There are a few different ways to copy and paste on Mac – here are all the main ones you’ll need to know…
If you’re coming from Windows, learning to copy and paste on Mac is ever so slightly different. Mac computers use different short-cut keyboard commands and this often trips up new users. But don’t fret, it is actually really easy to copy and paste on a Mac.
There are a few different types of copy and paste available on Mac. You have the basic copy and paste function that you can do with a keyboard command or your mouse as well as some more exotic copy and paste options which we’ll get into a bit later. First, let’s take care of the basics…
How To Copy And Paste on Mac
Mac Keyboard Command For Copy and Paste
For basic text copying, all you need to do is highlight the text you want to copy with your mouse and then press COMMAND + C – FYI, the COMMAND key has this symbol: ⌘. When you’ve copied the text, you then need to open a document where you want to place it and hit (COMMAND) ⌘ + V – this will paste the copied text into its new position.
Simple, right? Just two commands: ⌘ + C and ⌘ + V – not too hard to remember.
If you’re using Pages and you want to keep the copied text – i.e. formatting – the same as the font you’re currently using, just add the copied text to an existent paragraph and it will be pasted with the same font and sizing. If you add the copied text as a new paragraph, the pasted text will use its source’s font and sizing (formatting) which will be different from your current one.
If you don’t want to do this, you can copy and paste on Mac without formatting. We’ll explore how this is done below in more detail.
Copy And Paste on Mac Without Formatting
Alternatively, there is an option inside macOS to copy and paste text without formatting. This method requires an additional key in the keyboard command, as you can see here: Command + Option/Alt + Shift + V.
That is quite a long-winded keyboard command. I seldom use it in my day-to-day life; it’s just so tricky to key in on the keyboard. Instead, I just paste my copied text onto an existing paragraph and then move it down to a new paragraph – this ensures the pasted text inherits MY formatting and not the source document’s formatting.
Using Mouse To Copy and Paste on Mac
As with Windows, you can use your mouse to copy and paste on Mac. It works in essentially the same way too: select/highlight the text you want to copy with your mouse’s cursor > right-click on your mouse and select COPY > and then right-click again to PASTE the copied text into its new position and/or document.
Is it quicker to use the mouse to copy and paste? It depends. Personally, I find it quickest to use the ⌘ + C and ⌘ + V method to copy and paste stuff. You might prefer using the mouse. Try both methods and see which you like best – everybody is different. If you’re on a MacBook and you don’t use a mouse, you’re probably better off just using the ⌘ + C and ⌘ + V method anyway.
The REALLY Long-Winded Way To Copy and Paste on Mac
If you want to REALLY take your time when copying and pasting on Mac, you can use the application’s menu bar to copy and paste too. Inside any application, go to select something you want to copy > go to EDIT in the toolbar > Select COPY > and then, once you’ve found a place to paste it, select PASTE from the same menu.
This approach is the longest and least useful way to copy and paste on a Mac, so I wouldn’t even bother trying it. You have to move the mouse loads, access toolbar menus, and it just isn’t worth it. For speed, you’re far better off using the built-in keyboard command ⌘ + C and ⌘ + V or the right-click function on your mouse.
How To Copy And Paste WITHOUT A Mouse
Do you need a mouse to copy and paste on Mac? No, but it definitely makes it easier. But what if your mouse has died? How do you copy and paste then? As with most things in life, Apple has thought about this and there is a way to copy and paste without a mouse on Mac.
You will need a keyboard, however – this is a must.
If your mouse isn’t working, you can use your keyboard’s arrow keys to navigate around a document, say a Pages file. Find the location or text that you want to copy, then hold down SHIFT and use the mouse arrow keys to highlight the text you want to copy. When the desired text is copied hit ⌘ + C to copy it and then ⌘ + V to paste it, again, use your arrow keys to find a position in the document to paste it.
This method is, of course, way more drawn out than using your mouse and your keyboard – or the trackpad if you’re on a MacBook. But it is there if you need it and it is a handy thing to know if you’re mouse dies unexpectedly. You can even switch between applications using this keyboard shortcut: COMMAND + TAB, so you could, for instance, go to Chrome, copy some text, and then go to Pages and paste it. All without your mouse and/or trackpad.
For more Mac user guides and tips and tricks, be sure you check out our Apple Mac Resource Center – it has everything you need to know about getting started with Apple Mac computers!
Also, check out What We Know About Apple’s Hardware Subscription Service!
Richard Goodwin has been working as a tech journalist for over 10 years. He is the editor and owner of KnowYourMobile.
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