I am connected to a remote system via Screen Sharing. I have text (plaintext) on my clipboard locally. I am unable to paste into the remote system. How can I make this work? Here are some details:

  • When I open the Edit menu, only "Copy" is available, "Paste", "Send Clipboard" and "Get Clipboard" and so on are grayed out.
  • The buttons for "Send Clipboard" and "Get Clipboard" are grayed out.

    enter image description here

Some other facts:

  • The clipboard functions work ok with JollyFastVNC and Chicken of the VNC (but I have other problems with these).
  • Both local and remote systems are on OSX 10.6.8
  • Keyboard and mouse functionality works fine to remote system
  • The remote system's local clipboard works fine -- if I CTL-V in a screen on the remote system, I paste what is on the remote system's clipboard (hope that makes sense)
  • It doesn't matter what app I'm in on the remote system
  • Are you sure your clipboard is not empty? Send Clipboard being grayed out would indicate it is.
    – Gerry
    Commented Sep 28, 2011 at 15:04
  • 1
    Yep, I am sure. I can copy and paste in my local apps just fine. If I copy something from TextWrangler locally, then go to Screen Sharing, I see what I've screenshot above.
    – jlarson
    Commented Sep 28, 2011 at 15:09
  • Have you tried copying from Safari or another native OSX app? Maybe TextWrangler isn't really using the system keyboard?
    – c.apolzon
    Commented Oct 13, 2011 at 18:32
  • 1
    great suggestion, but yes, I have, from Outlook, Safari, Chrome... wherever...
    – jlarson
    Commented Oct 14, 2011 at 14:25
  • 1
    I had been hoping that MacOS mojave would fix this but nope, it seems it is one of the many areas they have not touched....
    – gae123
    Commented Oct 10, 2018 at 23:29

5 Answers 5


Apple answer: https://support.apple.com/kb/PH14152

Choose Edit >Use Shared Clipboard. Using the shared clipboard, you can:

Copy text and images from documents on one Mac and paste them into documents on the other.

Select and drag text and images from one Mac to the other.

Copy a link from your web browser and paste it into a web browser on the other Mac.

Copy text from a document on one Mac and drop it on the desktop of the other Mac to create a clipping.

  • 42
    What if Use Shared Clipboard is disabled? Commented Aug 23, 2017 at 6:06
  • 1
    Link rot in effect. source is 404, and context missing so this does not work (Edit > Use Shared Clipboard is not present) on Mojave (10.14) Mac,
    – BISI
    Commented Feb 12, 2022 at 19:01

I just disconnected my screen sharing session and re-connected and the copy/paste started working again.

  • this worked for me until the next time I needed to copy/paste, at which point I had to disconnect and re-connect a second time.
    – Michael
    Commented Feb 22, 2015 at 2:54

You can drag and drop what you want to copy over. This works on Lion, and I'd imagine it would work on earlier versions of OS X.

  • drag and drop text from my local app to a remote system? or drag and drop files from local finder to remote finder? either way, neither works.
    – jlarson
    Commented Oct 19, 2011 at 16:57
  • I can't find the documentation to back up that it was NOT available in Snow Leopard (10.6) but this was hailed as a new feature by many blogs when either Lion or Mountain Lion launched.
    – Mr Rabbit
    Commented Jul 29, 2013 at 19:24

You could alternatively use the inbuilt VNC viewer to screen share, it has a "Get Remote Clipboard" and "Put to Remote Clipboard" feature that would overcome the issue you're having.



On my mac, the copy function is resource dependent. If I have too many items open consuming too much OS/RAM/etc then copy paste will not work. It recovers when I close some things.

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