One of the handiest functions on computers is learning the shortcuts to copy and paste text quickly and easily. Luckily, you can use hotkeys or keyboard shortcuts to make the going easier, rather than taking the longer method of menu navigation. The shortcuts are basically the same in both Windows® and Apple® operating systems. PC keyboards use the Control (Ctrl) key in combination with other keys, while Apple substitutes the Command key.
To begin, place the cursor at the beginning of the text you wish to copy, then hold down the left mouse button and drag the cursor across the text to highlight it. You can drag it downwards to cover multiple sentences or paragraphs if need be. Let up on the mouse button when you’ve reached the end of the text you want to copy.
If it’s necessary to highlight more text than is visible on a single page, place the cursor at the beginning of the desire text, click once and let go, then scroll down to the end of the desired text, hold down the Shift key and click the mouse at the end point. All text between the two clicked points will highlight automatically.
Once you have the desired text highlighted, press the Control key down (Apple users press the Command key), keeping it down while pressing and releasing the letter “c.” The text is now copied to the clipboard. If you would rather use menu navigation to copy, click on Edit in the top toolbar, then Copy.
With the selection now copied to the clipboard, place the cursor at the spot where you would like to paste the text. Hold down the Control key (Apple users hold down the Command key), and press/release the “v” key to paste the text. For menu navigation select Edit once again, then Paste
An alternate method to paste text that has already been copied to the clipboard is to right-click the mouse button on the spot you wish to paste, and choose “Paste” from the popup menu. If “Paste” is grayed out (unavailable), the clipboard is empty. Repeat prior steps and try again.
One of the most problematic areas of copy and paste is trying to copy a long website address from an email program into a Web browser. The word-wrap function in email can break a long link into multiple lines. While the first line will look clickable, it will not succeed because the rest of the address has been “broken away” on proceeding lines. If you try to paste the lines as one block of text into the Web browser, line breaks can interject spaces, making it useless.
There are a few ways around this. First, you can try turning off the word-wrap function in the email program so that the address will revert to one continuous line. With the link unbroken, it should be clickable, and assuming your email program is linked to a Web browser, the link should open automatically. If your email program is not linked to a browser, having the address on one line should make it easy to copy and paste, using the instructions above. Just copy it from the email, open your Web browser, and paste the link into the address field (technically called the “URL field” for Uniform Resource Locator).
The word-wrap function is found in different places within different email programs. If you aren’t familiar with this setting, check the program’s Help menu to see where this control is located. You will probably want to return the setting to its original state after you copy the website link.
Windows users sometimes use a small program called Notepad, pasting the website address into program first to reassemble the lines before pasting them into a Web browser.
You can always copy and paste each line of the website address separately into the browser’s address field, taking care to paste each successive line at the end of the previous one, removing any blank spaces. Be careful to leave underscores "_" that are sometimes present in website links.