urxvt extension provide vim like scrollback and pasting functionality
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vim-scrollback is an extension for urxvt which provides a vim like scrollback mode and pasting


While not in vim scrollback mode

  • ctrl-v - enter vim-scrollback mode
  • ctrl-r * - pastes the primary clipboard onto the command line
  • ctrl-r + - pastes the secondary clipboard onto the command line

Note: both ctrl-v and ctrl-r can be configured to different values as described in the Configuration section below.

While in the vim scrollback mode the following key bindings are available:

  • motions:
    • h j k l
    • w e b
    • 0 _ $
    • ctrl-u ctrl-d ctrl-f ctrl-b
    • gg G
    • f<char> - jump to next occurrence of <char> on the current line
    • F<char> - jump to prev occurrence of <char> on the current line
  • visual mode:
    • V v ctrl-v
    • gv - reselect last selection
  • yank visual selection (requires xclip):
    • y - yank to primary clipboard (*)
    • Y - yank to secondary clipboard (+)
  • paste:
    • p - pastes onto the end of the command line
  • undo / redo:
    • u / ctrl-R - undo / redo pastes to command line
  • marks:
    • m[a-z] '[a-z] ''
  • search:
    • / - searches up
    • ? - searches down
    • n - next in current direction
    • N - next in opposite direction
    • * - search for word under the cursor
  • misc:

Note: counts can be supplied to most commands like in vim


After cloning the repository to the location of your choice, you must then enable this extension in urxvt vi your .Xresources file (or ~/.Xdefaults).

! enable the extension (note that you must use an absolute path, no ~/...)
urxvt*perl-lib: /home/user/urxvt-vim-scrollback
urxvt*perl-ext-common: vim-scrollback


Vim scrollback supports various configuration settings which can be supplied in your ~/.Xresources (or ~/.Xdefaults) file.

; configure alt-s as the keybinding to enter vim scrollback mode.
urxvt.vim-scrollback: M-s

; configure alt-p as the keybinding to paste mode.
urxvt.vim-scrollback-paste: M-p

; configure the background and foreground colors used for the status bar while
; in scrollback mode.
urxvt.vim-scrollback-bg: 16
urxvt.vim-scrollback-fg: 10

; configure vim-scrollback specific matchers
urxvt.vim-scrollback.pattern.1: \\B(/\\S+?):(\\d+)(?=:|$)
urxvt.vim-scrollback.launcher.1: gvim +$2 $1

; configure the command used when opening urls. Note: uses the same
; configuration as the url launcher script shipped with urxvt.
urxvt*urlLauncher: firefox