In this article, I am going to show you how to enter the copy mode of a Screen session to work with its paste buffer.

The copy mode not only allows scrolling up and down but also copying text in a Screen session.


Step #1: Entering the copy mode

To enter the copy mode, just press Ctrl + A then press Esc.

Step #2: Copying text

You can use navigation keys to move your cursor to the location you want to start to copy then press Enter. Next, move your cursor to select the whole text you want to copy then press Enter again. The selected text will be copied to the Screen’s paste buffer and the copy mode will be automatically exited.

Step #3: Pasting text

You have 2 options to paste the text content:

  1. To paste the text to the Screen, press Ctrl + A then press ].
  2. To paste the text to the Screen Exchange file /tmp/screen-exchange, press Ctrl + A then press Shift + . (or >). This option is useful if the text to be copied is multiple lines.


Copying text in the Screen without using the mouse is a little different, but it is still quite simple.