How to Cut, Copy, and Paste in Microsoft Office

Modify text using either keyboard shortcuts or your mouse

cutting and pasting

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When you work with text or objects in Microsoft Office programs, cut, copy, and paste to edit or move things around.

These instructions apply to all currently supported versions of Microsoft Office for the Windows desktop.

How to Cut, Copy, and Paste in Microsoft Office

Here's an explanation of each tool and how to use it, as well as some tips and tricks you may not be aware of.

  • Use the copy feature to duplicate items. First, click the object or highlight the text. Then select Home > Copy. Alternatively, use a keyboard shortcut (such as Ctrl+C in Windows) or right-click and select Copy. The original item remains, but now you can paste a copy elsewhere.

  • Use the cut feature to get rid of items. Using the cut function is different from using the delete or backspace key on your keyboard. Think of it as being temporarily saved as well as removed. In order to cut something, first click the object or highlight the text. Then select Home > Cut. Alternatively, use a keyboard shortcut (such as Ctrl+X in Windows) or right-click and select Cut. The original item is removed, but now you can paste it elsewhere.

  • Use the paste feature to place items you have copied or cut. Click the screen where you want to place the object or text. Then select Home > Paste. Alternatively, use a keyboard shortcut (such as Ctrl+V in Windows) or right-click and select Paste.

Additional Tips and Tricks

Highlight any block of text then press F2, which acts as both copy and paste. After pressing F2, place your cursor where you would like your text moved to, and press Enter.

Toward the side or bottom of the pasted item, a small Paste Options icon sometimes appears with options such as keeping formatting or keeping only text. Experiment with these options, as the results can make your projects that much easier by eliminating some of the formatting differences between two different source documents, for example.

Speed up your text selection. Use your mouse or trackpad to draw a large box around a group of text. Try holding down ALT as you draw the selection to make this process more precise. In some Microsoft Office programs, hold down CTRL then click anywhere in the paragraph or sentence to select the entire text. Or, triple-click to select an entire paragraph.