Cut & paste… Just like Kindergarten

Every once in a while, it’s good to get re-acquainted with The Basics, so this time we’re going to look at Cut, Copy, and Paste.

There are many places in the Windows operating system where you can cut, copy and paste, but I’m only going to look at the two most common: Folders and text.

Let’s say you have a folder full of pictures (although this works with any kind of files), and you want to move three of them to another folder. You can open both folders and drag them into the new folder one at a time… Or you can speed things up. If the files you want to move are all together, you can just hold the left mouse button and drag a “box” around the ones you want:

Files being selected with drag box

Files being selected with drag box

Highlighted files are selected.

Highlighted files are selected.

 

 

 

 

 

If the files are not next to each other, hold down the Control (Ctrl on most keyboards) key, and single-click each file you want, to highlight it. If you want to select all files in the folder, hold Ctrl and press the A key.

There are 3 (!) different ways to invoke the cut and paste commands, whether you’re doing it with files or text.

Menu bar

Menu bar

The first is with the Edit menu at the top of the window. Click Edit, then you’ll see Cut, Copy, Paste, plus some other options. This is the slowest and most cumbersome way, but at least the Edit menu is always there.

 

 

The Right-Click menu.

The Right-Click menu.

The second, faster, way is to use the right mouse button, and click on any part of your selected stuff. You’ll get a menu with all sorts of commands, which will vary depending on what software you have installed on your system, but at the bottom there will always be Cut, Copy, and Paste.

The third, fastest, way is to use keyboard shortcuts. Find that Ctrl key again, hold it down, then press the C key for Copy, the X key for Cut, and the V key for Paste. Why not P for Paste, you ask? That shortcut was already taken for Print, and it still works.

All of the above techniques also work for text, and there are a couple of neat ways to speed up text selection. Ctrl-A works here, too, for selecting the entire document. Dragging a box also works, but can be very cumbersome in a large document. There is a better way.

To select a single word, Double-Click it. To select a sentence or paragraph (depending on the program), Triple-Click it. Depending on the software you’re using, you may need a Quadruple-Click for paragraphs. The one constant is the more clicks, the more of the document you will select. The final, and possibly most useful shortcut is the Shift-Click for selecting very long sections. Just hold the Shift key, click once at the beginning of what you want to select, then hold the Shift key again and click once at the end of your choice. No more endless and slow scrolling! These tricks also work for web pages.

One more thing, just in case you’re confused: Cut means you are removing (Cutting) something from it’s original location, and Pasting it into a new location. Copy means the item is still in it’s original location, and you will paste a copy of it in the new location.

shouldnt_be_hard

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