Some windows you open on your computer may not support the right-click context menu. This means that when you try to right-click, not only does no menu appear, but you are left wondering if you can copy or paste the text or image.
Fortunately, most programs support keyboard shortcuts for copying and pasting, so you can perform these actions without the need for an on-screen menu. The good thing is that almost all programs all come with these shortcuts built in, so you don’t have to worry about learning anything more than this.
What’s more, there is another shortcut that can not only copy and paste, but even delete the original content in a single shortcut.
How to copy and paste with the Ctrl/Command key
- Copy: Ctrl+C (Windows) or Command+C (Mac)
- Paste: Ctrl+V (Windows) or Command+V (Mac)
- Cut: Ctrl+X (Windows) or Command+X (Mac)
Follow these steps if you need a little more help:
- Highlight what you plan to copy.
If the program doesn’t let you use the mouse, try pressing Ctrl+A on your keyboard to select all the text, or Command+A if you’re using a Mac.
- Press the Ctrl key and keep it pressed. While you’re at it, press the letter C once, and then release the Ctrl key. You just copied the content to the clipboard.
- To paste, hold down the Ctrl or Command key again but this time press the letter V once. Ctrl+V and Command+V is the way to paste without a mouse.
The above steps are useful if you want to keep the original content and make a copy somewhere else. 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 in a circumstance like when you are rearranging paragraphs in an email and want to delete the text to put it somewhere else.
To cut something is as simple as using the shortcut Ctrl+X on Windows or Command+X on macOS. The moment you press Ctrl/Command+X, the information disappears and is saved to the clipboard. To paste the content, just use the paste shortcut key mentioned above (the Ctrl or Command key and the letter V).
Some programs let you do a bit more with copy/paste by combining the keyboard shortcut Ctrl , but you’ll also need the mouse. For example, in the Windows Chrome web browser, you can hold down the Ctrl key while right-clicking to choose Paste as Plain Text , which will paste the contents of the clipboard without any formatting.