How to Copy & Paste With a Mac OSX

By David Wayne

Almost any text you see on your computer screen can be copied and pasted with simple keyboard shortcuts in Mac OS X. The only text you won't be able to copy and paste is text you can't select by dragging the mouse over it, such as the text in a JPEG image or the graphics from a website. Any image that you can select with your mouse can be copied to your clipboard. Once the text or image is in your clipboard, you can paste it into any other program on your Mac.

Step 1

Click and drag the cursor over the text you want to copy. Text from PDF documents can be slightly trickier to select with the mouse. You'll know you're reading a PDF document if your Mac opened it with Preview or Adobe Reader. If you're having trouble selecting all the letters of your text, try selecting from right to left.

Step 2

Press and hold the "Command" key at the bottom of the keyboard and press "C" to copy the text. Alternatively, you can right-click the selection and click "Copy." If you're using a one-button mouse, holding down "Control" while clicking works the same as right-clicking.

Step 3

Click where you want to paste your selection. Ensure that the cursor is blinking where you want your text to go before trying to paste it there. Press and hold "Command," and press "V" to paste. Alternatively, right-click and choose "Paste."

Step 4

Select an image from the Internet by right-clicking and choosing "Copy Image." Paste the image by pressing "Command-V" after moving the cursor where you want the image to go.

Step 5

Select all the text and images on a page or document by pressing "Command-A." You'll need to bring the application to the top of your desktop by clicking it first, either in the dock or on the desktop. Pressing "Command-A" will select everything in the top page of your working application, including the ads on a website.

Tips & Warnings

  • Using the keyboard shortcuts as opposed to right-clicking with the mouse is a convenient way to ensure that you save your work frequently. Immediately after pressing "Command-V" to paste text into your document, save your work by moving your fingers to "Command-S."