Xfce4: can keyboard shortcuts for mouse-clicks be created?

Hi all, :wave:

I´ve got a question regarding a special keyboard shortcut when using xfce4.

My main system is Linux Lite 6.2, which makes use of the xfce DE, but I also use Debian as a virtual machine which uses xfce as well. Basically my question refers to both systems.

I know I can copy any marked text with “ctrl + C” and paste it with “ctrl + V”. That´s clear so far.
I also know it´s called “default clipboard”.

But there´s also “primary clipboard”. For this I only have to mark some text with the mouse. For pasting in this case I just push the middle button (scrolling wheel) of the mouse.

What I´d like to know is:

For the primary clipboard:

is there also a keyboard shortcut available for pasting :question:
So I won´t have to use the mouse wheel for that?
Or can such a keyboard shortcut be created somehow :question:

I found out for me it might be practical in many cases to do pasting by employing a keyboard shortcut. :wink:
I looked around on the net but wasn´t able to find any answer that would suit my needs.

Thanks a lot in advance.

Many greetings from Rosika :slightly_smiling_face:

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Hey Rosika,
I am not very familiar with Xfce, but I did some looking around.

First, referring to the primary and default clipboards - it looks like Clipman (the program in Xfce that handles the default clipboard) has a setting to allow you to sync the primary clipboard with the default clipboard. According to the documentation, right click on the Clipman icon > Properties > Check Sync Selections. I know this is not what you asked for, but you might find it to be a better solution than setting a new shortcut

As for setting a global shortcut in Xfce, you can try this answer on stack exchange. I will write what that answer says here, just in case someone in the future comes to this question later to find the Stackexchange link doesn’t work: Launch Xfce4 Settings Manager > Click on Keyboard > Find Copy and Paste and change your selections.

I suspect that there isn’t a separate shortcut setting for the primary clipboard, but I thought I would suggest it all the same.


This is an old X Windows / X11 thing called “the X select buffer”… Nearly ALL old UNIX graphical workstations or X Terminals, had a three button mouse - middle button click will paste the text you selected somewhere else from the “x select buffer”.

It’s incredibly useful, my workflow suffers when it’s inconsistent (e.g. in Gnome’s text editor, you can paste text selected from a terminal with the middle button, into the text document, but you can’t select text within that same gnome text editor, and middle-click paste it into the same document!

I actually tried to make this work in MacOS, but it was so inconsistent, I gave up. The only consolation is that MacOS default terminal application, and a third party implementation, iTerm2, both automatically copy selected text into MacOS’s ONLY clipboard.

I simply must have a middle mouse button, I can’t work without it - and - I use a Lenovo ThinkPad USB (current one is wireless), which has a trackpoint, and, three “mouse” buttons under the spacebar (my actual Thinkpad also has these features).

These are features I cannot live without :smiley:

Note also - Synergy (and one would assume Barrier would be the same) seems to automatically put “x select buffer” (or what you call “primary” clipboard) text into the main clipboard, because I can select some text in a terminal on my Linux machine, then middle-click paste it into a terminal (Ctrl/CMD+V for an Office document, or text editor, or web page) on one of my Macs, or my other Linux machine…


Hi to you all, :wave:

sorry I couldn´t reply earlier.

@Akatama :

Thanks, Jimmy, for your suggestions.

That would be great and I would surely go for that.
I also looked at the link you thankfully provided.

Alas with me it seems a bit different. I don´t seem to have the “General” tab. Perhaps this was available in an older version?

The tabs with me are: Behaviour, Actions, History. So no “General” tab available.
And therefore no “Check Sync Selections”. They must have changed that… :thinking: .

Thanks also for the 2nd link:

I tried it, but it seems impossible to to get the scrollwheel click as a shortcut. I´d have to enter a command as some sort of definition. Simply clicking the scrollwheel won´t produce a command.

Still: thanks a lot for your effort.

@daniel.m.tripp :

I understand that, Dan.

With me it´s quite often the case that I would mark something which I have to insert in an application which resides on another virtual desktop.
I change the desktops with a keyboard shortcut and so it would be easier for me to do the insertion with the keyboard as well. :wink:

Thanks a lot for presenting your views on the matter.

Many greetings to all.
Rosika :slightly_smiling_face:

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@Akatama :

Hi Jimmy, I got it now.

And you were right all along. Thanks. :heart:

As my system is a German language setup it´s called “Mausauswahl abgleichen”, i.e.:
“Match mouse selection”. I didn´t recognize it meant “Check Sync Selections”.

The tabs have different headings, too. But now I found it and it works.

That´s the solution I was looking for.

Thank you very much, Jimmy. :heart:

Many greetings from Rosika :slightly_smiling_face:


Hey Rosika,
You are welcome! After reading this post, I did check to see if Xfce has any German documentation, and it seems like they don’t. While I have been to Germany, I don’t speak any German, but to my eyes “Match mouse selection” doesn’t mean exactly the same thing as “Sync selections”. Since I am not familiar with the language, I cannot comment if that is a good or bad translation, but I imagine German must have a word for “sync”. All of this is to say - I don’t think I would’ve recognized that option as being the same as what I said either.

Although, I do think it is interesting that apparently it is also called a mouse in German…or well a “maus”.

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Hi Jimmy, :wave:

thanks for your additional comments.

Thanks for the effort.

Yes, you´re quite right. It isn´t an exact translation.
The German equivalent should be “synchronisieren” (verb) or “Synchronisation” (noun).
Those Germans at times tend to butcher the English language . :wink:

But it has the desired effect.
If I mark a word/sentence/passage with the primary clipboard functionality (so: not explicitly copying) the contents are transferred to the default clipboard, i.e. I can paste the contents with “CTRL+V”.

That´s exactly what I was looking for. :smiley:

Yes, quite right.

Thanks again for kindly helping me.

Many greetings from Rosika :slightly_smiling_face:

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