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Cut, Copy, Paste ...

Copy & Paste

Almost all Windows & Mac programs use the same techniques to Cut (Move), Copy and Paste files and folders from one location to another.

First, let me explain 3 different ways of doing Cut, Copy and Paste. Select (more on this below) what you want to move or copy, and ...

  • The left mouse click way:
    Go to 'Edit' at the very top of the program, and select 'Cut' or 'Copy' (they will be grayed out if nothing is selected), then go to the destination folder, then go to 'Edit' and select 'Paste'.
  • The right mouse click way:
    With your file(s) or folder(s) selected, right-click (on at least) a file or folder ( you'll get a pop-up menu), select 'Cut' or 'Copy' (they will be grayed out if nothing is selected), then go to the destination folder, then right-click and select 'Paste'. [Important: make sure you right-click on 1 of the selected items!]
  • The keyboard way:
    With your file(s) or folder(s) selected, hold the 'Ctrl' (Control) key and tap the 'X' key for 'Cut' or hold the 'Ctrl' key and tap the 'C' key for 'Copy', then go to the destination folder, hold the 'Ctrl' key and tap the 'V' key for Paste.

In Windows& Mac computer speak, Cut or Copy puts things on the clipboard; in layman's terms, they are held in memory. Only the last Cut or Copy is held in memory.

Once you have the practice, you may agree that the keyboard way is the fastest, especially if you mouse with the right hand. Below are some frequently used keyboard shortcuts:

.....................PC Keyboard Shortcuts......................
Select All Ctrl+A
Cut Ctrl+X
Copy Ctrl+C
Paste Ctrl+V
Undo Ctrl+Z
Save Ctrl+S
Print Ctrl+P
Explore Windows Key + E
Find Windows Key + F
Show Desktop Windows Key + D

................PC to Mac Keyboard Mappings................
PC Mac
Control Command (for most) or Control
Alt Option
Windows/Start Command/Apple
Backspace Delete
Delete Del
Shift Shift
Enter Return
Ctrl+Alt+Delete Esc+Option+Command


(The Windows Key is the one with the wavy flag logo, usually between the 'Ctrl' and 'Alt' keys)

You'll find these and other keyboard shortcuts to the right of the associated commands under File, Edit, View, etc., drop-down menus. The underlined letters means to use the 'Alt' plus letter key to access those. Experiment!

Selecting files and folders

What if you have a bunch of things to move or copy? To select everything in the open window, go to 'Edit' and 'Select All' or simply press 'Ctrl+A'.

Or click on the first item, hold the 'Shift' key, then click the last item and Presto! the first, last and all items in between are selected.

To individually select items, hold the 'Ctrl' key while selecting.

Okay, you selected a bunch, so you used one of the first 2 methods, but there's a few you don't want. Hold the 'Ctrl' and click to deselect the ones you don't want to select.

You'll find the above methods work on Word documents, e-mail messages, web sites, picture & music folders and more.

Sure, you can select by dragging your mouse, and sometimes it's quicker, but I find that method less precise. How many times have you clicked and dragged through paragraphs and paragraphs of text, then accidentally loose contact with the highlighted items and have to start over?

See also: CD Burning Secrets.

If you have any questions or comments, please don't hesitate to contact.

Charles Rogers Computer Services serves the Dahlonega and surrounding North Georgia areas.

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Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer
MCSE, MCP+Internet 
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