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I know a lot of people prefer *term or *onsole to xterm, but I'm a pretty die-hard xterm user. A while ago I noticed that an Ubuntu system I was using had the double-click to select text acting slightly differently than I was used to. I dug a little deeper and found that you could specify a “charClass” setting to group characters that would be considered similar and grouped when you double-clicked to select a word. Last week I found an even cooler option…

xterm has resources for “on2Clicks” through “on5Clicks”. These can be set to various values, one of which is “regex”. That's right, you can use a regex to determine what sorts of things are matched, for more and more clicks.

I'm running pretty simple values of:

xterm*on2Clicks:  regex [^/@ \n]+
xterm*on3Clicks:  regex [^ \n]+
xterm*on4Clicks:  regex [^#$]+
xterm*on5Clicks:  line

In other words, a double click will allow me to select the last component of a path, the local or domain part of an e-mail address, or a simple word. 3 clicks will get anything up separated by white-space, and 4 clicks will get everything up to my prompt, including tailing newline. 4 is one I'm really looking forward to. Finally, 5 clicks will snag the whole line.

If you want to do this, you need to put the above into your ~/.Xdefaults file and get X to pick up the changes. Probably easiest is to log out and back in. You can write these lines to a file and do “xrdb -merge <filename”, then start up a new xterm and try it out. It will not impact the currently running xterms (they've already loaded their resources).

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