Is there any way of selecting a text with keyboard the way I do it normally using Shift+arrows.


10 Answers 10


From the PuTTY manual:

PuTTY's copy and paste works entirely with the mouse. In order to copy text to the clipboard, you just click the left mouse button in the terminal window, and drag to select text. When you let go of the button, the text is automatically copied to the clipboard. You do not need to press Ctrl-C or Ctrl-Ins; in fact, if you do press Ctrl-C, PuTTY will send a Ctrl-C character down your session to the server where it will probably cause a process to be interrupted.

  • 12
    My line is 24k characters long. How can I copy it over? I can only see the last part of the line or the first part on the screen buffer.
    – Gaʀʀʏ
    Sep 8, 2014 at 19:30
  • @Gaʀʀʏ I know you've long moved on from this comment, but I'd just like to note that if I have a 24k line to copy, I think the 'Copy All to Clipboard' option is justified. It's certainly what I'd call an edge case. May 3, 2016 at 14:07
  • @Gaʀʀʏ, to add to Sean's reply, the copy is from the terminal buffer and not from stdout. For very long lines it certainly is possible that the line overflowed the buffer itself.
    – ysap
    Dec 8, 2016 at 9:43
  • 3
    Shift + Insert.
    – phocks
    Mar 15, 2017 at 6:44

control+insert = copy

shift+insert = paste

  • 2
    I don't know why this was downvoted. It's the only answer that worked for me. I was able to make an AutoHotkey script that copies text from GVim in Windows, pastes it to Putty, and runs it in an interactive IPython session
    – rsoren
    Dec 18, 2014 at 18:18
  • 4
    control+insert seems to do absolutely nothing. shift+insert does paste, though. Jul 4, 2016 at 2:09
  • 3
    As of 2016, it works with Windows 7 and Putty 0.63. However, the question apparently includes setting the selection for copying as well AFAICT.
    – stefanct
    Sep 16, 2016 at 13:49
  • 4
    @rsoren - the OP requests a keyboard only method. This answer requires marking with the mouse first. According to selected answer, once marked, the <Ctrl+Ins> is implied.
    – ysap
    Dec 8, 2016 at 9:47
  • Does not work for me on Windows 7 Jul 29, 2017 at 19:58

so far as I know, there is no means of copying a selected area from the putty window to the Windows clipboard without using the mouse. there is a feature request on the putty site specifically for this functionality.


the only way to copy information from the putty window to the Windows clipboard with a keyboard shortcut is to use the app system menu "copy all to clipboard" (which you can invoke from alt-space, provided you set the "Window > Behavior > System menu appears on ALT-Space" option configured in putty.

Pasting from the Windows clipboard into putty can be done with Shift-Insert.

If you need to copy and paste only within the terminal window itself, refer to either the man page for the shell you're using or consider using the unix "screen" app ('man screen' for more info), which allows text selection for copy / paste within the terminal window (similar to how vi's copy / paste works). an excerpt from the man pages:

   C-a esc     (copy)        Enter copy/scrollback mode.

   C-a ]       (paste .)     Write the contents of the paste buffer to the
                             stdin queue of the current window.

   C-a {
   C-a }       (history)     Copy and paste a previous (command) line.

   C-a >       (writebuf)    Write paste buffer to a file.

   C-a <       (readbuf)     Reads the screen-exchange file into the paste

   C-a =       (removebuf)   Removes the file used by C-a < and C-a >.
  • 1
    @xgMz - Works fine for me. Surprising that that ticket was filed over 13 years ago and nobody has bothered doing it yet. Jul 4, 2016 at 2:12
  • Link works now.
    – xgMz
    Jul 25, 2016 at 22:28

I was tired of scrolling down line by line via mouse left button to copy session output. But now, i need to click on middle button twice; first at the beginning and second at the end. How I did :

  1. Go to Putty Configuration window
  2. Choose "Selection" from category on the left of the window.
  3. Under 'Control use of mouse', choose 'Compromise (Middle extends, Right pastes)' if not already chosen.
  • 2
    Please read and make yourself understand the question and then try to answer it. Oct 30, 2014 at 11:34
  • This is the best way to select, and Putty takes care of the copying. To copy more than one screen of text, though, I think you pretty much need to use cat instead. vi keeps moving the cursor.
    – Noumenon
    Oct 22, 2016 at 22:55

I use GNU screen,

I also have this in my screenrc to play nicely with vim:

register [ "\033:se paste\015a"
register ] "\033:se nopaste\015a\033"
bind ^] paste [.]

