I have recently installed the i3 tiling window manager [1] on my Ubuntu system and I'm trying to figure out how to copy & paste between various terminal and application windows.

How can this be done?

[1] http://i3wm.org

6 Answers 6


Some terminals use CTRL+SHIFT+C and CTRL+SHIFT+V to copy and paste, while others use CTRL+ALT+C and CTRL+ALT+V, like urxvt (See https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Rxvt-unicode#Cut_and_paste ).

For i3wm, try using a clipboard manager, like clipit.

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install clipit

Add exec --no-startup-id clipit to ~/.i3/config to start it automatically.

  • Note, clipit is not longer maintained. diodon is a common replacement Jul 26, 2022 at 0:06

I have just had success using the middle mouse button with xterm in i3 to copy from a remote terminal to firefox. Use the middle mouse button to copy and paste.

  • Yeah - it's working - select text from terminal and middle click to paste to browser
    – Adam
    Oct 12, 2018 at 16:08

You have had good answers above, I will just add a detail. As a default, the clipboard of each container is emptied when the container is closed. So if you copy some text from a terminal, close the terminal, and paste the text in another terminal - it will not work, because the clipboard will have been emptied in the meanwhile.

  • 1
    This should be the answer
    – ZirconCode
    May 12, 2018 at 12:29

I installed xfce4-terminal which pretty much does exactly what I need.

sudo apt-get install xfce4-terminal

I don't use that myself, but your copy buffer might be accessible through ctrl +shift+c to copy and v to paste. These is also programs like xclipboard for capturing output of terminal commands into a clipboard. Try it out, report back!

  • 1
    Hi. I tried the ctrl+shift+c and ctrl+shift+v but it definitely doesn't work. Not sure about the xclipboard thing, sounds a bit complicated.
    – Luke
    Oct 5, 2013 at 5:31
  • yah, it's more to pipe the output of a command into to get it into your clipboard Oct 5, 2013 at 5:32
  • Have you tried terminator ? It's another tiling terminal which ctrl+shift+c works in Oct 5, 2013 at 5:34
  • Terminator is kinda defying the point of i3. I tried gnome-terminal but it does something weird like not everything is displayed correctly.
    – Luke
    Oct 5, 2013 at 5:49

I just got mine done by holding down Ctrl+mouse wheel. Then selecting from the popup that comes the option: Select to clipboard by moving the mouse to that option and releasing the mouse wheel. Then I went ahead and selected the text I wanted to copy in the terminal and it worked.

This was done in i3 wm

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