Vim Tips Wiki

Easy pasting to Windows applications

Redirected from VimTip21

1,623pages on
this wiki
Add New Page
Add New Page Talk0

Duplicate tip

This tip is very similar to the following:

These tips need to be merged – see the merge guidelines.

Tip 21 Printable Monobook Previous Next

created 2001 · complexity basic · author jean · version 5.7

In Vim, the unnamed register is the " register, and the Windows Clipboard is the * register.

This means that if you yank something, you have to yank it to the * register if you want to paste it into a Windows app. If this is too much trouble, set the 'clipboard' option to 'unnamed'. Then you always yank to *.

So pasting to windows apps doesn't require prefixing "* :

set clipboard=unnamed


You can also have the Visual selection automatically copied to the clipboard. If you

:set go+=a

and then make a Visual selection, you can switch to another application (such as your mail reader) and paste.

Since the * buffer won't allow (as far as I know anyway) appending to it, you can also do something like:


to grab a line then move somewhere else


to append another line to the a buffer. Then:

:let @*=@a

This puts both lines into the * buffer for pasting.

This tip, set clipboard=unnamed, also works under the X windowing system.

BenArmston 09:52, 23 May 2008 (UTC)

Well, if you still have a good ol' 3-button mice and paste by middle-clicking, yeah it works. But keyboard shortcuts for clipboard operations in modern GUI apps (Ctrl-C, Ctrl-V, etc) - they don't play along with clipboard=unnamed. -- 21:30, January 17, 2011 (UTC)

On Windows, the clipboard is both "* and "+. On X11 they are different, but the one used for Edit=>Cut, Edit=>Copy and Edit=>Paste (both in gvim and in non-Vim applications) is actually the + register. — Tonymec 11:09, March 24, 2010 (UTC)

True, under X11, + is the clipboard register, while * is selection register. Newer vim versions (7.3.74 and higher) finally have a variation of clipboard=unnamed option which allows you to alias unnamed register to the + register: set clipboard=unnamedplus. Enjoy! -- 21:23, January 17, 2011 (UTC)

Also on Fandom

Random Wiki