I have installed a tiny vim version without the clipboard feature. Can I load this feature for the current version or do I have to install another version of vim?

$ vi --version
VIM - Vi IMproved 7.4 (2013 Aug 10, compiled Nov 24 2016 16:44:48)
Included patches: 1-1689
Extra patches: 8.0.0056
Modified by pkg-vim-maintainers@lists.alioth.debian.org
Compiled by pkg-vim-maintainers@lists.alioth.debian.org
Small version without GUI.  Features included (+) or not (-):
+acl             -farsi           -mouse_sgr       -tag_any_white
-arabic          -file_in_path    -mouse_sysmouse  -tcl
-autocmd         -find_in_path    -mouse_urxvt     +terminfo
-balloon_eval    -float           -mouse_xterm     -termresponse
-browse          -folding         +multi_byte      -textobjects
+builtin_terms   -footer          -multi_lang      -timers
-byte_offset     +fork()          -mzscheme        -title
-channel         -gettext         -netbeans_intg   -toolbar
-cindent         -hangul_input    +packages        -user_commands
-clientserver    +iconv           -path_extra      +vertsplit
-clipboard       -insert_expand   -perl            -virtualedit
  • 1
    if you are on debian or ubuntu (which the :version output suggests), you can simply install a better version by running sudo apt-get install vim-nox or sudo apt-get intall vim-gtk3 Feb 8, 2017 at 6:26

2 Answers 2


I'm pretty sure that the only way to change which features are enabled is to recompile vim. So, yes; you need to re-install.


The accepted answer is absolutely correct - these features are fixed from compile time. If installing a heavier build is not an option, however, and depending on what a user wants/needs, one may be able to approximate the clipboard feature using :read/system() and their system's tool for manipulating the clipboard (xsel on Linux, pbcopy/pbpaste on macOS, putclip/getclip on cygwin, etc.).

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