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Old 09-21-2007, 11:26 PM   #1
daihard
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Highlight to copy, middle-click to paste

Hi.

I hope the title says it all. I'd like to be able to copy something by simply highlighting it with the mouse, and paste by middle-clicking. Yes, that's the default behaviour of X Window. I am so used to it, I have a hard time getting by without it on Mac OS X. I looked for a utility that'd do the job on VersionTracker.com, but to no avail. The mouse software that came with my Logitech mouse doesn't give me those options, either. Could anyone help me out?

TIA,
Dai
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Old 09-22-2007, 07:59 AM   #2
DeltaMac
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One-finger-snap will allow you to get the contextual menu without right-clicking.
http://www.versiontracker.com/dyn/moreinfo/macosx/27512

USB Overdrive will let you configure your mouse buttons just about any way that you like, certainly a center-button paste.

There's other mouse driver/configuration utilities, do a search at versiontracker.com

I'm not sure if you will get a copy as the result of selecting text. There should be one step in-between. - select, and then copy.
If you have selected text, then you can click-and-drag to another place in that same document, or often outside that document, with only that one click-move. No paste involved there...
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Old 09-22-2007, 12:34 PM   #3
daihard
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DeltaMac
One-finger-snap will allow you to get the contextual menu without right-clicking.
http://www.versiontracker.com/dyn/moreinfo/macosx/27512

USB Overdrive will let you configure your mouse buttons just about any way that you like, certainly a center-button paste.

There's other mouse driver/configuration utilities, do a search at versiontracker.com

Thanks for the info. I had actually tried USB Overdrive before I posted here. Unfortunately, it did not work for me. It did let me assign "Paste" or "Command + V" for the middle-button action, but it somehow never worked as intended. I then found that the Logitech mouse control software for my mouse did have the same functionality that worked. USB Drive did not have any way of mimicking copying by highlighting the text, either.

Quote:
I'm not sure if you will get a copy as the result of selecting text. There should be one step in-between. - select, and then copy.

X Window does not require that one step in-between; that's what makes it very convenient. Once you've selected something, you know that it's already been copied. You can then drag-and-drop it like you suggest or move to a different application and paste it with a middle-click. That's handy when it is physically impossible to drag a highlighted text to the target application (i.e. when the target is on a different virtual desktop).

I'll keep looking. Thanks again for your suggestions.

Dai
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Old 09-22-2007, 01:38 PM   #4
bryanc
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DeltaMac
There should be one step in-between. - select, and then copy...

Says who?

Dai, in addition to the above suggestions there are a few hints on this website that describe how to configure specific applications to behave the X11 way, (search for 'middle click'), but they are limited in scope. I have yet to find a way to make it work across the whole OS. If you find a solution, please be sure to follow-up here!
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Old 06-23-2008, 10:53 AM   #5
friedmud
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Me too.

I'm a recent switcher... and love OSX... unfortunately one of my colleagues bought a Mac Pro for work use and has ended up putting Linux on it instead. His reason: "No select copy / middle click paste". Seriously.

I used it for years in Linux, but it's not that big of a deal to do command-C command-V... so it hasn't stopped me from using OSX.

BTW: To the guy that says there should be a step in between: you can actually use _both_ methods simultaneously in Linux. The "Control-C" copy buffer is actually _separate_ from the "highlight-copy" buffer. So I can ^C copy something then highlight-copy something else then paste with either ^V _or_ middle click depending on which one I want to paste. In general I always use highlight-copy/middle click paste for quick text copy paste (like in a terminal) and ^C/^V for more complicated cases.

If anyone were to write a utility that enabled this... I would be willing to pay cold hard cash....

Friedmud
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Old 06-23-2008, 12:02 PM   #6
wdympcf
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Quote:
That's handy when it is physically impossible to drag a highlighted text to the target application (i.e. when the target is on a different virtual desktop).

It's too bad you're not using Leopard. In Leopard, you can assign a hot corner to Spaces, and then all you have to do is drag the highlighted text to the hot corner, drag it to the virtual desktop you want and then drop it on the application in that desktop.
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Old 01-08-2010, 02:01 PM   #7
alevchuk
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wdympcf
... all you have to do is drag the highlighted text to the hot corner, drag it to the virtual desktop you want and then drop it on the application in that desktop.

