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How to copy and paste on a Mac

Copying and pasting on a Mac will seem familiar if you're a Windows user, but there are a few twists.
By
March 5, 2021
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If you’ve just switched to a Mac after spending years with Windows, learning to copy and paste can seem a bit daunting — how do you do it when the shortcuts and menus are often different?

Thankfully, it’s not as much of a leap as it might seem. Windows’ commands frequently have close parallels on macOS, and there’s more than one way to get the job done. We’ll show you how to copy and paste on a Mac with both keyboard shortcuts and the on-screen interface.

How to copy and paste on a Mac using shortcuts

apple magic keyboard command key copy paste mac
Jon Fingas / Android Authority

The fastest way to copy and paste on a Mac involves keyboard shortcuts. The differences from Windows are very small here — you just have to remember one different key. After that, it should quickly become second nature.

  1. Click and drag the mouse to select the text, media, or files you want to copy. They should be highlighted.
  2. Press Command and C at the same time (Command-C for short) to copy. The Edit menu at the upper left should briefly flash to confirm the command.
  3. Navigate to the place where you want to paste the content, such as a text position, text box, or folder.
  4. Press Command and V at the same time (Command-V) to paste.
  5. If you hold Shift while you press Command-V, macOS will match the style when applicable.

See also: Want an Apple laptop? Here are the best you can buy right now

How to copy and paste on a Mac using the menu bar

how to copy and paste mac menu item
Jon Fingas / Android Authority

If you’re not fond of shortcuts or just don’t have easy access to a keyboard, don’t worry. Here’s how you can copy and paste on a Mac using only menu items.

  1. While using the app you want to copy content from, click and drag the mouse to select the text, media, or files you want. They should be highlighted.
  2. Click the Edit menu in the upper left and select Copy.
  3. Navigate to the place where you want to paste the content, such as a text position, text box, or folder. It can be in a different app or the Finder.
  4. Click the Edit menu again and select Paste.
  5. You can also choose Paste and Match Style when applicable.

See also: From PCs to Macs and Chromebooks: The best laptops for students

How to copy and paste on a Mac using a right-click

how to copy and paste on mac right click
Jon Fingas / Android Authority

Just like on Windows, you can also use a right-click to copy and paste on a Mac. It’s particularly helpful if you’re copying files on your computer, an image on a website, or other content where shortcuts and the menu bar are impractical. It will again seem familiar if you’re used to Windows, although it can vary.

  1. If selecting a single image or file, click on the item with the right mouse button. You can alternately hold the Control key down while clicking the left button.
  2. If selecting text or multiple items, click and drag as usual (with the left button) to select them, and right-click on what you’ve selected.
  3. A shortcut menu should appear. Left-click to select Copy; it may be a variant, such as Copy “[file name].”
  4. Navigate to the place where you want to paste the content, such as a text position, text box, or folder.
  5. Right-click in the place where you want to paste the content and choose Paste or Paste Item.