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System Copy

System copy provides vim mappings for copying / pasting text to the os specific clipboard. Most people will be happy just setting their Vim clipboard to the system clipboard, but I find that doing so pollutes my clipboard history. Instead, this plugin creates a unique mapping that explicitly pulls content from Vim into the system clipboard.


System copy provides a mapping to copy to the system clipboard using a motion or visual selection. It also provides a mapping for pasting from the system clipboard.

The default mapping is cp for copying and cv for pasting, and can be followed by any motion or text object. For instance:

  • cpiw => copy word into system clipboard
  • cpi' => copy inside single quotes to system clipboard
  • cvi' => paste inside single quotes from system clipboard

In addition, cP is mapped to copy the current line directly.

The sequence cV is mapped to paste the content of system clipboard to the next line.

Clipboard Utilities

  • OSX - pbcopy and pbpaste
  • Windows - clip and paste
  • Linux - xsel on X11, and wl-copy and wl-paste on Wayland

Note: xsel can be installed with apt-get install xsel if your system doesn't have it installed


system-copy uses default copy and paste command based on your OS, but you can override either of these commands if you have more specific needs.

To declare custom copy command use following example:

let g:system_copy#copy_command='xclip -sel clipboard'

And to declare custom paste command use:

let g:system_copy#paste_command='xclip -sel clipboard -o'

By default system_copy prints a message each time you execute the copy- or paste-operation. If you want to suppress it use:

let g:system_copy_silent = 1


If you don't have a preferred installation method, I recommend using Vundle. Assuming you have Vundle installed and configured, the following steps will install the plugin:

Add the following line to your ~/.vimrc and then run :PluginInstall from within Vim:

call vundle#begin()
" ...
Plugin 'christoomey/vim-system-copy'
" ...
call vundle#end()


Vim plugin for copying to the system clipboard with text-objects and motions







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