Tmux and Vim Clipboard for Ubuntu

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One of the first things I noticed broken in my terminal based workflow moving from Windows wsl to ubuntu was that my clipboard was all messed up and not working with my terminal apps. Luckily setting tmux and neovim to work with the system clipboard was much easier than it was on windows.

First off you need to get xclip if you don't already have it provided by your distro. I found it in the apt repositories. I have used it between Ubuntu 18.04 and 21.10 and they all work flawlessly for me.

I have tmux setup to automatically copy any selection I make to the clipboard by setting the following in my ~/.tmux.conf . While I have neovim open I need to be in insert mode for this to pick up.

# ~/tmux.conf
bind -T copy-mode-vi Enter send-keys -X copy-pipe-and-cancel "xclip -i -f -selection primary | xclip -i -selection clipboard"
bind-key -T copy-mode-vi MouseDragEnd1Pane send-keys -X copy-pipe-and-cancel "xclip -selection clipboard -i"

To get my yanks to go to the system clipboard in neovim, I just added unnamedplus to my existing clipboard variable.

# ~/.config/nvim/init.vim
set clipboard+=unnamedplus

If you need to copy something right from the terminal you can use xclip directly. I do this semi-often to send someone a message in chat.

cat file.txt | clip -sel copy

I set up some alias's for doing this a bit more efficiently, but don't find myself using them very often. This helps me grab commands from history and copy them.

alias hclip="history | tail -n1 | cut -c 8- | xclip -sel clip"
alias fclip="history -n 1000 | fzf | cut -c 8- | xclip -sel clip"
alias fclip="history -n 1000 | fzf | xclip -sel clip"