Ctrl + Shift + C and Ctrl + Shift + V are supposed to replace the normal Ctrl + C and Ctrl + V in gnome-terminal.

Sometimes they work, but usually they have no effect. What are some potential reasons for this? I'm not sure what other information to give.

Edit: It seems that manually selecting Paste from the Edit menu does not work either. Right click > Paste works, but Edit > Paste does not. Copying works, but pasting does not.

Also, I have vi-mode enabled (set -o vi in my ~/.bashrc). Could this have something to do with it?

Edit: Here is a video demonstrating the problem. I used Screenkey (in "raw" mode, to catch "shift") to show what keys I am pressing.

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    Your observation is correct: copying from, or pasting into, gnome-terminal sometimes doesn't work. It is reasonable to think that gnome-terminal's handling of primary (secondary) selection and clipboard is buggy. – Gödel Oct 15 '10 at 0:14
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    I've never experienced this. What version of Ubuntu do you have? (Put it in a tag, e.g. 10.10 or 10.04) – Marius Gedminas Oct 15 '10 at 0:29
  • @Marius: Done (10.10). – Matthew Oct 15 '10 at 0:44
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    I have the excact same problem in two installations of my Ubuntu. Both had the issue when upgraded from 10.4 to 10.10. After clean install in both machines (10.10), only my laptop seems to have that issue now. Vi has nothing to do with it, since I haven't used it there. This behavior ONLY occures in gnome-terminal shortcut ctrl+shift+c or v which makes Godel's point stronger. Shortcut handling for the terminal or clipboard selection. – topless Mar 10 '11 at 11:35
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    I have this on one of my systems, too. I believe it's a bug. I have my copy/paste functions mapped to a different key combo, but the workaround for me is to go to the keyboard shortcuts, click twice on an entry (changing nothing), and then the copy/paste works. Right-click copy/paste always works, as in your observation. – belacqua Mar 14 '11 at 17:26

This is a bug in gnome-terminal, the bug report is here with a patch:


Gnome has not fixed the problem though.

Ubuntu has fixed it independently of Gnome. The detailed bug report is here:


According to the bug report, the fixed Ubuntu package is gnome-terminal version 2.32.1-0ubuntu3. It is currently in the upload queue of maverick-proposed repository (with unapproved status). The upload queue is here:


You could download the source package and build it yourself with debuild.

Hopefully it will be soon pushed to normal update repositories.

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    Note that this is fixed in Gnome as of March 20, 2011. – Matthew Jun 30 '12 at 0:52
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    I'm still having this problem in 2018. Gnome terminal v3.28.2 – Jason Nov 13 '18 at 16:54

It has to do, as you suspect, with "vi" mode.

"vi" mode has separate insert and command modes, as you know. When in command mode, all text sent to the terminal is interpreted as a command.

To convice yourself do this:

  • copy somewhere a string containing "isometext"
  • go to the terminal and press ESC to go to command mode
  • paste

you should see only "sometext", because the initial "i" has been interpreted as the insert command.

Solution: if in command mode, press "i" before inserting. If not sure, press ESC and "i" before inserting.

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    Thanks, but I'm afraid this isn't it. I've double-checked to make sure I'm in insert mode, and I definitely am. – Matthew Oct 14 '10 at 20:39
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    I'm having the exact same problem as Matthew (it comes and goes) and I've never run my terminal in vi-mode. On Maverick now but had it before on Jaunty as well. – Kit Sunde Mar 8 '11 at 10:33

Using the terminal copy and paste utilizes two different methods based on which way you perform the copy and paste. If you use the highlight and paste-with-third-button, you are utilizing one of the buffers in X to do the work. If you use the menu or right-click to copy and paste, you are utilizing a different buffer.

Thus, if you copy with a selection from the menu, then you must either paste using the menu or use the right-click menu. You can't select using Edit > Copy and then use the third mouse button to paste.

This is also the reason you can't copy by highlighting then going to another application and using Edit > Paste.


try shift-ctrl-v (same buttons, different order). You can also reassign your keyboard shortcuts under terminal Edit menu. Do not reassign it to Ctrl+C, because Ctrl+C is used for killing processes under terminal (well, sending TERM signal).

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    I can confirm that shift-ctrl-v does not work either. However, when I was checking on the shortcuts, I noticed that manually selecting "Paste" from the edit window does not work either. So maybe it's not a shortcut problem, but a paste problem. I'll edit the question with this information. – Matthew Oct 14 '10 at 17:57
  • you know that when you close the application you copied from, then your copied content is lost? so maybe that's the problem – Praweł Oct 14 '10 at 18:03
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    Yep, I'm aware of that. I'm copying straight from gnome-terminal just to be safe, and it works if I Right Click > Paste. Just not from the Edit menu/shortcuts. – Matthew Oct 14 '10 at 18:12

For me, the easiest way to paste is the middle mouse button click. However I still copy using the menu, because I don't need to copy often.

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    Thanks for your input! The middle mouse button isn't good enough for me, because when I'm working in a terminal I usually want to avoid switching between keyboard and mouse. I paste fairly often, so it can become a hassle if it's not streamlined. – Matthew Oct 14 '10 at 18:14

For the record, I've run this test on various virtual instances of stock installs, ranging from 9.04 all the way through 11.04 Alpha 3. I've been unable to replicate your issues.

I believe that the issue may be some type of configuration somewhere conflicting with another. As to the specific configuration, I do not know. However... (quote from chat)

I'd blow away my .config stuff for gnome-terminal, but it's a pain to back up profiles.

You might consider erasing your gnome-terminal configs to start, but after that i am not sure of how you'd fix this.

  • I sometimes stumble across some of my old answers from when I was a newbie and deleting ones I wouldn't write today. For example, ones that say "I believe", "I do not know" and "i am not sure of how you'd fix this.". Thought you'd like me to point out this seven year answer to you if you think the same way. :) – WinEunuuchs2Unix Mar 31 '18 at 16:40

I don't know why, but I ever use the Menu-Key(=on the right between Super and Ctrl) for copy&paste.
I hope that's a help for you ;-)

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    I know that this is possible (and I've been using it as the workaround), but it's a pain. I'd really like to be able to use shift + ctrl + c/v. – Matthew Oct 14 '10 at 16:05

i've never had problems with this not working unless the cursor focus was not set to the terminal. make sure you've clicked into terminal before trying to paste.

  • The terminal definitely has the focus. If I hit menu > p, it, it pastes as expected. – Matthew Oct 14 '10 at 16:04

I would guess this is a problem with the terminal's inner widget not having focus, perhaps connected to the inner mouse bar. If you click in the body of the terminal before pressing the keys does that fix it?

(If this is true, it's a bug.)

  • I'm afraid this doesn't work. Watch the video in my second edit to get an idea of what's going on. – Matthew Oct 15 '10 at 4:21

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