How to Copy and Paste on Mac

Copy and pasting elements is an essential skill set for all Mac users. This guide shows you how to copy and paste using your trackpad or mouse, as well as using shortcuts on your Mac’s keyboard.

Elements you can copy and paste include text, images, and folders or files.

Note: throughout this guide, you can use the Cut option instead of Copy. Doing so will copy the selected items to your clipboard while also deleting the original items.

How to copy and paste with your trackpad or mouse

Text

  1. Select the text you want to copy.
    • If you have a Force Touch trackpad, apply force to click, hold on the first part of the text, and drag to highlight the rest of the text you want to copy.
    • Using a mouse, left-click on the first part of the text, and drag until you’ve highlighted all the text you want to put on your clipboard.
How to select text on Mac
Left-click on the first part of the text you want to copy.
How to highlight text on Mac
While holding left-click, drag to highlight the text you want to copy. You can highlight text going left or right.
  1. After highlighting all the text, right-click on the highlighted area and select Copy
    • On a Force Touch trackpad, tap two fingers on the trackpad to right-click on the highlighted area. Once the menu opens, click Copy
    • Using a mouse, right-click on the highlighted text to show the menu and select Copy
Mac right-click menu
Right-click on the highlighted text to open the menu, then click “Copy.”
  1. Right-click on the area where you want to paste the text you copied and click Paste
    • On a Force Touch trackpad, tap two fingers on the trackpad to right-click on the highlighted area. Once the menu opens, select Paste
    • Using a mouse, right-click on the highlighted text to show the menu and select Paste
How to paste text on Mac
Right-click on the area where you want to paste the text you copied to show the menu, then click “Paste.”
  1. The text you pasted should appear in the area you right-clicked on.
Pasted text
The pasted text should be where you right-clicked or where your text cursor was.

Image

  1. Right-click on the image you want to copy and click Copy
    • On a Force Touch trackpad, tap two fingers on the trackpad to right-click the image. Once the menu opens, click Copy
    • Using a mouse, right-click on the image to show the menu and select Copy
How to copy an image on Mac
Right-click on the image you want to copy to show the menu, then click “Copy.”
  1. Right-click on the area where you want to paste the image you copied and select Paste
    • On a Force Touch trackpad, tap two fingers on the trackpad to right-click on the highlighted area. Once the menu opens, click Paste
    • On a mouse, right-click on the highlighted text to show the menu and select Paste
Pasting an image on Mac
Bring your text cursor where you want to paste the image and right-click. From the menu, click “Paste.”
  1. The pasted image should be placed where your text cursor was.
Pasted image on Mac
The image should be pasted where your text cursor was or below it.

How to copy and paste with your Mac’s keyboard

Text

  1. Select the text you want to copy. Your text cursor should be at the first or last character of the text group you want to copy.
  2. To highlight the text, press Shift and any of the arrow keys that go in the direction of the text you want to highlight.
  3. Once all the text you want to copy is highlighted, press Command + C to copy or Command + X to cut.
Highlighted text
Press the Shift + any arrow key that goes in the direction of the text you want to copy, and press Command + C or Command + X.
  1. Bring your cursor to the area where you want to paste the copied text and press Command + V.
Pasting text on Mac
Press Control + V to paste the copied text to the area where your text cursor was located.

Image

  1. Place your text cursor next to the image and press Shift and an arrow key in its direction. It only takes a single arrow keypress to highlight one image.
  2. Once the image is highlighted, press Command + C to copy or Command + X to cut the image.
How to copy an image using keyboard shortcuts
Highlight the image using the Shift + any arrow key going where the image is, and press Control + C or Command X.
  1. Place your text cursor where you want to paste the image and press Command + V.
  2. The image should be pasted where your text cursor was or below it.
Pasting an image using eyboard shortcuts
Place your text cursor where you want to paste the image and press Control V. The image should be right next to where your text cursor is or under it.

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