Sophie Au

Software Developer, Web Designer, Consultant, Tea Enthusiast

How to get the System Clipboard working in Vim on Fedora

20 March 2017

I finally decided to properly learn vim which also meant that was trying to get the hang of copy and paste. Including using the system clipboard. And turns out it's not as easy as it sound. Fedora for some reason only ships the xterm_clipboard function with gVim. But I didn't actually want the GUI. Luckily, gVim comes with a vi mode, gvim -v. But that's not ideal because $vim and my default editor still pointed to the "old" vim without the clipboard functionality.

To fix all this, here's what you need to do:

First, obviously, install gvim:

$sudo dnf install vim-X11

You can check that the system clipboard functionality is installed by typing gvim --version and looking for xterm_clipboard. It should now have a '+' in front of it.

Then, you need to alias the vim command with gvim -v and set the default editor to gVim too. This all happens in your .bashrc:

alias vim='gvim -v'
export EDITOR="gvim -v"
export VISUAL="$EDITOR"

And that's it. Now you only need to activate the changes in your .bashrc with:

$source ~/.bashrc

The default register for the system clipboard is + so you need to use "+y and "+p to copy and paste.