I know that question has been asked dozens of times now, but i have tried every possible suggestion i have found online - nothing worked.

I can't figure out how can I copy/paste from my Windows 10 to emacs(which is run through "Bash on Ubuntu on Windows"). If i copy text on my Windows i cant paste it to emacs by clicking right button of my mouse. I have tried pasting by using Shift+Insert, but it keeps toggling "overwrite mode" and not pasting anything. I have tried unbinding overwrite mode but i couldnt achieve it.

I have also tried simpleclip package and it shows me "Clipboard support not available" whenever I try running "M+x simpleclip-copy/paste/cut".

Can anyone please help me?

  • You are probably after the key binding C-y, which is the yank command to insert from the kill-ring in emacs.
    – theldoria
    Commented Mar 3, 2018 at 11:02
  • If you would like to have a more windows like key binding, you can try adding (cua-mode 1) to your init.el.
    – theldoria
    Commented Mar 3, 2018 at 11:04
  • I am aware of C-y, which is the 'yank' from emacs clipboard. But i want to paste from my Windows 10 OS clipboard. Killing and yank within emacs works fine. But i need to bind keyboard to paste from Windows 10 OS clipboard to emacs(replication mouse-2 click)
    – Ilja Leiko
    Commented Mar 3, 2018 at 11:22
  • You need something on the Windows side which serves the x-clipboard. I have some experience with the Cygwin XWin server and the XMing server which is more lightweight. Both servers have a bridge from the windows clipboard to the x-clipboard. For the XWin server you need the command line option -clipboard. You can switch on clipboard integration of XMing by some entry in the application menu (it is easy). If you manage to get clipboard support working in the X-server you get it for free in emacs (in my experience).
    – Tobias
    Commented Mar 3, 2018 at 11:51
  • ... Note, if you want to use the X-server you need export DISPLAY=:0.0 in wbash. From my experience do not waste time on the terminal version of emacs but aim for the X11 version. I don't have much experience with the terminal version but there are again and again problem reports with that version here on emacs.stackexchange.com. If the last two comments really pin-point your problem I re-write them as an answer. But, at first I will wait and see if it is really a solution.
    – Tobias
    Commented Mar 3, 2018 at 12:01

3 Answers 3


To answer your question, try this:

  • mouse to the title bar (to the right of the red Ubuntu logo)
  • right click, and you should see a menu appear
  • mouse over Edit, move to the right, click on Paste

If you find it's doing unexpected indenting, you may want to put emacs in fundamental-mode (esc x fundamental-mode). This is inconvenient, so if you expect to do this often, you should use an X server such as MobaXTerm or XMing, and before running emacs you need to set the environment variable DISPLAY=":0"


This answer is adapted from a post on Reddit.

You can define your own wsl-copy and wsl-paste functions by putting the following in your Emacs init file (.emacs):

; wsl-copy
(defun wsl-copy (start end)
  (interactive "r")
  (shell-command-on-region start end "clip.exe")

; wsl-paste
(defun wsl-paste ()
  (let ((clipboard
     (shell-command-to-string "powershell.exe -command 'Get-Clipboard' 2> /dev/null")))
    (setq clipboard (replace-regexp-in-string "\r" "" clipboard)) ; Remove Windows ^M characters
    (setq clipboard (substring clipboard 0 -1)) ; Remove newline added by Powershell
    (insert clipboard)))

To bind them to C-c C-c and C-c C-v, respectively, add this:

; Bind wsl-copy to C-c C-v
 (kbd "C-c C-c")

; Bind wsl-paste to C-c C-v
 (kbd "C-c C-v")
  • This looks very much like it should be added to GNU ELPA's xclip.el package. I thankfully don't use Windows so I can't do it myself, but if you're interested in helping me by testing my code, please contact me by email.
    – Stefan
    Commented Jul 13, 2020 at 14:50
  • @Stefan, I can't find your email on your profile. I've added my email address temporarily to my profile so you can email me. I would be happy to test xclip.el on Windows.
    – Riggy
    Commented Jul 25, 2020 at 23:25
  • It's [email protected]
    – Stefan
    Commented Jul 26, 2020 at 0:46

I use emacs built with pgtk, so it uses the native WSL Wayland graphics. That way I can use the wl-copy and wl-paste from wl-clipboard. You can do one of

  1. Call the tools with shell-command-on-region (M-| in my setup)
  2. Bind the corresponding calls to some keys.
  3. Use the xclip package mentioned above which now has support for wl-clipboard. In my case I also needed to add (setq xclip-method 'wl-copy) because it didn't configured itself properly for some reason.

There is also a similar project for X11 (wl-clipboard-x11 but I haven't tried it.

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