How to Copy, Cut and Paste

Do you want to learn how to quickly copy, cut and paste within a document? Perhaps you have repetitive text that you don’t want to rewrite each time, or perhaps you decide that you want to move a paragraph within a document but you don’t want to write it again? Even if you want to move pictures or files around on your computer. Read on to learn how to carry out the following shortcuts quickly and simpl

Copy Cut and Paste – what do they mean?

Copy and Paste – use an item from one place e.g. a piece of text or an image, and add it to another place in the same or a different document. Do not remove it from the original position.

Cut – remove an item e.g. a piece of text or an image

Cut and Paste – remove an item from one place e.g. a piece of text or an image, and move it to another place in the same or a different document

Overview of Copy Cut and Paste

Copy, or Cut, puts the text or image in a temporary holding place called the clipboard.  The text will stay in the clipboard until another item is copied or cut. The clipboard can only hold one item at a time. As long as an item is on the clipboard, it can be pasted into multiple different places in the same or different documents.

Microsoft Word is shown here a an example. Copy cut and paste work equally well in most applications, such as email, spreadsheets, as well as in some file directory locations.

How to select text

In the example below, we will select the word Grocery.

To select a piece of text, position the cursor at the beginning of the text, click and hold, and drag the cursor to the end of the text. Let go. The selected text is highlighted as in the example below. To select an item such as a file or an image, single click on it.


How to copy text

To copy this selected text to the clipboard, hold down the command / ctrl key and tap on C.

To paste the selected text that is now on the clipboard into another position in the document, move the cursor to the new position and click once. Hold down the command / ctrl key and tap on V to paste. In this case, we clicked after the word shop, and pasted Grocery to the end of the first line.

If you make a mistake, you can click on the Edit menu, and select the Undo Paste menu item.

How to cut text

If you want to cut the text from the first position instead of copying it, and paste it somewhere else, start by selecting the text as shown above.

Hold down the command / ctrl key and tap on the X key. As shown below, the text that was selected will disappear from the document, but it will be held on the clipboard.

  • Move the cursor to the location that you want this text to be placed.
  • The new position is just before the word shop.
  • Click once to position the text insertion point.
  • Hold down the Command key and tap on the V key to paste the text.

If there are additional places in the document that you want to paste this text, this process can be repeated. Text will remain on the clipboard until some other text or image is copied or cut.

The most useful shortcuts to know are copy cut and paste. They are useful in almost every application and every operating system. To learn more about shortcuts, see our SDM blog post about browser shortcuts.

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