Copy, cut and paste

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Tip 312 Printable Monobook Previous Next

created August 13, 2002 · complexity intermediate · version 6.0


Here is how to cut-and-paste or copy-and-paste text using a visual selection in Vim.

Cut and paste:

  1. Position the cursor where you want to begin cutting.
  2. Press v to select characters (or uppercase V to select whole lines).
  3. Move the cursor to the end of what you want to cut.
  4. Press d to cut (or y to copy).
  5. Move to where you would like to paste.
  6. Press P to paste before the cursor, or p to paste after.

Copy and paste is performed with the same steps except for step 4 where you would press y instead of d:

  • d = delete = cut
  • y = yank = copy

[edit] Multiple copying

Deleted or copied text is placed in the unnamed register. If wanted, a register can be specified so the text is also copied to the named register. A register is a location in Vim's memory identified with a single letter. A double quote character is used to specify that the next letter typed is the name of a register.

For example, you could select the text hello then type "ay to copy "hello" to the a register. Then you could select the text world and type "by to copy "world" to the b register. After moving the cursor to another location, the text could be pasted: type "ap to paste "hello" or "bp to paste "world". These commands paste the text after the cursor. Alternatively, type "aP or "bP to paste before the cursor.

[edit] Windows clipboard

When using Vim under Windows, the clipboard can be accessed with the following:

  • In step 4, press Shift+Delete to cut or Ctrl+Insert to copy.
  • In step 6, press Shift+Insert to paste.

[edit] Different instances

How copy and paste between two instances of Vim on different Linux consoles?

After copying text, open a new buffer for a new file:

:e ~/dummy
  • Paste the text to the new buffer.
  • Write the new buffer (:w).
  • Switch to the previous buffer (:bp) to release *.swp.
  • Now switch to the other console.
  • Put the cursor at the desired place.
  • Read the dummy file (:r ~/dummy)

[edit] Increasing the buffer size

Sometimes you can only copy up to 50 lines. To solve this, increase the buffer limit between multiple files.

:help 'viminfo'
...
<       Maximum number of lines saved for each register.
...
:set viminfo?
:set viminfo='100,<100,s10,h

See also: Quick yank and paste}}

[edit] Comments

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