I often find myself wanting to exchange some text object with whatever's currently in CLIPBOARD (not necessarily in Emacs' kill-ring, when I copy from other programs). But of course when I do something like dib, it puts what I removed in the CLIPBOARD, overwriting what was in CLIPBOARD (since I didn't first paste it into Emacs), so I can't just P M-y. So I have to copy it again, next time carefully doing PudibP M-y.

This feels inefficient. Is there a built-in way in emacs/evil to, instead of deleting, exchanging what I'm removing with what's in CLIPBOARD/top-of-kill-ring?

  • Did you try C-p or C-n in normal state after pasting the text?
    – wasamasa
    Jun 5, 2017 at 8:26
  • If I understand you correctly, that doesn't help, since by that time the CLIPBOARD is already overwritten. Ie. if I've copied cheese from a different program (so cheese is in CLIPBOARD but not kill-ring), and point is within (cake) and I do dibP^P, the dib will put cake in kill-ring & CLIPBOARD, overwriting cheese in the CLIPBOARD, while ^P will move back to whatever I last copied inside Emacs.
    – unhammer
    Jun 6, 2017 at 7:34
  • Well, it works for me in the case that I pasted something and notice that I actually wanted to paste the earlier thing. Theory is one thing, whether it works for you is another one.
    – wasamasa
    Jun 6, 2017 at 13:40
  • Your Emacs puts everything you copy from other programs into kill-ring, even if you never pasted it into Emacs? Is there a setting to make it watch the CLIPBOARD like that?
    – unhammer
    Jun 7, 2017 at 7:00
  • 1
    My bad, it's a matter of (setq save-interprogram-paste-before-kill t).
    – wasamasa
    Jun 10, 2017 at 14:14

1 Answer 1


Evil provides C-p and C-n to exchange the currently pasted item with the previous or next kill ring item. When combined with (setq save-interprogram-paste-before-kill t) whatever has been in the X clipboard will be saved to the kill ring before a kill operation, thereby becoming retrievable with C-p.

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