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    Cut, Copy & Paste Basics

    CUT, COPY and PASTE are among the most basic of computer commands. Cut means to remove an item from its current location, while Copy means to make a duplicate of an item. In either case a duplication of the item will be maintained on an "invisible clipboard" from which it will be available for subsequent use.

    Almost anything can be cut or copied; a paragraph of text, an entire document, a JPG picture, an MP3 music file, or a folder full of files. However, the entity to be cut or copied must first be "selected" or "highlighted."

    If you want to copy a section of text from an email or a Web page, simply select (highlight) the text with your mouse. Now you can copy the selection by going to Edit>Copy, or by doing Ctrl+C on your keyboard, or by right-clicking the selection and choosing Copy from the popup menu.

    Items other than text, such as an MP3 file or a JPG picture, are normally selected by doing a single left-click on their respective icons.

    Should you want to cut, rather than copy, go to Edit>Cut, or do Ctrl+X, or right-click the selection and choose Cut.

    Then you can paste the selected text into an email or a word processing page, as well as into a spreadsheet or database cell. Place your cursor at the insertion point and click Edit>Paste, or Ctrl+V, or right-click the target area and choose Paste.

    If you want the selection inserted into multiple places, simply click into each location and continue to paste. You can even paste the selected item into another document or onto a page in another program.

    For instance, you could add up some numbers in a spreadsheet, copy the total, and then paste the amount into a word processing paragraph, as well as into an email or even another spreadsheet.

    The selected item will remain on the clipboard, available for subsequent pasting, until you cut or copy something else — which would then replace the current selection. Otherwise the selection will remain on the clipboard until you turn off the computer.

    If you prefer to use keyboard shortcuts (Ctrl+C for copy, Ctrl+X [think scissors] for cut, why would paste be done with Ctrl+V? Well, look at your keyboard and you'll see that X, C and V are all in a row, and conveniently located near Ctrl to make the commands easy to execute with one hand.

          If you prefer clicking on toolbar icons, these are the ones to use:

    Cut, Copy & Paste Icons

    As simple as all this is, however, certain problems can occasionally arise. For instance a text selection might be pasted in as a "picture" of the text, leaving you with no way to edit it. This can be circumvented by choosing
    Edit>Paste Special>Unformatted Text. (This choice, however, removes any special formatting such as bold or colored type. Nonetheless, all the formatting can then be done on the inserted text.)

    Also, MSWord has a feature whereby you can cut or copy several different items and have them all remain on the clipboard, from where they can be pasted individually into new locations. However, in all my years of using MSWord I have never had an occasion where this feature would be useful. Thus, I won't describe the procedure here — but you can use MSWord's Help section to learn how it's done.

    Having explained all this, however, I must confess to rarely using any of the above methods for doing Copy or Paste. I use a Microsoft 4-button mouse with a scroll wheel. I programmed the wheel to Copy and one of the buttons to Paste.


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