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How To Copy & Paste between Terminal and Application Windows in i3

Ubuntu 15

In this guide, we will explore how to copy and paste between terminal and application windows in i3, a tiling window manager for Linux. This is a common task that can be accomplished in several ways. We’ll cover the use of keyboard shortcuts, clipboard managers, and alternative terminals.

Quick Answer

To copy and paste between terminal and application windows in i3, you can use keyboard shortcuts such as CTRL+SHIFT+C to copy and CTRL+SHIFT+V to paste. If the shortcuts don’t work, you can try using CTRL+ALT+C and CTRL+ALT+V as an alternative. Additionally, you can install a clipboard manager like clipit or try using the middle mouse button to copy and paste.

Using Keyboard Shortcuts

Keyboard shortcuts are the quickest and most straightforward method for copying and pasting in i3. However, the specific shortcuts can vary depending on the terminal emulator you’re using.

In most terminals, the default copy and paste shortcuts are CTRL+SHIFT+C and CTRL+SHIFT+V, respectively. This means that if you want to copy text, you would select it and then press CTRL+SHIFT+C. To paste the copied text, you would then press CTRL+SHIFT+V.

Some terminals, however, use CTRL+ALT+C and CTRL+ALT+V for copy and paste. If the first set of shortcuts doesn’t work, you can try this alternative.

Installing a Clipboard Manager

If the keyboard shortcuts aren’t working for you, or if you want more control over your clipboard, you can install a clipboard manager. One such manager is clipit.

To install clipit, open your terminal and run the following commands:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install clipit

The sudo apt-get update command updates your package lists, ensuring you have the latest information about what software you can install and from where. The sudo apt-get install clipit command installs clipit on your system.

To start clipit automatically when you log in, you need to add the following line to your ~/.i3/config file:

exec --no-startup-id clipit

This command tells i3 to execute clipit without any startup ID, which means it will run in the background without creating a new window.

Please note that clipit is no longer maintained. You might want to consider using a more modern clipboard manager like diodon.

Using the Middle Mouse Button

In some cases, you can use the middle mouse button to copy and paste. To copy, you would select the text you want to copy in the terminal. Then, to paste, you would middle-click in the application window where you want to paste the text.

Trying Alternative Terminals

If none of the above options work for you, you might want to try using an alternative terminal. Some terminals, like xfce4-terminal or gnome-terminal, may have different default copy and paste shortcuts that could work better for you.

Important Note

Remember that the clipboard of each container in i3 is emptied when the container is closed. This means that if you copy text from a terminal, close the terminal, and then try to paste in another terminal, it won’t work because the clipboard will have been emptied.

Conclusion

Copying and pasting between terminal and application windows in i3 can be done in several ways. You can use keyboard shortcuts, install a clipboard manager, use the middle mouse button, or try an alternative terminal. Hopefully, this guide has provided you with the information you need to choose the method that works best for you.

What is i3?

i3 is a tiling window manager for Linux. It allows you to arrange your windows in a non-overlapping tile layout, maximizing your screen space and improving productivity.

How do I copy and paste in i3?

You can copy and paste in i3 using keyboard shortcuts, clipboard managers, or the middle mouse button. The specific shortcuts may vary depending on your terminal emulator.

What are the default copy and paste shortcuts in i3?

In most terminals, the default copy shortcut is CTRL+SHIFT+C and the default paste shortcut is CTRL+SHIFT+V. Some terminals may use CTRL+ALT+C and CTRL+ALT+V instead.

Can I install a clipboard manager in i3?

Yes, you can install a clipboard manager like clipit or diodon in i3 to have more control over your clipboard and enhance your copying and pasting experience.

How do I install `clipit` as a clipboard manager in i3?

To install clipit, open your terminal and run the following commands:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install clipit

After installation, add the line exec --no-startup-id clipit to your ~/.i3/config file to start clipit automatically when you log in.

What if the keyboard shortcuts don’t work for copying and pasting?

If the keyboard shortcuts don’t work, you can try using the middle mouse button to copy and paste. Additionally, you can explore alternative terminals like xfce4-terminal or gnome-terminal that may have different default shortcuts.

Why doesn’t copying from one terminal and pasting in another work in i3?

The clipboard of each container in i3 is emptied when the container is closed. If you copy text from a terminal, close the terminal, and then try to paste in another terminal, it won’t work because the clipboard will have been emptied.

Are there any alternatives to `clipit` for clipboard management in i3?

Yes, clipit is no longer maintained. You might want to consider using a more modern clipboard manager like diodon. It provides similar functionality and is actively maintained.

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