Copy And Paste

What Does Copy And Paste Mean?

Copy and paste are commands in a computer user interface and are one method of transferring data from one location to another. Unlike cut and paste, which moves the contents to a new location, copy and paste creates a duplicate in the new location. Copy and paste enables simple data replication.


Techopedia Explains Copy And Paste

Similar to the cut and paste technique, the copy action selects the data and stores it in a temporary location often known as the clipboard, which is usually invisible to the user. When the paste command is issued, the data from the clipboard is passed to the specific position. Apple Lisa is the first text editing system that introduced the concept of a clipboard. There are many applications which support copy and paste operations, often with key combinations, toolbar options, pulldown menus or pop-up menus. In Windows and Macintosh-based computers, the key combinations of Ctrl and “C” produces the copy effect whereas the key combination of Ctrl and “V” produces the paste effect. These actions can also be done with the help of a mouse.

Frequent use of copy and paste operations are done in computer-based editing. It serves as a useful option for many users and can save time and effort. Unlike the cut and paste action, copy and paste is not destructive in nature. It does not lead to data loss, but rather creates a duplicate in the specified location.

However the copy and paste command can raise privacy concerns, especially when handling sensitive data. Copy and paste cannot be performed on copy-protected articles or websites.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.