How To Copy and Paste On a Mac

How to copy and paste on a Mac is one of the most asked Mac questions online. If you are new to Mac you may not know the keyboard shortcuts or how many places you can use copy and paste. In addition to the basics, this video also has 5 expert tips, such as using the Option key to copy and paste by dragging, viewing the contents of the clipboard, and how to use more than one clipboard at a time.

Comments: 17 Responses to “How To Copy and Paste On a Mac”

    Ian MacGregor
    6 months ago

    Excellent information! I didn’t know about the Control +K and Control+Y shortcuts until now. I wonder if those are holdovers from Linux/BSD (middle mouse button buffer). Is there a way to create a keyboard shortcut for “Show clipboard” in apps that don’t have this item in their Edit menu?

    6 months ago

    Ian: Yes, they are indeed hold-overs. The Show Clipboard command is only in the Finder.

    Mr. Luigi
    6 months ago

    Nice tips! There is an app called PopClip that accomplishes a lot of these functionalities and many more, with no need for memorizing shortcuts! I consider it my most valuable workflow application (with Yoink and CloudClip not far behind!)

    John
    6 months ago

    Where is the “Show Clipboard” command in the Finder? I do not see it anywhere. Thanks!

    6 months ago

    John: I show it right at 4:08. It is in the Edit menu. Make sure you are in Finder, and not another app.

    John
    6 months ago

    Thank you! Found it! Always read MacMost…always filled with very helpful info!! Thanks!

    pw
    6 months ago

    Hello,
    My iMac has 4 USER names. How does one “copy” in one USER (example:selection in Numbers application) then use top menu for USERS pull down, log in to another USER, then activate Numbers application (example) get curser to proper location in Numbers, then command-V???? Perhaps use your reco and buy a copy app, or, use dropbox? Or use “public folder??
    Thanks.

    6 months ago

    pw: You can’t copy and paste across accounts — to do so would be a major security flaw, if you think about it. So share the file any way you like: Public Folder, Shared account folder, external drive, iCloud file sharing, Dropbox, etc.

    John Carter
    6 months ago

    While in the Finder, if I want to move files from one place to another, I use Cmd-C to copy the selected files, then go to the other folder and use Cmd-Option-V to move the selected files. This is useful after downloading files that would go into my Downloads folder but would rather organize my stuff my moving those files to another folder. But you probably covered this in another tutorial, right?

    Nathan Williams
    6 months ago

    I have a problem coping text from one program to another. The text will mix together and or will not keep its format.
    When I paste it in Word. Can you help?

    6 months ago

    Nathan: So copying into Word is the issue, from … ??? which app? Does it happen with other apps? The other way? What is special about the text you are trying to copy?

    John Munro
    4 months ago

    I am running OS10.14.5 on my 2015 MacBook Pro. Option+Shift+Command+V does not work. I cannot find any way to paste without formatting from a web site to Excel for Mac.

    4 months ago

    John: It simply sounds like Excel doesn’t support that shortcut. Did you look in the Edit menu to see what happens when you use those modifiers and what else may be available? You could always paste into a TextEdit (plain text) document and then copy from there and paste into Excel.

    John
    4 months ago

    Gary it was all fine on Excel till Mojave (or maybe Sierra-can’t remember) came along then paste without formatting disappeared. As I use this function several times 7 days a week using text edit would be a pain in the proverbial!

    4 months ago

    John: Trying it out in Excel now and I see it working as expected. Microsoft’s apps don’t use the same menu choices as Apple and other apps do. I see Edit, Paste Special. Using that I can paste without formatting. I think it has always worked that way in Excel. Mac and Windows.

    John
    4 months ago

    Thanks Gary. I assume that you are using Edit>Paste special>Values. It is those 3 steps I am trying to avoid. As I need to do this some 30-40 times a day that is 90 to 120 key clicks each day. 30,000 a year!! Must be a way. As I said it used to work fine with a preset of Paste without formatting.

    4 months ago

    John: Seems to be a missing feature in Excel. It would have nothing to do with macOS, as Excel clearly isn’t using system functions. So much have changed with an Excel update. There is a Paste, Match Destination Formatting option in the Home toolbar. But it is missing from keyboard customizations for some reason.

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