Break down of the procedure that wdympcf is describing:
1. Select/Highlight text
2. Click on it and hold the mouse button
3. Drag to the Hot Corner
4. Drag to the desired Space and point at the area where you want to Paste
5. Quickly Let go the mouse button, before the Space starts blinking and comes up

Another variant is:
1-3. Same
4. Drag to the desired Space
5. Wait for the Space to blink and come up
6. Drag to the desired Paste location
7. Let go the mouse button

This is too much!

I copy and paste text 10 to 100 times a day.
I have a feeling that most of us do.

The 5 step and the 7 step procedures are both not realistic.
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Old 01-08-2010, 02:25 PM   #8
alevchuk
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daihard
copy something by simply highlighting it with the mouse, and paste by middle-clicking.

This is what I really need.

Everything is perfect about my MaxOS X workstation, except for the lack of Highlight-to-Copy feature.

I make 10 to 100 copy+pastes per day using the Apple-C -> Apple-V approach (Browser to Terminal. Terminal to Browser). Once in a while I get so tired of this that start Googling in the hope that someone built a Highlight-to-Copy solution, but I can't find it. My frustration continues.

In our lab most of us had to switched to MacOS X workstations from Liux workstations, most of us (I know at least 5 people) want the Highlight-to-Copy feature.

It would great to do a survey about this. My guess would be that more then 10% of Mac users would agree that they really need this simple feature.
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Old 01-10-2010, 11:18 AM   #9
benwiggy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alevchuk
I make 10 to 100 copy+pastes per day using the Apple-C -> Apple-V approach (Browser to Terminal. Terminal to Browser).

Why don't you just select and drag the text to the Terminal window?

My concern about highlight = copy is that there are times when you don't want to load the clipboard with what you highlight, e.g. copy something and paste it over a selected region.
The solution, mentioned above, is to have essentially two different clipboards: one for highlight, and one for Cut/Copy, and two different paste commands. Therein madness lies.

That having been said, there have been multiple clipboard programs for the Mac since OS 7. Perhaps one of these might do what you want.

If you really find yourself doing 100s of copy and pastes a day, then perhaps you should look at other methods of automating your workflow or of extracting the data.

Perhaps this is something that could be implemented by someone and which might be welcome by lots of people. I'm not sure I'd welcome it. But snubbing the OS because of one extra keystroke? That's pretty stubborn.

Cut, Copy and Paste were pretty much the original GUI commands. How times have moved on that these are now considered a chore rather than timesavers!

Last edited by benwiggy; 01-10-2010 at 11:21 AM.
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Old 02-26-2010, 04:49 PM   #10
cvmiller
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Quote:
Originally Posted by benwiggy
Why don't you just select and drag the text to the Terminal window?

Cut, Copy and Paste were pretty much the original GUI commands. How times have moved on that these are now considered a chore rather than timesavers!

I agree, Cut/Copy/Paste are pretty basic, and have been part of MacOS since 1984.

However, that doesn't mean it can't be improved. I think the real issue is what one is used to. Copying and Pasting without every touching the keyboard (as one does in Xwindows) is _very_ convenient, and natural.

I have mentioned how convenient this system is to Windows and Mac users, and frankly, they just don't get it.

Using select/middle-button paste is, IMHO, a better way than the original command-c/command-v method, and after 25 years, I think it is not a bad idea to improve upon the venerable copy/paste.

Craig...
[long time Linux user, struggling with MacOS X copy and paste]
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Old 03-08-2010, 06:07 PM   #11
ADubA1
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I would also love more than anything to have a way to highlight text and have it auto-copied, and have middle click paste. I've been using this on linux systems for years and am now finding myself having to use an OSX machine, and it's driving me batty.
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Old 04-02-2010, 02:35 AM   #12
upak
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Go to X11 preferences - highlight "emulate 3 button mouse".

Now middle click = option+click.

