Copying and pasting text w/ mouse

Robert Watson rwatson at
Fri Aug 15 14:27:02 PDT 2003

On Fri, 15 Aug 2003, Charles Howse wrote:

> FreeBSD 4.8-RELEASE, no gui. 
> In Linux, I can left-drag to select text in the console, then
> right-click to paste it to the command line.  My FreeBSD Unleashed book
> says the mouse can be configured to copy and paste from the console in
> FreeBSD, but darned if I can figure out how to do it. 
> I've used sysinstall to configure the mouse, I get a Windows-style mouse
> pointer, I can select text by dragging, but can't paste. 
> Is there a magic word (Abra-ca-dabra!) one has to mumble to paste in the
> console? 

The two typical tricks are (1) press the middle mouse button (or emulated
middle mouse button), or (2) press shift-insert on the keyboard.  If you
don't have a middle mouse button, you can add/merge the following line to
your /etc/rc.conf:


This will emulate the three button mouse by having you press both mouse
buttons to indicate a third button click.

Or, if you're using a USB mouse, you'll need to update the equivilent
lines in usbd.conf.  I believe the shift-insert support has been merged --
this is my personal favorite pasting mechanism, and it also works with
good xterm implementations.

Robert N M Watson             FreeBSD Core Team, TrustedBSD Projects
robert at      Network Associates Laboratories

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