra -perl +persistent_undo +postscript +printer -profile +python/dyn 
-python3 +quickfix +reltime -rightleft +ruby/dyn +scrollbind +signs 
+smartindent -sniff +startuptime +statusline -sun_workshop +syntax +tag_binary 
+tag_old_static -tag_any_white -tcl +terminfo +termresponse +textobjects +title
 -toolbar +user_commands +vertsplit +virtualedit +visual +visualextra +viminfo 
+vreplace +wildignore +wildmenu +windows +writebackup -X11 -xfontset -xim -xsmp
 -xterm_clipboard -xterm_save 
   system vimrc file: "$VIM/vimrc"
     user vimrc file: "$HOME/.vimrc"
      user exrc file: "$HOME/.exrc"
  fall-back for $VIM: "/usr/share/vim"
Compilation: gcc -c -I. -D_FORTIFY_SOURCE=0 -Iproto -DHAVE_CONFIG_H -arch i386 -arch x86_64 -g -Os -pipe
Linking: gcc -arch i386 -arch x86_64 -o vim -lncurses

On Mac OS X Mountain Lion the pre installed version of vim does not include clipboard support.

You can check this by doing.

vim --version | grep clipboard

You should see a lines that looks like this

-clientserver -clipboard +cmdline_compl +cmdline_hist +cmdline_info +comments 
-xterm_clipboard -xterm_save 

The -clipbaord means that vim isn't compiled with clipboard support.

The easiest fix to this is to use MacPorts (or your favorite package manager) and install vim through that


install MacVim. MacVim is a Mac's equivalent of gvim. It also comes with a script called mvim that has a flag that allows you to use the command line vim that comes with MacVim. The command is mvim -v

Then you can alias mvim -v to vim. (You can put this in your .bashrc)

alias vim='mvim -v'
  • 2
    I depend on terminal vim so I installed it via brew, and it compiled with clipboard. Thanks. – if __name__ is None Jul 7 '13 at 16:09
  • still doesn't work for me, even with clipboard support compiled in – Magnus Nov 8 '14 at 4:07

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