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Copying and Moving Text

This month we are going to look at a subject that you probably think you know well enough, but with the holidays and the hot weather we didn't want to be too taxing, and most people can improve their copy and paste techniques, especially when you need to change settings in a dialog box.

So pour yourself a long, cool drink and see if there is something new for you.



The most convenient way of moving text is to drag it to it's new position.

Highlight the text you want to move, and then use the mouse to drag it to its new position. In a text editor like Word or Outlook, you can point at any part of the highlight to drag it, but the tricky part is dropping it correctly - As you drag, a grey, upright cursor moves to show where the text will go. The grey box by the mouse does NOT indicate the location - look for the single, vertical cursor instead.

In Excel you have to point at the edge of the highlighted cells, to drag them to another location.

Cut and Paste

Most people use either the Edit menu, or the buttons to give these command but you can also:

Click the right mouse button.

To use the right mouse button to Cut (or Copy), highlight the text first and then point at it with the mouse and click the right mouse button. The shortcut menu that pops up will have the Cut and Copy commands available.

Use the keyboard (CTRL+X)

To use the keyboard, highlight the text and hold down the CTRL key while pressing X. This gives the Cut command. CTRL+C gives the Copy command.

To Paste with the keyboard, use CTRL+V.


Copy and Paste

Almost the same as Cut and Paste except you use the Copy command.

Using the keyboard you need to use CTRL+C.


You can copy text by dragging, if you hold down the CTRL key while you release the mouse button to drop the text. You can tell it will copy because there will be a + sign next to the mouse-pointer. Remember to release the mouse before the CTRL key.

Moving/Copying in Dialog Boxes

Do you ever type things in the wrong box, or need to copy something from one box to another?

If you can highlight the text you can always cut/copy and paste it using the keyboard (and usually the right-mouse-button too), so don't let the lack of menus or buttons stop you moving or copying entries in a dialog box.


CTRL+C = Copy (tip to remember: C = Copy)

CTRL+X = Cut (tip to remember: the cross removes it)

CTRL+V = Paste (tip to remember: X,C and V are together on the keyboard, or V is like the tip of a pen!)

The Clipboard and Scraps

The clipboard is an area of the computer that remembers what you have just Copied or Cut. A scrap is the piece of your document that you have just put on the Clipboard.

This means you can repeat the Paste command to paste the scrap into your document again and again.

If you have Office 2000 or Office XP, the Clipboard can hold several scraps (12 and 24 respectively), and it automatically pops onto the screen when you have copied two different scraps without pasting them. You can then cut or copy several scraps onto the clipboard in any order you like.

To Paste from the Clipboard, simply position the cursor where you want the scrap to go and then click the scrap on the clipboard, and it will be Pasted in.


To display the Clipboard: give the copy command twice in succession.

To Paste from the Clipboard: click the scrap.

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