Highlight/paste will work just like in Linux..
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Old 04-05-2010, 03:54 AM   #13
upak
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X11 middle click copy-paste in OS X

If you enable "Emulate 3 button mouse" in the X11 Preferences, then you will be able to highlight a text (automatically copies) and instead of middle click you press "Option+click". The automatic highlight-copy seems to work only on X11 windows (like xterm).
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Old 04-28-2010, 02:25 AM   #14
saminny
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Quote:
Originally Posted by upak
If you enable "Emulate 3 button mouse" in the X11 Preferences, then you will be able to highlight a text (automatically copies) and instead of middle click you press "Option+click". The automatic highlight-copy seems to work only on X11 windows (like xterm).

Hi,
I set this setting but the highlight-copy doesn't work. Do I need to set some clipboard setting or somethign to enable this. I really need highlight-copy to do my work and will have to relinquish MAC if this does not work :-(
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Old 04-28-2010, 07:20 AM   #15
benwiggy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saminny
Hi,
I set this setting but the highlight-copy doesn't work. Do I need to set some clipboard setting or somethign to enable this. I really need highlight-copy to do my work and will have to relinquish MAC if this does not work :-(

I think the hint above only works in the X11 environment. Is this what you are doing?
Even if you can't get this to work, there is no loss of function - just an extra keypress or right-click. Don't forget that in most of OS X, you can also automatically drag a selection to another location without any keypresses.

You'd give up your Mac because of this one thing....?

Personally, I often need to select text while keeping something on the clipboard, so this would be terrible for me. Meh. Horses for courses.
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Old 04-28-2010, 04:42 PM   #16
saminny
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Quote:
Originally Posted by benwiggy
I think the hint above only works in the X11 environment. Is this what you are doing?
Even if you can't get this to work, there is no loss of function - just an extra keypress or right-click. Don't forget that in most of OS X, you can also automatically drag a selection to another location without any keypresses.

You'd give up your Mac because of this one thing....?

Personally, I often need to select text while keeping something on the clipboard, so this would be terrible for me. Meh. Horses for courses.


I am working in xterm. I use highlight-copy so extensively for every little thing that I cannot afford to work without it. Good or bad Ive become too used to it. It is not working in xterm with the middle click option.
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Old 05-01-2010, 10:15 PM   #17
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Finally, a group of people that know what I am talking about;-) Whoever mentioned the separate clipboards in X hit the nail on the head. Maybe a plugin could be built that creates a new clip board on the mac, one that pastes with the middle button. The standard mac clipboard could be left as is.

You could probably pull it out the X11 framework, and build something from that. The trick will be to enable the select to clipboard. Certainly the Mac puts the selection into some memory/buffer space somewhere. A middle click could be programed to access that space and then paste it to wherever got clicked. This really is not any different then the current drag and drop features, just implemented in a different way.

I am getting ready to move to a mac platform after many years of linux use and this is one feature I will want. I do not understand why this feature has never hit the mainstream. Once you get used to it you can not live without it.
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Old 05-03-2010, 03:17 PM   #18
reikoshea
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I made an account today just to agree with everyone above. I have a MacBook Pro and the only reason I dont use it for my primary work station is this rub. I keep an Ubuntu machine at work purely so I can have this functionality.

If someone knows of a clipboard app (i haven't found one yet) that adds a highlight clipboard buffer, even if it is paid software, please respond. I really would pay to have this functionality in a Mac environment. To me, it's the only barrier left (after i found the option to tab to drop downs).
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Old 05-21-2010, 04:32 AM   #19
CG83
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Hello everyone,

I am a mac newbie, coming from a linux based work environment.
So I also encountered the select-copy-paste problem.

The best solution I have found so far is to install the better touch tool,
this allows you to assign your own commands to different mouse/touchpad gestures.

So I now have my magic mouse set up so that
- 1 finger right tap = cmd c (copy) and
- 2 finger tap = cmd v (paste)

It is one step more than the highlight = copy, but still, I prefer it over the keyboard shortcuts.

But if anybody finds a better solution, please share

greets,NGC1805SAGEIRS1
C.
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Old 05-21-2010, 12:09 PM   #20
tekniklr
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Like reikoshea, I too created an account just to keep track of this issue (though apparently I can't subscribe to topics until I'm out of probation...).

Coming from someone who's been using Linux pretty much exclusively for 10 years and is just now trying to switch to OS X, the highlight-copy/middleclick-paste feature really is something you become dependent on. It's such a simple feature and has been mimicked by Windows programs... it hadn't even occurred to me that this is something that might be hard to do on a Mac.
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