How to Copy & Paste Without a Mouse

Stop right-clicking and use your keyboard instead

What to Know

  • Shortcut to copy text: Ctrl+C (Windows) or Command+C (macOS).
  • Shortcut to paste text: Ctrl+V (Windows) or Command+(macOS).
  • Shortcut to cut text: Ctrl+X (Windows) or Command+X (macOS).

This article explains how to use keyboard shortcuts to copy, paste, and cut content on Windows or Mac computers. Most programs support the shortcuts included in this article, so you don't need to worry about learning other shortcuts for copying and pasting.

How to Copy and Paste With the Ctrl/Command Key

Follow these steps to copy and paste text or images in Windows and macOS.

  1. Highlight whatever you plan to copy.

    If the program doesn't let you use your mouse to highlight, select Ctrl+A on your keyboard to select all text, or Command+A if you're using a Mac.

  2. Long-press the Ctrl or Command key, and select the C key once. You've just copied the contents to the clipboard.

  3. Place your curser where you want to paste the copied content.

  4. Long-press the Ctrl or Command key, and select the V key once to paste the content.

Fingers typing on a keyboard with red backglow
Michael Smith/Getty Images New

How to Cut Content With the Ctrl/Command Key

The above steps are useful if you want to keep the original content and just make a copy elsewhere. For example, if you want to copy an email address from a website and paste it into your email program.

There's a totally different shortcut you can use to copy and paste and then automatically delete the original content, called cutting. This is useful when you're re-arranging paragraphs in an email and you want to remove the text or image and insert it elsewhere.

To cut text or images use the Ctrl+X shortcut in Windows or Command+X in macOS. The moment you select Ctrl/Command+X, the information disappears and is saved in the clipboard. To paste the contents, use the Ctrl/Command+V shortcut.

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