OS X Shortcuts for Cutting Copying and Pasting

Here are some great OS X shortcuts for cutting, copying and pasting text.

When copying or pasting text, most people select the text and then use the Edit menu and choose the Copy command or the Cut command. Then they move their cursor to the new place they want to place the text and again use the Edit menu to find Paste. You don’t have to do it that way. Let me show you some tips for turbocharging your Cut, Copy and Paste in some OS X apps.

These don’t work in every app. For example, a couple of these tips don’t work in Safari. They do work in the Text Edit program or in Microsoft Office applications.

The Basics

If you’re even a bit experienced in using OS X, then you can probably skip to the next section because this is for beginners.

These work in nearly all OS X applications. Instead of using the application’s Edit menu each time, try the toolbar buttons or use the right-click menu. Some apps have a button for cutting, copying and pasting on the toolbar, like Microsoft Word 2011 for Mac does (see below).

Word Toolbar

Click the scissor button to cut text. The button next to it copies text. The button with the clipboard behind the image of a document performs the paste function, but you knew this. You might not know about the right-click menu.

On a trackpad, click or tap with two fingers after selecting the text you want to cut or copy. If that doesn’t work you may need to set it up in Settings. Choose the Trackpad applet and then click the Point & Click tab. Put a check mark in Secondary Click to enable the two finger right-click. Now you can tap or click the trackpad with two fingers to bring up the right-click menu. If you don’t want to do this, then use the Control + Click combo.

Right Click

The right-click menu pops up with the Cut or Copy commands at the top. You will also see that there are keyboard shortcuts. Command + X cuts the text. Command + C copies it. Cut will remove the text so you can place it in a new place, a new document or a different app. Copy leaves the text behind but lets you place a copy in the new place. Pasting is placing it in the new place. Use the edit menu, the brush button on the toolbar or the Paste command on the right-click menu. The keyboard shortcut for pasting is Command + V.

Selecting Non-contiguous Text

Let’s say you want to copy a sentence from three different paragraphs or maybe certain words in multiple sentences. You can just Copy and Paste over and over, but that gets monotonous if you have a bunch of text to copy. Instead use the Command + Select combo. You hold down the Command button while you select the text with your mouse or trackpad. Select the various sentences, phrases or words that you wish to copy or cut. After you select the text, then copy/cut the text and paste it wherever you wish.

Command select

You can use this to select words you wish to look up and create definitions for a study session. You can also cut sentences to make a study sheet. There are plenty of uses.

Select Contiguous Text

Shift select

Selecting contiguous text by using the Shift key held down while dragging to select the text. You can also use the keyboard arrow keys. To select a whole line place the cursor before the text on the line and use Shift + Command + Right Arrow. Select text before your insertion point using the Left Arrow.

Select a Block of Text

It is possible that you want to select a block of text in the middle of a paragraph (see the image below).

Box selection

To do this, hold down the Option key and the select the box of text with your mouse or trackpad. You might want to do this to quickly grab a bunch of random text from a document in Word. This doesn’t work in Safari for some reason.

Source: Cult of Mac

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