How to copy and paste with a keyboard shortcut

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To copy and paste text, files, folders, and other items on your computer, you don’t necessarily need a mouse or trackpad. You can use just the keyboard to copy and paste files on your Windows or Mac machine. We’ll show you how.

When you use your keyboard to copy and paste, your files are copied and pasted in the same way as if you were using a mouse or trackpad. This is because Windows, macOS, Linux, and ChromeOS all come equipped with the ability to manage files using just the keyboard.

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Copy and paste items without a mouse or trackpad

To get started, open the app or folder that contains the text or files you want to copy. We will copy some files in the following steps.

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Select the content you want to copy. You can do this using the arrow keys on your keyboard. To select a string of text, hold down the Shift key and then use the arrow keys to highlight your text.

If you want to select all the text or all the items in a folder, use Ctrl + A (Windows, Linux, or ChromeOS) or Command + A (Mac).

Copy files with the keyboard.

Now that you’ve selected the content to copy, go through the actual copying process by pressing Ctrl + C (Windows) or Command + C (Mac). Your system will not display a notification, but your items have been copied.

Advice: If you want to copy content and remove it from its original location, cut your content by pressing Ctrl + X (Windows) or Command + X (Mac).

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Now navigate to the location where you want to paste your content. If you want to paste text, make sure you access a text field. (You may need to use the Tab key to move between fields if you can’t use a mouse.) Similarly, to paste your files or folders, navigate to a folder.

Once you’re in the destination location, paste the copied items by pressing Ctrl + V (Windows) or Command + V (Mac). Your system will bring your copied items to their current location.

Paste files with the keyboard.

And that is.


While copying and pasting with a keyboard isn’t as convenient as a mouse, it is potentially faster and more efficient. In fact, there are many more useful keyboard shortcuts that can improve your speed and agility with a computer.

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