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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)