I am very new to Linux, please excuse me if this is a very simple question and point me to the things I need to read. But I've been unable to find an answer so far.

In Terminal, when I am trying to select the text in the command line by pressing Shift + Left or Right, I get "D" and "C" typed instead. (Shift + Up yields A and Shift + Down B). I've read somewhere how to copy-paste using the mouse; I cannot imagine the Terminal doesn't provide for full keyboard control.

Note: Ctrl + Left or Right moves the cursor around as it should, but Ctrl + Shift + Left or Right still types D and C. Puzzled.

  • This is the expected behavior for historical reasons. Feb 15 '17 at 12:55
  • It's actually pretty interesting that the idea of using shift+arrow to select text never made its way into our terminal emulators. It never even occurred to me to try, but I think that's because cursor position and text selection are totally unrelated in the terminal. The closest equivalent I can think of would be binding shifted arrows to enter copy mode in tmux.
    – ivan
    Nov 6 '17 at 2:42

Seems to be a known bug - see here: https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/vte/+bug/546021 and the upstream bug here https://bugzilla.gnome.org/show_bug.cgi?id=617646

Copy paste works with Ctrl-Shift-C and -V, respectively. Basically all relevant shortcuts you know from other Gnome applications can be applied in the terminal by adding an additional Shift- keypress... Ctrl-Shift-Q for quit, for example.

  • Sorry to hear this but thank you for the answer anyway.
    – texnic
    Mar 25 '11 at 14:26

screen is a, well, it describes itself as a terminal multiplexer. It provides an enhanced terminal environment and includes a mechanism for text selection and copy/pasting using just keyboard. CTRL+[ lets you roam the buffer with a cursor. Press enter or space to start the selection, then again to finish the copy and exit roaming mode. CTRL+] pastes your selection.

Going this route (which I can't live without: GNU screen is one of the first things I install on any new computer), you find byobu less intimidating. Screen is a beast to configure, byobu makes it look beautiful.

tmux is another terminal multiplexer with similar functionality. Apparently it has a bunch of improvements over screen, not least of which is a sane configuration file.

  • 1
    Thanks for contributing. I hope still, that the simple terminal will function the way it should one day. It's impossible to understand that one should use a mouse in the terminal!
    – texnic
    Mar 28 '11 at 6:58

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