A friend of mine has a hook in screen to copy the "screen clipboard" to one or both of the x clipboards (selection or clipboard) and I believe putty does the needed translations. I'll try to dig it up.

You can probably arrange the same thing with xclip, the incantation you're looking for should be using xclip -selection clipboard

I'd test quickly to see if xclip -selection clipboard -o spits out the contents of your clipboard.

  • I wish this worked in PuTTY! I tried. It complained about "can't open display" Aug 8, 2017 at 0:36
  • Using xclip should work. I use tmux and xsel to copy from Puty using keyboards.. I have yet to figure out how to paste into the Windows terminal with the keyboard
    – alpha_989
    Jun 2, 2018 at 18:57

This may be more of a workaround than a solution.

Within vim, if you want to copy a block that you selected in visual mode (usually a block that spans many pages), you can write it to a file (by typing :w filename.txt while the text is selected and while you're still in visual mode). Once you've done that, you can:

  1. Open the file in a Windows editor if it's mounted over Samba
  2. Read the file contents via Apache or an FTP server
  3. Email the file as an attachment (see command below -- requires Mutt):

    echo "My Message Body" | mutt -s "my subject line" -a filename.txt -- recipient@email-server.com

Personally I prefer option 1.


To work around this problem, run PuTTY in a Windows console replacement such as ConEmu or SuperPutty.

  • 1
    How do you do this in SuperPutty?
    – grokster
    Jan 15, 2014 at 1:35
  • @sathya how does this work? what does superputty have over putty?
    – alpha_989
    Jul 24, 2017 at 13:42
  • @Michael-Hampton.. does ConEmu allow you to paste from the Windows Clipboard to the Windows Terminal with keyboard only?
    – alpha_989
    Jun 2, 2018 at 19:00

Another somewhat makeshift suggestion is to activate Mouse Keys within Windows. In Windows 7 it's under the Ease of Access Center.

  1. Click "Make the mouse easier to use".
  2. Check on the checkbox that says "Turn on Mouse Keys".
  3. Click on "Set up Mouse Keys" for additional settings.

The default Mouse Keys hotkey is Alt + Shift + NumLock.

Hopefully hitting this key combination won't interfere with your session (or just Alt + Tab out and activate it from outside putty). I believe hitting 0 on the numpad starts a click lock, allowing you to drag over the portion of text you want to highlight/copy.


Worked on this for a while, and Putty itself can't let you copy with just the clipboard.

However, Putty can facilitate the reverse transmission of data from the remote side. If you're using a tool like Vim or Tmux to make keyboard based text selections, you can dump the output to a file, and (dating myself here) netcat to a putty reverse port tunnel to a local service which dumps input to the local clipboard.

I made a video of how to do this here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RI79eeCuyvE , but here's the short version:

Set your putty > connection > SSH > tunnels to forward R11311 to localhost:1234 Use netcat as a listening server that pipes output to the windows 10 clip command which sends input to the windows clipboard. Wrap this in an eternal for loop like so:

for /L %N IN () do nc -lp 1234 | clip

Run the above in a command prompt you run as admin, because you're biding to a port.

On the remote *nix server, you need to use vim or Tmux to send text selections to a file.

Use a command to send your text selection to a file

tmux save-buffer ~/.clipboard

Or, you can use Vim to save a buffer (in this case, z) to a file

silent! redir! > ~/.clipboard
silent! echo @z
silent! redir END

I integrate the vim and tmux clipboards using the .clipboard file as an intermediary using a vim function gist.

Once your text selection is in the file, you can pipe the output to the remote side of the port forward:

cat ~/.clipboard | nc 11311

Or inside a vim script

silent! !cat ~/.clipboard | nc 11311 &

Note that the ampersand is necessary because I couldn't get netcat's -q 0 flag to work properly. Maybe you can. Without it working, it waits a full second before closing, which can break the flow of your work. With the ampersand it abandons the process instantly, which completes in 1 second in the background.

Doing all the above will fully integrate Tmux, Vim, and local putty client clipboards without touching a mouse! This was the only way I could find to do this.

  • Also, if you use this for multiline pastes between OS's, remember to convert between DOS/Unix line endings Feb 21, 2018 at 14:03

If you are on windows machine it will work fine but if in case linux based machine it sometime won't work. To make it work just copy the content on any text editor and just use Shift + Insert key at line where you want to paste that.

Hope this would help!