How to Copy & Paste for Dummies

By Jacqui Lane

The computer terms "copy" and "paste" mean almost exactly what they sound like. When you copy something, such as a block of text or a computer file, you can select where you want to place the copy; this action is called pasting. The data you copied remains in its original place, but you now have two copies. You can use copy and paste to easily make backup copies of your files or manipulate text.

Step 1

Highlight the item you want to copy by clicking on it. If you want to copy text or multiple files, hold down the left mouse button and drag the cursor over the section you want to copy.

Step 2

Right-click the highlighted item and select "Copy" from the context menu that appears.

Step 3

Open the folder or document to which you want to paste the text or files. Right-click and select "Paste" to paste the file or text you just copied.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can also copy and paste using keyboard shortcuts. Press "Ctrl" and "C" to copy and "Ctrl" and "V" to paste.
  • If you're using a Mac, press "Command" and "C" to copy and "Command" and "V" to paste.
  • Some programs have a copy and paste option built into the menu -- look for the commands in the "Edit" menu in most programs, or the "Organize" menu if you're copying and pasting within a Windows 7 folder.

References & Resources