I regularly uses xterm for web browsing because of its image rendering property but the one thing which makes xterm difficult comparing to terminal is the copy/cut paste availability in terminal program. I have found this method and according to this i saved the below code in .Xdefaults file in home directory

xterm -ls -xrm 'XTerm*selectToClipboard: true'&

After the implementation of this code I am able to select text in xterm but not able to copy or cut paste (using mouse or keyboard shortcuts ctrl+c etc) any text from or to the xterm.

Any idea what went wrong?


You shall not include that line in .Xdefaults. Thus shalt thou start the program.

xterm -ls -xrm 'XTerm*selectToClipboard:true' &

Or with .Xdefaults:

Add this line:


and reload the configuration

xrdb ~/.Xdefaults
  • It worked i am able to copy from xterm to a notepad but viseversa its not working. – Eka May 3 '15 at 17:41
  • 2
    @Eka Shift+Insert – A.B. May 3 '15 at 17:48
  • 1
    Better to use ~/.Xresources – Gayan Weerakutti May 8 '17 at 7:44
  • Note that if you use -class ${CLASS} to launch xterm the corresponding flag becomes -xrm ${CLASS}.*.selectToClipboard:true so if you have separate xterm window classes, settings are tracked separately. – stevesliva May 30 '19 at 20:41

You can edit XTerm file, using vim or nano (I use vim):

vim /home/your_user_name/XTerm

Add this:

XTerm*Background: black
XTerm*Foreground: green
XTerm*SaveLines: 2000
XTerm*faceName: Ubuntu mono
XTerm*faceSize: 12
XTerm*rightScrollBar: true
XTerm*ScrollBar: true
XTerm*scrollTtyOutput: false
XTerm*VT100.Translations: #override \
      Shift Ctrl<Key>V: insert-selection(CLIPBOARD) \n\ 
      Shift Ctrl<Key>V: insert-selection(PRIMARY) \n\ 
      Shift<Btn1Down>: select-start() \n\ 
      Shift<Btn1Motion>: select-extend() \n\ 
      Shift<Btn1Up>: select-end(CLIPBOARD) \n\

Save and close with:


Open xterm:

xterm &

This configuration allows:

  1. Select and copy text into xterm: Hold Shiht key, click left mouse, select your text and click right mouse, to add it to clipboard.
  2. Paste text into xterm: Press Ctrl+Shift+V
  3. Show ScrollBar.
  4. Personalize font.

I hope this help you.

  • 1
    How would you do Ctrl + Shift + c for interrput? – William Jan 21 '17 at 17:02
  • You must stop pressing the left mouse button and the Shiht key. – simonced7 Feb 20 '17 at 8:59
  • @Jayjayyy You are right! Then you can ignore it. Thanks – simonced7 Jun 18 '18 at 21:35

Handling shortcuts in Xterm

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In Edit keyboard shortcuts you can than set what you want. Obviously if some key combination is taken you have to clear that assignment first from current use in order to use it for your commands.

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