How to Copy and Paste on Windows 11

Copy and pasting files, text, or other data is one of the most basic and frequently used tasks on Windows computers. It allows you to easily and quickly duplicate something on your system. This can be useful if you want more than one copy or a backup of specific data. Or perhaps you want to copy text from one place to another.

Although the process is straightforward, many users were confused by the new Windows 11 text menu since the Copy and Paste function is not as readily available.

This guide will show you how to copy and paste on Windows 11.

Using Keyboard Shortcuts (Ctrl + C > Ctrl + V)

A keyboard shortcut is the fastest way to copy and paste in Windows 11.

  1. Left-click on the file (or highlight the text) you want to copy to select it.
  2. Press and hold the Ctrl key on your keyboard and then press the C key. This will copy your selection to your clipboard.
  3. Left-click on the location you want to paste the file (or text) and press and hold the Ctrl key again, but press the V key. Your selected file will now be pasted to the destination location.

    Copy and paste key shortcut.
    Copy and paste key shortcut (source: alamy).

Using the Context Menu

The context menu in Windows 11 differs from those in earlier versions of the operating system. The Copy and Paste options, for example, are not as we’re used to seeing them. They’re instead shown in symbols rather than words.

  1. Right-click on the selected file you want to copy. A context menu will pop up.

    Windows 11 context menu.
    Windows 11 context menu.
  2. In the upper portion of the context menu, you’ll see a symbol that looks like two overlapping pages. This is the Copy option – click on it to select it.

    Click the two overlapping pages symbol.
    Click the two overlapping pages symbol.
  3. Right-click on the destination location you want to paste the file. Again, a context menu will pop up.
  4. In the upper portion of this second context menu, you’ll see a symbol that looks like a clipboard with a small piece of paper. This is the Paste option – click on it.

    Click the clipboard with a small piece of paper symbol.
    Click the clipboard with a small piece of paper symbol.

Using the Right-Click Menu

Although Windows 11 has a new context menu, you can still use the old right-click menu to copy and paste.

  1. Select the files or text you want to copy.
  2. Right-click anywhere on the highlighted area, and a menu will pop up.
  3. Click Show more options at the bottom of the menu.

    Click Show more options.
    Click Show more options.
  4. The old right-click menu will now appear. In this menu, choose Copy.

    Click Copy.
    Click Copy.
  5. Right-click on the destination location you want to paste and click Show more options at the bottom of the menu.

    Click Show more options.
    Click Show more options.
  6. Choose Paste.

    Click Paste.
    Click Paste.

Using the File Explorer Toolbar

Windows 11 also has a toolbar in File Explorer that you can use to copy and paste files.

  1. Click the Windows key + E on your keyboard to open File Explorer.
  2. Left-click the file you want to copy to select it.
  3. In the upper portion of the File Explorer window, you’ll see a toolbar with various options.

    The File Explorer toolbar.
    The File Explorer toolbar.
  4. Select the Copy symbol in the toolbar.

    Select the copy symbol.
    Select the copy symbol.
  5. Now go to the destination location you want to paste the file and click the Paste symbol in the toolbar.

    Select the paste symbol.
    Select the paste symbol.

Using Third-Party Applications

Third-party applications give you more advanced copy-pasting options. Many free apps can help with this.

TeraCopy

TeraCopy is a free program that gives you more control over how files are copied and transferred. It also has features to pause and resume transfers and verify file integrity.

  1. Download TeraCopy from their official website.

    Click download.
    Click Download.
  2. Complete the installation process.

    Complete the installation process.
    Complete the installation process.
  3. To copy a file using TeraCopy, left-click and drag the file you want to copy into the TeraCopy window. You also can right-click it, select Show more options and select TeraCopy…

    Click TeraCopy...
    Click TeraCopy…
  4. In the TeraCopy main window, Click the Copy… option and then browse the destination where you want to paste your file.

    Copy the file then browser the destination where you want to paste it.
    Copy the file, then browse the destination where you want to paste it.

Using the PrtScn Button

If you want to copy an image of your entire screen, you can use the PrtScn button on your keyboard. This button is usually located next to the F12 key.

  1. To take a screenshot, press PrtScn on your keyboard.
  2. Once you’ve taken the screenshot, open an image editing program like Paint or Photoshop.
  3. Press Ctrl + V in the image editing program. This will paste the screenshot into the program.

    Paste your screenshot to the image editing program.
    Paste your screenshot to the image editing program.
  4. Save the file, and you’re done.

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