In putty/cygwin my config is:

  • select in console -> copies to clipboard
  • right click -> pastes from clipboard.

Was after a terminal in Linux which might provide me with both of these features? I haven't been able to find one.

Any help would be appreciated.

  • you can copy and paste into terminal, you you have to select it from a dropdown list when you press right-mouse button.
    – Dr_Bunsen
    Nov 3 '12 at 7:30
  • 9
    Yup, have seen that. Was after something which was faster, and more to the way I usually work. Thanks.
    – Ben
    Nov 3 '12 at 8:45
  • blog.tremende.com/2016/04/02/…
    – mpapec
    Apr 7 '17 at 22:18

14 Answers 14


Most of the terminals seem to use copy on select and middle-button to paste selection, or emulated middle-button to paste (using both mouse buttons at once). This is typical Unix behavior, and the emulation is the updated usage required by Microsoft-type mice with only two buttons or two buttons and a scrollwheel.

The mouse buttons could be remapped with xinput or other means. This will differ from version to version and on different mouse models. See the Ubuntu community documentation for that.

Also see this question, which is the reverse of the procedure you'd need.

Terminals I have that use select to copy and middle to paste include Gnome terminal, xfce terminal, Eterm, plain xterm, uxterm, rxvt, mrxvt, and aterm. I'm sure there are others.

My primary terminal, terminator (use apt-get or the software center to install), lets you choose copy on select as an option (with a single click):

Open preference and click the 'copy on select' box :

terminator preferences

  • 1
    Any idea how to make this the default terminal in gnome? Nov 21 '14 at 18:29
  • 1
    It's worth pointing out that the clipboard used when selecting text is different to that of an explicit copy (via keyboard shortcut or menu item). To paste from this keyboard you must use the middle mouse button, and not keyboard shortcut or menu. This is different behaviour to Putty on Windows.
    – Eborbob
    Sep 8 '16 at 19:51
  • 1
    Yaay for Terminator! Now I can copy and paste happy town with all my macros without an extra copy key press. I hightlighted it.... I want it copied. Yay!
    – Ligemer
    Dec 20 '18 at 21:32
  • sudo add-apt-repository ppa:mattrose/terminator sudo apt-get update sudo apt install terminator and then, right-click on the terminator's black screen and change the @belacqua
    – rmsys
    Nov 10 at 13:28

press the middle scroll wheel, man.

  • 6
    I love short and precise answers! Feb 27 '16 at 12:34
  • Thanks! I was looking for a solution for gnome-terminal. Mar 18 '18 at 7:37
  • ok ok, I forgot to do that Jun 11 '18 at 15:16
  • 2
    Not so useful on a laptop
    – Squirrel
    Feb 15 '20 at 11:12
  • You press both left and right keys on laptop touchpad for that
    – Raja Dorji
    Apr 25 '20 at 19:34

Solution with Terminator from this site.

sudo vi /usr/share/terminator/terminatorlib/terminal.py

Look for function : on_buttonpress

Revert button test (contextual menu go to middle click, paste on right click) :

def on_buttonpress(self, widget, event):
    if event.button == 1:
    elif event.button == 3:
    elif event.button == 2:


Now waiting for the feature request on Terminator :)

  • 15
    Excellent - thanks for finding a solution to this without arguing that the requester should change their behaviour. Mar 26 '15 at 15:27
  • 4
    Looks like the feature request is now in - "PuTTY style paste" on the global tab.
    – AdamS
    Jul 14 '18 at 10:01

To save some time for those who are checking, the terminals below don't support this feature.

  • 6
    Both bug reports are marked as "won't fix", sadly.
    – mwfearnley
    Nov 17 '15 at 12:22
  • @mwfearnley maybe becayse they use the same base library that upstream doesn't want to patch. I could make a list of those, but not now. Jun 15 '18 at 6:16

Not sure which terminal you're using right now but the default terminal in Ubuntu allows you to copy and paste. In your desktop environment select the text you want to copy and press ctrl+shift+c. If you have something in your clipboard that you want to paste, put the cursor in the right position and press ctrl+shift+v.

The other option is as Dr_Bunsen comments above says, both options are available in the right mouse button dropdown list.

  • You did not read the question, did you?
    – scopchanov
    Feb 9 at 16:56

I use a non-free application with exactly that feature:

VanDyke.com > Products > SecureCRT

It support left-button select or Ctrl-Shift-C (to clipboard), and right-button or Ctrl-Shift-V (to paste). I use either, depending on how keyboard- or mouse- centric the task is.

SecureCRT also supports pre-configured login (scripts), multiple sessions (tabs/windows), and full scripting (extensibility). I find that when doing a lot of remote support, across multiple sites, these extra features are critical.

I have used it for years on Windows (or under Ubuntu + Wine), but it was ported to Linux in early 2011. I have not yet found a free alternate with all the features it offers.

  • Looks like a really cool terminal. Such a shame that it costs so much.
    – Ben
    Nov 3 '12 at 18:44

I'm using Ubuntu 14.04. Using the default Gnome terminal, if I highlight text then press my mouse wheel it will paste whatever is highlighted.

Hope this works for others. I liked this feature when I was (forced) to use a Windows desktop and putty.

  • 3
    This answer was already given and does not add information.
    – Requist
    Dec 10 '14 at 15:16

This is an old thread, but newer versions of Terminator support putty-style behaviour. Right-click --> Preferences --> Putty style paste.

Remember that you will no longer be able to right-click to get to Preferences since that is now mapped to paste. To open Preferences, use Shift-middle button.



mate-terminal is very similar to the stock gnome-terminal, and it supports shift-highlighting + middle click.

Then, afterwards, do yourself a favour and install a Base16 color package. Personally, I like this one with the Solar Flare Dark profile loaded.


It's not everything you want, but a middle-click in Gnome Terminal takes the place of the right-click - it does a copy-and-paste (using the clipboard) on selected text, and pastes otherwise.

I don't think there's any equivalent way to just copy though - the right-click context menu seems to be the closest option.


Another terminal that would work and hasn't been mentioned here is Gnome Connection Manager: http://kuthulu.com/gcm/

This is actually my personal favourite because it allows you to connect to multiple machines in a very user friendly way.

You can set it up to automatically copy selected text, and text can be pasted using right click.


If right-click paste in your terminal accidentally broken, this could happens after updating gnome >=3.9

Solution is here: https://wiki.gnome.org/Apps/Terminal/FAQ#How_can_I_make_middle-click_paste_the_primary_selection.3F

# ~/.config/gtk-3.0/settings.ini
  • Thx, this is what I was looking for.
    – joemooney
    Jan 24 '18 at 15:54

For gnome-terminal a patch exists: https://github.com/jrnewell/ubuntu-gnome-terminal-patch to copy-paste in putty-style.

Tested on Ubuntu 16.04 + GNOME Shell 3.18.5 with LightDm. It works!

Upd: Updated for Ubuntu 18 here: https://github.com/sasha-ch/ubuntu-gnome-terminal-patch . Feedback are welcome!


Tested in terminator installation on top of cgywin, the "terminal.py" is located in /usr/lib/python2.7/site-packages/terminatorlib/terminal.py

search for "rightclick" and change elif options as follow will do the same as mentioned in the early post.

elif event.button == 3:
    # rightclick should paste the clipboard
elif event.button == 2:
    # middleclick should display a context menu if Ctrl is  not pressed
    if event.state & gtk.gdk.CONTROL_MASK == 0:
        self.popup_menu(widget, event)

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