How to Cut, Copy & Paste with Mac Keyboard Shortcuts: A Guide

Cutting, copying, and pasting text or files on a Mac is a breeze once you learn the keyboard shortcuts. With just a few keystrokes, you can quickly move content from one place to another, saving time and making your workflow more efficient. Let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of how to accomplish this with your Mac’s keyboard.

Step by Step Tutorial: Cut, Copy & Paste Using Mac Keyboard Shortcuts

Before we jump into the steps, it’s important to understand that these shortcuts will help you move text, images, or files around without having to use a mouse or trackpad. This can be a real timesaver!

Step 1: Select the item you want to cut or copy

Click and drag your cursor over the text or file you wish to cut or copy.

Selecting the item is crucial because if you don’t select anything, there’s nothing to cut or copy! Make sure you’ve highlighted the exact text or chosen the specific file you want to work with.

Step 2: Use the keyboard shortcut for cutting or copying

For cutting, press Command (⌘) + X. For copying, press Command (⌘) + C.

Remember, cutting will remove the item from its original place (don’t worry, it’s not gone for good!), whereas copying will leave it in place and create a duplicate that you can paste elsewhere.

Step 3: Navigate to where you want to paste the item

Click to place your cursor where you want the text or file to go.

This step is all about positioning. You want to make sure your cursor is in the right spot so that when you paste, your content ends up exactly where you want it.

Step 4: Use the keyboard shortcut for pasting

Press Command (⌘) + V to paste the item you cut or copied.

And just like that, your selected item appears in the new location! Pasting is the final step in moving your content around.

After you complete the action of pasting, your text or file will now be in its new home. If you used cut, the original will no longer be in its starting place. If you used copy, you’ll now have two instances of the item.

Tips for Cut, Copy & Paste Using Mac Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Practice the shortcuts until they become second nature; muscle memory is your friend!
  • If you make a mistake, remember that Command (⌘) + Z will undo your last action.
  • For files, you can cut and paste to move them around in Finder, just like you do with text.
  • If you’re copying and pasting text with formatting you don’t want, try using Command (⌘) + Shift + V to paste without formatting.
  • Keep in mind that you can use these shortcuts in most applications on your Mac, not just word processors or text editors.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use these shortcuts in all programs on my Mac?

Yes, these shortcuts are universal across Mac OS and should work in nearly every program you use.

What if I want to copy and paste a whole file, not just text?

The process is the same! Just select the file in Finder and use the same Command (⌘) + C to copy and Command (⌘) + V to paste.

Can I paste the same item multiple times?

Absolutely! Once you’ve copied something, you can paste it as many times as you’d like until you copy something new.

What do I do if the shortcuts aren’t working?

Make sure you’re pressing the Command (⌘) key, not the Control or Option keys. If they still don’t work, check your keyboard settings in System Preferences.

Can I cut and paste text from the internet into a document?

Yes, you can. However, be mindful of copyright and only copy text that you’re legally allowed to use.


  1. Select the item you want to cut or copy.
  2. Use Command (⌘) + X to cut or Command (⌘) + C to copy.
  3. Navigate to where you want to paste the item.
  4. Use Command (⌘) + V to paste the item.


Mastering Mac keyboard shortcuts for cutting, copying, and pasting can significantly improve your productivity. Whether you’re a writer, a student, or someone who spends a lot of time managing files, these simple shortcuts are invaluable tools that can save you time and hassle. No need to fumble with right-clicks or menu options—just a quick Command (⌘) + X, Command (⌘) + C, and Command (⌘) + V, and you’re all set! As with any new skill, practice makes perfect.

So, start incorporating these shortcuts into your daily computer use, and before you know it, they’ll be second nature. And who knows? You might just find yourself becoming the go-to Mac expert among your friends and colleagues. Keep experimenting with different shortcuts, and you’ll uncover even more ways to streamline your workflow. Happy cutting, copying, and pasting!

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