Howto: FreeBSD configure or use mouse to copy and paste at a terminal

September 8, 2019

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Q. How do I configure my mouse to copy and paste at a terminal under FreeBSD?

A. When you come from GUI to text-based terminal, you might miss the cut and past mouse functionality.

You can use your mouse to copy and paste at a terminal. Install moused which is utility and the console driver work together to support mouse operation in the text console and user programs.

FreeBSD moused configuration

To configure moused open /etc/rc.conf file:
# vi /etc/rc.conf

Add/modify following three lines:

Save and close the file.


  • moused_port=”/dev/psm0″ – The mouse port
  • moused_type=”auto” – Automatically detect mouse protocol
  • moused_enable=”YES” – Start mouse service when FreeBSD comes up i.e. start at boot time.

Task: Start/restarts/stop moused service

# /etc/rc.d/moused start
# /etc/rc.d/moused restart
# /etc/rc.d/moused stop

Task: Copy text

To select text press the left mouse button and drag the mouse.

Task: Paste text

To paste text in the same or another console, press the middle button.

Task: Configure two button mouse

Open /etc/rc.conf file
# vi /etc/rc.conf
Append following flags:
moused_flags="-m 2=3"

Save and close the file. Restart moused:
# /etc/rc.d/moused restart

Read moused man page for more information.

Posted by: SXI ADMIN

The author is the creator of SXI LLC and a seasoned sysadmin, DevOps engineer, and a trainer for the Linux operating system/Unix shell scripting. Get the latest tutorials on SysAdmin, Linux/Unix and open source topics via RSS/XML feed or weekly email newsletter.