screen: cut and paste

Tim Chase blinux.list at
Thu Jun 19 10:38:43 UTC 2008

> Does anyone know how to cut and paste with screen?

Unless you've changed the default escape-key from control+A or 
remapped the keys for doing the copy/paste, you use

   control+A  left-square-bracket ("[")

to start "copy mode".  Within this, you can use most vi-key 
motions (and perhaps the arrows too) to move to the place you 
want to start your copy.  Press <space> to mark the beginning of 
the block to be copied.  Move the cursor to the end of the block 
you want to copy and press <space> again to mark the end of the 
selection.  Screen will report back something like "18 characters 

You can then use

   control+A right-square-bracket ("]")

to paste the text as if you typed it.  At any point after you've 
entered copy/scroll-back mode, you can use control+C to leave 
without copying.

> And can it cut say a document in lynx that spreads over 3 pages?

You can copy/paste each page individually, copy each page 
appending to the internal clipboard, or if the text fits in less 
than the scroll-back buffer in Screen, then you can dump the page 
(optionally slicing out what you need) to the screen and then use 
the scroll-back buffer to pull it out.

Option #1 is a pain, but very easy to use/remember.

Option #2 is a more obscure feature that, while in copy mode, if 
you press "a", it will append-to rather than overwrite the 
existing clipboard, so you can select text on one page, copy it, 
scroll forward in Lynx to the next page, select the text on that 
page, press "a", then copy it, and repeat the "scroll, select, 
'a', copy" loop for each page that you want.  Then you have it 
all in one paste.  However, if you forget to press "a" just one 
time, you tromp over all your previous work.

Option #3 is nice if there's a large swath of data you want to 
select and it fits within your scroll-back history:

   lynx -dump | sed -n "20,36p"

to print lines 20-36 of the output from the specified webpage. 
You can skip the "sed" sub-process if you just want the whole 
document.  This will act just like "cat" would have, dumping the 
text, which is then available in the scroll-back.  I believe the 
default scroll-back history is 100 lines, but this can be changed 
by using the "defscrollback" setting in your .screenrc, using 
"scrollback" from the screen command-prompt, or the "-h" 
parameter for a given window.  Thus, if you knew you wanted to 
pull out 1000 lines instead of 10, you could start a new screen 
session like

   [do stuff]
   screen -h 1000
   [in a new session with a bigger scrollback]
   lynx -dump
   [do your copy/paste]

As yet another alternative outside of screen, Lynx offers a 
"p"rint option/command that you can use to dump the formatted 
text to a file for later editing/review with your favorite 
editor/pager program.

Hope this helps,


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