Actually, I am unable to do so when I am using MacVim Application. But inside iterm using Vim (the same MacVim release), I am able to.

They also both use the same .vimrc . Both versions compiled with -xterm_clipboard and +clipboard

Macos version is 10.13.2 .

The version info of the MacVim application:

VIM - Vi IMproved 8.1 (2018 May 18, compiled Aug 14 2018 05:28:49)
macOS version
Included patches: 1-280
Compiled by travis@Traviss-Mac-1044.local
Huge version with MacVim GUI.  Features included (+) or not (-):
+acl               +cmdline_compl     +emacs_tags        +iconv             +mksession         -mzscheme          +reltime           +termguicolors     +visualextra
+arabic            +cmdline_hist      +eval              +insert_expand     +modify_fname      +netbeans_intg     +rightleft         +terminal          +viminfo
+autocmd           +cmdline_info      +ex_extra          +job               +mouse             +num64             +ruby/dyn          +terminfo          +vreplace
+autochdir         +comments          +extra_search      +jumplist          +mouseshape        +odbeditor         +scrollbind        +termresponse      +wildignore
-autoservername    +conceal           +farsi             +keymap            +mouse_dec         +packages          +signs             +textobjects       +wildmenu
+balloon_eval      +cryptv            +file_in_path      +lambda            -mouse_gpm         +path_extra        +smartindent       +timers            +windows
+balloon_eval_term +cscope            +find_in_path      +langmap           -mouse_jsbterm     +perl/dyn          +startuptime       +title             +writebackup
+browse            +cursorbind        +float             +libcall           +mouse_netterm     +persistent_undo   +statusline        +toolbar           -X11
++builtin_terms    +cursorshape       +folding           +linebreak         +mouse_sgr         +postscript        -sun_workshop      +transparency      -xfontset
+byte_offset       +dialog_con_gui    -footer            +lispindent        -mouse_sysmouse    +printer           +syntax            +user_commands     +xim
+channel           +diff              +fork()            +listcmds          +mouse_urxvt       +profile           +tag_binary        +vartabs           -xpm
+cindent           +digraphs          +fullscreen        +localmap          +mouse_xterm       +python/dyn        +tag_old_static    +vertsplit         -xsmp
+clientserver      +dnd               -gettext           +lua/dyn           +multi_byte        +python3/dyn       -tag_any_white     +virtualedit       -xterm_clipboard
+clipboard         -ebcdic            -hangul_input      +menu              +multi_lang        +quickfix          -tcl               +visual            -xterm_save
   system vimrc file: "$VIM/vimrc"
     user vimrc file: "$HOME/.vimrc"
 2nd user vimrc file: "~/.vim/vimrc"
      user exrc file: "$HOME/.exrc"
  system gvimrc file: "$VIM/gvimrc"
    user gvimrc file: "$HOME/.gvimrc"
2nd user gvimrc file: "~/.vim/gvimrc"
       defaults file: "$VIMRUNTIME/defaults.vim"
    system menu file: "$VIMRUNTIME/menu.vim"
  fall-back for $VIM: "/Applications/MacVim.app/Contents/Resources/vim"
clang -c -I. -Iproto -DHAVE_CONFIG_H -DFEAT_GUI_MACVIM -Wall -Wno-unknown-pragmas -pipe  -DMACOS_X -DMACOS_X_DARWIN  -g -O2 -U_FORTIFY_SOURCE -D_FORTIFY_SOURCE=1
Linking: clang   -L. -fstack-protector -L/usr/local/lib -L/usr/local/opt/libyaml/lib -L/usr/local/opt/openssl/lib -L/usr/local/opt/readline/lib -L. -fstack-protector -L/usr/loca
l/lib -L/usr/local/opt/libyaml/lib -L/usr/local/opt/openssl/lib -L/usr/local/opt/readline/lib  -L/usr/local/lib -o Vim -framework Cocoa -framework Carbon       -lm  -lncurses -l
iconv -framework AppKit   -fstack-protector  -L/System/Library/Perl/5.18/darwin-thread-multi-2level/CORE

I have the following line in .vimrc

 set clipboard+=unnamed,unnamedplus 

set paste doesn't help.

Suggestions will be welcomed.

  • Well, actually the middle mouse button does work for paste. I have no idea how to copy(beside <C-W> N). And I don't always use a mouse.
    – eyal karni
    Nov 2, 2018 at 22:53
  • When you say you can't use the clipboard do you mean you can't copy paste like normal (ie with Command+C) or can you not access the clipboard with the +register?
    – ljden
    Nov 3, 2018 at 2:24
  • Both. Normal vim commands don't work when you are in the terminal. And Command+C doesn't work.
    – eyal karni
    Nov 3, 2018 at 15:24

1 Answer 1


According to the vim terminal documentation, there is a special key binding for pasting in a terminal window. From the Vim terminal window support documentation on the Vim git repo.

CTRL-W " {reg}  paste register {reg}        *CTRL-W_quote*
        Also works with the = register to insert the result of
        evaluating an expression.

Other than using the middle mouse button, this is the only reference to copy/pasting I could see.

NB: I don't have a mac so this is untested, hope it helps!

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