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How to Copy, Cut, and Paste on a Mac

Using the Cut, Copy, and Paste commands, can help you duplicate and move content on your Mac. Master this functions simply by reading this guide.


Mac’s now feature Cut, Copy, and Past of file on Mac OS X desktop and Finder. This Cut, Copy and Paste ability behaves much like the Windows explorer counterpart, and it represents a fast and efficient way to move and relocate files from one location to another location without using the standard drag & drop approach that has been standard on the Mac since the origins of the OS.

Using the Cut, Copy, and Paste commands, can help you duplicate and move content on your Mac. By learning these commands, you can dramatically increase your productivity. Here’s how to cut, copy, and paste content, files, and more on your Mac.

These instructions were created for macOS Catalina (10.15) but apply to most earlier versions of macOS and Mac OS X. Some older versions of the operating system may have a slightly different menu or dialog box names.

Using the Cut, Copy, and Paste file feature can be tricky, but it’s not complicated. It would help if you learned to differentiate the keystrokes that make the action happen. First, let’s cover exactly how to cut and paste to move files and folders around the Mac.

How to Cut, Copy, and Paste Using a Mouse or Trackpad

If you’re using a mouse or trackpad, move your cursor to the beginning of the text you want to copy. Then, click and hold while dragging the cursor and the content you want to copy.

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How to Cut, Copy, and Paste Using Keyboard

Move your cursor to the beginning of the text you want to copy if you’re using your keyboard. Then, press and hold Shift utilizing the arrow keys to select the content you want to copy.

You will see a colored box around the selected content.

Other keyboard shortcuts are especially helpful with the Copy and Paste commands:

Use Command+A to Select all text within the current view, based on your selection or cursor position. The Select All command is helpful when you need to copy an entire document.

Use the Command+Z to Undo command to undo the last action, such as when you paste the text incorrectly.

How to copy on Mac

Method To copy the highlighted text using the keyboard.

  • Press Command+C.
  • From the menu bar, select Edit > Copy.

Method To cut the text using the keyboard.

  • Press Command+X.
  • From the menu bar, select Edit > Cut.

To paste the text, you just copied or cut, place the cursor in an editable area, like a text box or a document, and use one of the following methods:

Here’s How to Cut, Copy, or Paste content with an Image

If an image is included in your selected content, it can be copied using this technique. First, press Control, select the image and copy Image from the context menu. The image is now on your clipboard, and you can paste it using the steps provided in the previous section into any field that accepts images. The process is the same in a document, although you can cut and copy pictures in documents.

You can also copy the URL can also be copied from the image by hovering the cursor over the image, pressing Control, and then selecting Copy Image Address from the context menu.

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How to Copy, Cut, and Paste Files and Folders

Files and Folders can be Cut; Copy and Paste can also be done in macOS the same way you cut, copy, and paste text and images. However, macOS provides a unique way of reproducing files and folders in Finder called Duplicate.

The Duplicate command is to copy the selected File or Folder in the same folder as the original. If you want to create copies in another location in Finder, you must use the Copy command.

How to copy a Mac

To duplicate files within Finder, complete the following steps:

First, select one or more folders or files.

Next, press Control, select the highlighted elements, and select Duplicate from the context menu. (You can also duplicate the item by selecting File > Duplicate on the menu bar or pressing Command+D.)

For faster copying, press and hold Option and drag the file to a new location. This command automatically duplicates the file, even in the same folder.

Suppose you want to move the selected file or folder instead of duplicating it. Press Command+Option+V. When they’re pasted to the new location, this command deletes the files from their original location.

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