The following command copies the selected text into the PRIMARY selection:

vnoremap <Leader>c :'<,'>!xsel<CR>u

But this way it doesn't work:

vnoremap <Leader>c <Cmd>'<,'>!xsel<CR>u

The documentation says <Cmd> is generally preferable. What am I doing wrong?

  • 1
    From what I understand from the doc <Cmd> is useful to avoid using :<C-u> to remove the range in your mappings so here I don't thing using <Cmd> is useful for you since you want to keep the '<,'> range. If I try vnoremap <Leader>c <Cmd>!xsel<CR> on my setup the mapping works. Also it is probable that you want to use xmap instead of vmap for your mapping.
    – statox
    Commented Jul 22, 2020 at 11:33
  • I'm not sure how can vnoremap <Leader>c <Cmd>!xsel<CR> work for you. From me it stays in visual mode, and nothing gets copied into the PRIMARY selection.
    – x-yuri
    Commented Jul 22, 2020 at 23:21

1 Answer 1


The automatic bookmarks '< and '> get updated only after the Visual mode is left. Hence <Cmd> is not useful for your example, as you effectively apply the previous selection range, not the current one.

You really should use "normal colon"-mapping here:

xnoremap <Leader>c :w !xsel<CR>

Note (1) use xnoremap instead of vnoremap so we don't mess with "Select" modes; (2) don't add "Visual" marks, as they are put in automatically; (3) do :w !xsel to have stdin redirected only, as we don't need xsel's output.

Also note that Neovim is normally able to find xsel/xclip and to set up "plus" and "star" registers without any additional scripting (see :h clipboard-tool).

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