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I tried using CTRL + V for pasting contents in a VI editor document, but CTRL + V is not interpreted as a paste.

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Just a note, the main reason to use Vi is because Vim isn't installed. If you have Vim installed, it's probably worth using that instead. There isn't really an advantage to Vi besides that it is already present on every Unix install. The best way to learn Vim in my opinion is to open your terminal emulator (not from within Vim) and type vimtutor It will get you up to speed to where it's usable to you in about 45 minutes. – Ben Mordecai Feb 16 '13 at 18:58
+1 @BenMordecai - I was already familiar with vi (from old), including its convenient sub-shell capability, but needed that refresh. Great little bit of tutoring. Went through it like a breeze. Thanks. – Cbhihe Oct 2 '14 at 16:35
up vote 70 down vote accepted

First, make sure you're in edit mode (press i). Then you can paste with Ctrl+Shift+V, if you're in a terminal emulator like gnome-terminal (or select "Paste" from the right-click menu).

You can also type :set paste in vim before you paste to disable automated indenting, etc. Then :set nopaste after you've pasted the content.

Also check this question on for more information.

If you want to copy/paste lines in vim (as opposed to pasting clipboard content), you'll want to check out the yank command. Here is a cheat sheet that might help.

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I think if you have mouse cursor on, you cannot paste using Ctrl+Shift+V. – Alvin Wong Feb 16 '13 at 14:34
Just a note, the I is case-sensitive. The lowercase i is the normal way of entering insert mode. Capital I brings the cursor to the beginning of the line and then enters you into insert mode. – Ben Mordecai Feb 16 '13 at 19:01
@BenMordecai well pointed out, thanks, fixed. – Attila O. Feb 17 '13 at 16:09

Vi (and Vim) works very differently compared to a normal text editor such as Gedit. It also has a pretty steep learning curve. If you want to learn some basic commands, start with this interactive tutorial.

However, to answer you question. The system clipboard's content can be accessed through the plus register. So to paste something from the system clipboard you can, from the Normal mode, press: "+p (Not at the same time, but one after another).

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This is something I did not know till now. Also, +1 for linking yet another awesome vim tutorial. – Attila O. Feb 16 '13 at 8:37
Speaking of learning curves for editors, there is the "classical learning curves for some common editors", – hlovdal Feb 16 '13 at 15:02
In GNOME Terminal, the short-cuts for copy and paste are Ctrl-Shift-C and Ctrl-Shift-V, respectively. – Flimm Feb 23 '13 at 9:17
I've tried to press in turn <kbd>"</kbd>, <kbd>+</kbd> and <kbd>p</kbd>, also <kbd>"</kbd> and <kbd>p</kbd> and nothing has happened. What I've done wrong? I use vi not vim – user907860 Dec 13 '13 at 13:51
Thank you! This is the only thing that I go tworking. – crclayton Aug 17 '15 at 23:27
  1. If you want to copy paste contents within same file, use yank and paste. I believe you have known this.

  2. If you want to copy paste contents across terminals, open the first file, yanking the text you want, then open your second file within vim (e.g. :tabnew /path/to/second/file) and press p to paste it.

  3. If you want to copy paste contents from vim to an external program, you need to access the system clipboard. I assume you use Ubuntu. The GUI version of vim always has clipboard support, however, if you like to use Vim from a terminal, you will have to check for X11-clipboard support.

    From the console, type:

    $ vim --version | grep xterm

    If you find -xterm_clipboard, you have two options:

    1) Compile vim yourself, with the xterm_clipboard flag on

    2) Uninstall vim, install gvim (vim-gtk or vim-gnome) instead. You can stick to non-gui vim by call vim from terminal, the same way you did before. This time when you check , you will find +xterm_clipborad.

    Now, when you yank some text in the + register inside your vim editor (e.g. "+yy), it also gets copied to the system clipboard which you can retrieve from your external program like gedit editor, by using Ctrl+V.

  4. If you want to copy paste contents from an external program into vim, first copy your text into system clipboard via Ctrl+C, then in vim editor insert mode, click the mouse middle button (usually the wheel) or press Ctrl+Shift+V to paste.

    These are 4 basic copy & paste conditions related to vim, hope this helps.

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+1 for ':tabnew' option – pl1nk Feb 26 '13 at 17:29
What's the point of :tabnew /path/to/second/file ? You can achieve the exact same thing yanking/copying/cutting in first file, opening the second file with :vi /path/to/second/file and pasting (p/P) in it. At least in my case... Or is it because I do have the +xterm_clipboard vim feature enabled ? Or is there more to tabnew than just that ? – Cbhihe Oct 2 '14 at 17:39
+1 for "(usually the wheel)". It shouldn't have been so hard getting an answer like that. – crclayton Sep 25 '15 at 16:40

Use the center button of the mouse to insert text you've highlighted elsewhere.

Useful when you don't have access to your system clipboard (eg. in a remote ssh session)

Must be in edit/insert mode for vim

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I always use Shift+Insert when I want to paste text into the terminal, works in all terminal programs.

(Which is also the reason why I never get a laptop where you can't press Insert without pressing a secondary key)

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Vi/Vim != terminal ;) – 0xC0000022L Feb 17 '13 at 17:01
ok ok, but it still works :) – Magnus Jonsson Feb 17 '13 at 17:11
+1 for this.. What do you use to perform say Ctrl+A,Ctrl+C also ? – Arup Rakshit Dec 28 '13 at 18:18
If I use a terminal inside a DE I usually just select text with the mouse and copy with Ctrl+Shift+C. – Magnus Jonsson Jan 2 '14 at 14:38
Shift+Insert also works in gvim. (I'm running Ubuntu 13.10, if that makes any difference.) – eksortso Jan 20 '14 at 17:27

Once you enter vi, press i to get into insert mode, right click into terminal, click paste.

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I thought was lower-case i. What does upper-case I do? – Flimm Feb 23 '13 at 9:16
@Flimm that was already explained in a comment by Ben Mordecai on another answer. – sierrasdetandil Feb 23 '13 at 19:42
I've edited the answer to be lower-case i. Upper-case I moves the cursor to the beginning of the line before entering insert mode, which is not needed here. – Flimm Feb 23 '13 at 20:04

Detailed instructions to copy/paste lines of text in vi using yank and put

(use the following in the command mode of vi)

Copy (YANK)

To copy one line in vi:

  • In the command mode, move the cursor to the line that needs to be copied and type yy or type Y

To copy 2 lines in vi:

  • In the command mode, move the cursor to the first line that needs to be copied and type 2yy or type 2Y

(likewise, any number of lines can be copied)

To copy all lines from the current location to the end of the file:

  • In the command mode, move the cursor to the first line that needs to be copied and type yG

To copy all text from the current location to the end of the current word:

  • In the command mode, move the cursor to location from where text needs to be copied and type yw

To copy all text from the current location to the end of the line:

  • In the command mode, move the cursor to location from where text needs to be copied and type y$

Paste (PUT)

To paste text in the clipboard - after the location of the cursor:

  • In the command mode, type p

To paste text in the clipboard - before the location of the cursor:

  • In the command mode, type P
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