ctrl + s versus ctrl + z in a terminal

Copy and Paste with Xorg

There exist two buffers to perform copy and paste operations in Xorg: the selection buffer and the clipboard buffer.

clipboard buffer

The clipboard buffer is the one people are the most used to. Generally to save the selection into the clipboard buffer we simply press ctrl+c. Note that in a terminal window the ctrl+c shortcut is going to terminate the current application, therefore, we generally have to press ctrl+shift+c to obtain the same result.

Similarly, to paste the clipboard content at the position of the cursor we have to press ctrl+v or ctrl+shift+v in a terminal window.

selection buffer

The selection buffer contains the last text selected. Generally we paste the selection buffer content by pressing the mouse middle button. We can also perform the same action by pressing ctrl+insert or ctrl+shift+insert depending on the application.


Different graphical toolkits like gtk2, gtk3, Qt, etc can implement their own clipboards which are not necessarily synchronized with the Xorg clipboard.