The two registers "* and "+, what is the difference between them?

Maybe they are all about OS clipboard?

1 Answer 1


"* is for PRIMARY buffer/store/selection in X11 world and "+ is for CLIPBOARD. There are 3 separate selections for X11 apps to use for data exchange:


Vim uses only PRIMARY and CLIPBOARD. You can read more in Vim's help: :h x11-selection.

You can also set clipboard=unnamedplus, which will alias "* register to "+ (:h clipboard-unnamedplus, Using the clipboard as the default register)

I'm not sure how it exactly works on Windows and Mac, since there is no such separation as in Linux/X11

  • IIRC on mac the behavior is similar to setting clipboard to unnamedplus; it uses pbcopy i believe.
    – D. Ben Knoble
    Aug 14, 2018 at 14:40

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