After an apt-get update && apt-get upgrade my middle mouse button paste stopped working on the Xserver/12.04.2 LTS. It might have been due to a apt-get autoremove as well, which i ran just afterwards, but i don't recall the specific point when it stopped working. Basically copy-paste is gone which i've never seen before on any xserver i've used... quite a handicap.

I've re-installed xsel. If i mark text in xterm and call xsel -p i do see the marked text, so apparently selections are being copied into the primary selection buffer, only the paste key functionaltiy is gone.

Any idea on how to bind any mouse key to paste text from the selection buffer in applications (esp xterm, urxvt) ? (It does not have to be middle mouse button in particular).


4 Answers 4


enter image description hereIMO easiest method is to install gpointing-device-settings

sudo apt-get install gpointing-device-settings

You then 'use wheel emulation'

gpointing-device-settings looks as in image.

try this it may help you out.

  • Thanks.. works great. I used middle mouse button emulation though. So it was gnome which disabled the middle click with an update.
    – count0
    May 30, 2013 at 19:55

This is for future me mostly.

cat /etc/issue
Ubuntu 16.04.2 LTS \n \l
  1. Run gnome-tweak-tool
  2. Keyboard and mouse
  3. Middle-click Paste => ON

Gnome tweak tool on keyboard/mouse tab


In Ubuntu 14.04 (and using xfce), this worked for me:

gsettings set org.gnome.settings-daemon.peripherals.mouse middle-button-enabled true

because gpointing-device-settings was causing segfaults for me.

  • 7
    The key was removed since 2016.04, I believe. Error message is: No such key 'middle-button-enabled' Apr 29, 2017 at 12:09
  • I just used it in 14.04 LTS and it worked fine. Jun 9, 2017 at 7:29

In my Ubuntu 16.04, middle-click paste suddenly stopped working a few weeks ago.

What fixed it for me, after trying many other suggested solutions, was the simple command from this answer:

sudo dpkg-reconfigure xorg

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