How To Do Cut and Paste

Cut and Paste is for moving things around. This could be a sentence or paragraph in a letter you've typed, it could be something in an e-mail you are typing, or it could be some numbers in a program for doing calculations. You can even Cut and Paste pieces of a picture in a paint or drawing program.

In some programs, there are some extra short-cuts (and some special buttons for this), but they are not in all programs. These instructions are for programs that have "Cut" and "Paste" buttons on their toolbar (if you don't know what a "toolbar" is, see the beginning of this article: "Toolbar Button Help Tags"). If the program you are using does not have these buttons, see the next instructions, below. To Cut and Paste (move) something:

  1. First, highlight what you want to cut out. (If you don't know how to do this, see "Highlighting With The Keyboard or The Mouse - For Erasing More Stuff," for detailed instructions on highlighting).

  2. Click on the Cut button (near the top of the screen), to cut out what is highlighted, and put it on the "Clipboard."

  3. Move your cursor to "where" you want to paste your stuff in. This is the flashing "text" cursor, not the mouse cursor. Tip: The most accurate way to position the cursor, is with the arrow keys on the keyboard, especially for beginners.

  4. Click on the Paste button (with a tiny clipboard on it). The Paste command will paste a copy of what is on the "Clipboard," where the flashing cursor is.

If you have never done Cut and Paste before, and the above instructions are working for you, do NOT do the next instructions until you have the above instructions completely memorized.

If your program does NOT have the Cut and Paste buttons, use these instructions. These instructions below will work in virtually every program that allows you to Cut & Paste text around. Try this in a practice document:

  1. First, highlight what you want to cut out. (If you don't know how to do this, see "Highlighting With The Keyboard or The Mouse - For Erasing More Stuff," for detailed instructions on highlighting.

  2. Then click on "Edit, Cut." To do this, click on Edit to bring the Edit menu down, and then click on the Cut command, to cut out what is highlighted, and put it on the "Clipboard."

  3. Move your cursor to "where" you want to paste your stuff in. This is the flashing "text" cursor, not the mouse cursor. Tip: The most accurate way to position the cursor, is with the arrow keys on the keyboard, especially for beginners.

  4. Click on "Edit, Paste." To do this, again, click on Edit to bring the Edit menu down, and then click on the Paste command. The Paste command will paste a copy of what is on the "Clipboard," where the flashing cursor is.

Remember that it takes most people a fair bit of practice to get all these steps memorized. Make a "practice" document, and practice cutting and pasting lots of stuff around, till you get good at it. Also remember, to practice everyday for several days in a row to help you remember it longer.

Again, in many programs there is a "Cut" button (near the top of the screen), and there is a "Paste" button (with a tiny clipboard on it). These work the same as clicking on "Edit, Cut" and "Edit, Paste," but these buttons are not in all programs. Usually a program without these nice Cut and Paste buttons, will have Cut and Paste commands in the Edit menu, and you can use the second set of instructions above.

If the program you are using has these Cut and Paste buttons, it is much easier to learn Cut and Paste using these buttons.

Extra Tip: When you cut something out, paste it back in immediately. Do not leave it on the "Clipboard." If you try to cut out a second thing, it will REPLACE the first thing, and you will lose it. Also, the "Clipboard" is in the electronic memory, so it is erased when you turn the computer off. So when you cut something out, paste it back in right away. Do not do something else between the cut and the paste commands.

Second Extra Tip: Once you know how to do this well, you may want to read "Cut & Paste Keyboard Shortcuts" to improve your skills even further.

Written by Jim McGinn
Copyright 2002, McGinnovation Inc.

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