I select and copy a large block of plain text from some file (e.g. gedit). I run :set paste and then enter insert mode, and paste the text in using the right mouse-button menu. vim them uses 100% cpu for the next several minutes before successfully pasting my text in. The text is usually only a few pages, and takes less than a second to paste into other applications (gedit window, web window, etc). What is vim doing with all those clock cycles and how can I make this more efficient?

3 Answers 3


Based on a suggestion from the maintainer after filing a bug report, it seems this problem is caused by the syntax highlighter. Disabling syntax highlighting temporarily (:set syntax=off) fixes this, though having to do both that and :set paste, and then toggle each back again is rather annoying (yes, I know I could map the commands in .vimrc. It is still annoying). Pasting also runs faster in gvim than in vim. Not sure why.

So, current answer is "turn off syntax highlighting"...

  • Why don't you mark this as the correct answer?
    – ndemou
    Oct 21, 2014 at 20:30
  • Because I feel that Jim's answer is correct, this is a bug. There's no reason one should need to turn syntax highlighting off for a simple copy-paste to work smoothly like it does in gedit, etc. Just seems that the bug depends on the syntax highlighter extension, not base vim.
    – cboettig
    Oct 22, 2014 at 3:19
  • 1
    Who is then that cboettig that wrote: So, current answer is "turn off syntax highlighting"... :-). I'm being sarcastic of course but don't get me wrong, I'm just noting the contradiction. Anyway after investigating a bit more I thing that the evilsoup's answer is even more to the point. See also stackoverflow.com/questions/18258561/…
    – ndemou
    Oct 22, 2014 at 6:41
  • This may also be caused by foldexpr. When I'm pasting into markdown, just disabling syntax doesn't help. I've documented a fix in this answer: stackoverflow.com/a/61694190/3407728 May 9, 2020 at 9:02

The correct way to paste text in vim is with the p command (from normal mode).

To paste from the xclipboard (the 'middle-click' clipboard), you should use "*p. To paste from the Ctrl+v clipbaord, use "+p.

  • ...Unless your vim doesn't support ”+, like the Mac default version. (:
    – SilverWolf
    Jun 28, 2018 at 18:48

You should probably file a bug report against vim on this one.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.