Commands and shortcuts to copy, cut and paste in macOS — 2022

It is likely that if you are reading this you have only been using a apple mac computer . Maybe even just a few hours. The first time macOS is used, and more so coming from Windows, it is usually somewhat chaotic at first since you feel somewhat disoriented and even the most basic actions seem complex to perform in macOS. However, you should know that it's all more simple and intuitive than it seems, especially with basics like copy and paste.

It is not always possible to copy and paste

One of these great problems that you have surely faced is the fact of copying and pasting any text. On a Mac keyboard the keys are slightly different than on a Windows computer and unfortunately the commands also change in some cases. That is why you must have an adaptation process that can be really simple.

Of course, regardless of the adaptation period, there are times when this action is not allowed regardless of what method you use to do so. It usually occurs in some applications that, either due to their configuration or a bug, do not allow copying the text that appears in it. It is the case of some PDF documents. In the same way that we find numerous web pages that, as preventive measure against possible plagiarism , prevent users from performing these actions. In fact, they usually alert you with some pop-up message.

Methods to make the copy-paste

At this point, it's time to know all the existing ways to copy and paste text on Apple computers. For this, there is the classic method using the mouse or trackpad, as well as some keyboard shortcuts that will save you time in the task.

Using the mouse or trackpad

There is nothing simpler than to carry out this action by means of the secondary button of your mouse or trackpad, just having to follow these intuitive steps:

  1. Use the mouse or trackpad to select the text or files you want to cut or copy. The process is simple, since you simply have to go to the beginning of the text, press the right button and drag to the end of the text you want to manipulate (or press with a single finger on the trackpad).
  2. Use the right mouse button to secondary click and select the option to Copy or Cut . If you are using a trackpad you can do this action by clicking on the right part of it if you have it configured or by pressing anywhere with two fingers. It must be said that if the action you want to carry out is to cut, you won't find an option called that for the files, and the simplest thing to do is to move them by selecting them and dragging them to the folder where you want to paste them.
  3. Once you are in the folder, document or place where you want to take your text or files, you must again right-click with the mouse or trackpad and choose the Paste option.

copy paste mac

Commands that serve as shortcuts

As you have already verified, the previous process is not complicated at all and is identical to how it is done in the Microsoft system. Now yes there is differences with Windows in relation to keyboard shortcuts, in these cases having to use these key combinations for which we already warned you that the control key will not work:

  1. Select the text or files you want to copy/cut and press the keys cmd+c in case you want to copy or cmd+x if you want to cut As with the previous method, for files you will not be able to perform this cut option unless you select and drag.
  2. Go to the document, folder, or place where you want to paste the file, and tap cmd+v.

Other utilities of this function

In addition to the classics of simply copying and pasting texts and files, we can find other utilities in the system in reference to this process and that can help us to be more productive. Copy several elements at the same time, whether they are ordered or not, proceed to copy images or extract the text from them... A few extra features that, as we warned, we think it is worth knowing.

Copy multiple files at once

We assume that you already know how to select multiple files on the Mac, copy and paste them, since it is very simple and follows the same procedure that we have discussed above. Now, it is not so intuitive to know how select files that are not sorted. That is, do not choose the ones that come in order and follow each other, but, for example, the one that appears first in the folder, then the one that is in fifth position, the one that is in tenth and eleventh...

Well, for this you just have to hold down the 'cmd' key while you are clicking on the files you want to select. Once you have chosen all of them, you can release the key and it will be all a matter of choosing the procedure that you most want: secondary click and choose the 'copy' option, use the 'cmd' + 'c' shortcut or directly drag those files to a new folder.

select files mac

Can images be copied?

Yes and no. In most cases, such as searching for images on Google, it is possible to find a photograph that can be transported to another place. The way to do this is by right-clicking on copy and then going to an application that allows you to paste it. Whether in a photo editor, a Word document or similar, you can paste the image.

However, it will not be possible to carry out this action to take a photograph directly to a folder or to the desktop, since in these cases the image would have to be previously saved. In any case, it must be said that some of them could be protected by copyright, as is the case with some texts, as we mentioned in a previous section.

Copy Mac Image

Extract text from images

Copying and pasting the text from a text document or web page is simple as you have already seen and in fact is considered normal. But not so much being able to select text from images. Yes, yes, as you read it. You can take a photo of a paper text document (or anything else) and extract the text using your Mac the same way you would an already digital document.

This is known as the function of Live Text , which is not available on all computers. The requirements are:

  • Have macOS 12 Monterey or later as the version of the computer's operating system.
  • have a Macs with T2 chip or have a Mac with M1, M1 Pro, or M1 Max chip. You can check if your computer meets the requirements by going to the Apple menu in the menu bar (top left corner), clicking on 'About this Mac' and looking at the specifications in the 'General' tab.

Copy to iPhone or iPad and paste to Mac

In the so-called Apple ecosystem, we can find extremely interesting synchronization functions between devices, such as opening a page in Safari from one of them and recovering it from the other. The universal clipboard It is another of the star functions in this field and it allows you to copy a text on the iPhone or iPad and paste it instantly on the Mac (and also vice versa).

The necessary requirements to carry out such a task are the following:

  • Both devices (iPhone/iPad and Mac) are signed in with the same Apple ID.
  • They all have to have the Bluetooth connection activated.
  • They must have WiFi activated and although it is not strictly necessary, it is recommended that they also be connected to the same internet network to improve their efficiency.
  • Handoff must be enabled on them:
    • iPhone and iPad: Settings> General> AirPlay and Handoff
    • Mac: System Preferences > General

handoff iphone mac

The steps to follow Once this is done, they are extremely simple and do not have much difference from doing it from a single device:

  1. On the first device, select a text, photo, video or any other content you want to copy.
  2. If you're on Mac, right-click with your mouse or trackpad and choose the Copy option. If you're on an iPhone or iPad, those options will appear above it.
  3. Go to the other device and do the same process as you would to paste it normally.

Note that keyboard shortcuts CMD+V are available on the Mac as well for this universal clipboard. As you can see, it's a tremendously handy feature if you want to do a task on your Mac that you started on another device. And in case you were wondering, also works between two Macs as long as they meet the requirements mentioned above.

Copy text from images

It is important to note that on many occasions you have a document whose text you are interested in copying. This can happen both in the promotional posters that you photograph, but also in notes that you need to transfer to a computer. But priori It can become too much of a nuisance to have to copy an entire text by hand, especially if it is long. In this way, what we always recommend is have your iPhone handy so you can take a picture of the text . It is important that the text is completely clear, and that the lighting is adequate to capture all the details. We must bear in mind that augmented reality will try to detect it, and as long as we facilitate the visualization task, we will be able to obtain a great result.

In order to make the copy, you will have to take a picture with the iPhone camera. If you have iCloud sync turned on, this photo will automatically appear in your Photos library and you'll access it through the corresponding app found in Photos. In this case, what you will always have to do is download the photo to your computer and open it in preview mode. Automatically, macOS will scan the image for text. It is important to note that this is a function that it is available on macOS Monterey or higher. From that moment with the cursor, you can go over the text in question. Doing a classic drag, you will be able to choose everything that you are going to want to copy by selecting it with a blue background. At that time you can choose to press the corresponding command to make a copy and then a paste. But you can also choose other functions, depending on the text or number you are going to copy.