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How to print this page

 

How to Cut, Copy and Paste

Modified 10-20-05 to add info about the clipboard at the bottom.
Modified 7-5-16 to add info about Snippit

In 2016 this method still works. However Windows 10 has added a new feature called Snipping Tool. This allows you to drag a box around any part of the window and save, copy or print it.
Here is the Microsoft page that describes what it is and how to use it. If you search on line you will find other discussions.

One of the most useful tools that any user can learn to do is Cut/Copy/Paste. Many know the basics of it, but lack the understanding to use it effectively. This section will describe it's use in many aspects and ways to use it quickly and easily using shortcuts.

The areas of coverage will include;

Copying from the Internet
Working with text in a Wordprocessor or E-mail

Using it in E-mail to eliminate the headings in forwarding to others and for printing just the message without all those headers.
Copying a window or error message for keeping records.
Using this process to copy or move files.

Lets start with some definitions:

Cut means to remove an item from one location to be placed in another location. Only one copy exists after the completed process.

Copy means leaving the original in it's location and placing a copy in another location. The end result is 2 copies.

Paste means placing an item in a new location.

Description of the basic process:

All Cut/Copy operations follow 4 steps: (One exception: Click here for instructions on copying screen shots)

1. Select the material to cut or copy (Highlight it)
2. Mark the item for Cut or Copy (Use the Edit menu, Icon in toolbar or keyboard shortcut)
3. Place a marker (usually the blinking insert point cursor) in the new location to place the item.
4. Paste (Edit menu, Icon or keyboard shortcut)

Now the trick is to learn to use it effectively to your advantage.

First of all, look at the Edit menu in any program & note the selections of Cut, Copy & Paste as shown in the figure below.

Note in the figure at the left that only Copy is highlighted.

Cut & paste are greyed out because they are not currently available.

Copy is dark here because I highlighted some text.

After you click Copy, then Paste will be dark.

Note also the keyboard commands listed on the right for each operation.

 

Barrettism

If something has been typed once (or created) it does not need to be typed (or created) again providing you have access to it.

Lets use the Internet as an example. Suppose you are doing research on Tarantulas. You search the web for articles on Tarantulas. (I just copied the word Tarantulas). When you find data that you want in your report, just use this method to add it to your article.

Lets use the Internet as an example. Suppose you are doing research on Tarantulas. You search the web for articles on Tarantulas. (I just copied the word Tarantulas). When you find data that you want in your report, just use this method to add it to your article.
( I just copied the paragraph in case you didn't get it the first time. Get the point?

Tip: Don't try to Cut from the web. You can't do it. Only Copy works.

Next let's see how it can be effective in wordprocessing. Suppose you are typing a letter at the end of the year and you have 6 paragraphs of information about what happened all year. Then you realize that one paragraph would make more sense if it was moved up between two other paragraphs. Use the Cut/Paste method to move it.

Another wordprocessing use. Suppose you complete one document. Then you start another document and decide you want one of the paragraphs that you already typed in the previous document. This time, use Copy/Paste to copy the data from one document to another.

If you understand this concept, you can probably see many uses for it including e-mail.

Next lets see how we use it in E-mail to eliminate the headings in forwarding to others and for printing just the message without all those headers. (Guess how much of the previous sentence was copied from the top of this page?)

Suppose you receive an e-mail with a nice joke you want to pass on to others on your mailing list. You know if you forward it, it will contain even more junk than when you received it. Rather than using Forward, start a new message and use Copy/Paste to place just the joke in the new message.

Another Barrettism

Forwarding is backwarding

This same idea works for printing an e-mail with all the junk in the header and footer. (AOL is the worst) Instead of starting a new e-mail, start a new document in your wordprocessor and copy/paste to it and print from there. The main objection here is that many times the copy process carries some junk like >>>>> arrows in front of each line. You can go through the document and eliminate them or you can install a small program to do the reformatting for you. You can click here to download the program. They have some other neat Utilities also. Also see my other page on Special Utilities for some screen shots and other download options.

Next, you could also make a new e-mail addressed to yourself, copy the wanted material and send it back to yourself.

One very useful task that can be applied to using copy/paste is a special variation of it. In Windows, touching Print Screen doesn't Print Screen. It puts a copy of the window in the clipboard. The entire window. From there it can be pasted into any program and saved or printed.

Copying the entire window makes a large picture. Many times all that is wanted is just the active window as defined by the active title bar or the active button on the Taskbar. To copy just the active window, use Alt-Print Screen.

Where this becomes very useful is copying an error message, assuming the computer is not locked up. I use this method to insert the graphics in these web pages. I copy the example window using Alt-Print Screen, open a graphics program like Paint Shop Pro, Paste the image and save it for inserting in the web page.

Here's an example of that process: I just resized this window, did an Alt-Print Screen, placed it into PSP, saved it, and Inserted it here:

Notice that the Home button above is not clickable. It is just a picture. I used PSP to add the text.

The last process I'll describe here is using Cut/Copy/Paste to manipulate files.

In Windows Explorer, you can use the Cut/Copy/Paste function to move or copy files. Some people use the drag and drop method, but it is easy to make a mistake while dragging. A more positive way to move or copy a file or group of files is to follow the 4 step process described above.

One factor about this process is where the material is held when you cut or copy it before you paste it. It is held in a special area of windows called the clipboard. The most important thing to know about the clipboard is that if you turn off the computer, the clipboard is emptied. So if you "Cut" something & don't "Paste" it right away, then restart the computer, you will lose it. For more information about the clipboard, click here.

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