Cut And Paste

What Does Cut And Paste Mean?

Cut and paste are two commands that are commonly used together in computer user
interface interaction and provide a method of transferring data from one
location to another. Unlike the copy and paste commands, which create a duplicate
in the new location, cut and paste moves the entire contents to the new


Techopedia Explains Cut And Paste

Similar to copy and paste, the cut 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 moved to the specific location. The Apple Lisa had the first text editing system that introduced the concept of the clipboard. There are many applications which support cut and paste operations, often with key combinations, toolbar options, pull-down menus or pop-up menus. In Windows and Macintosh-based computers, The key combinations of Ctrl and “X” produces the cut 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.

However, unlike the copy and paste action, the cut and copy operation is destructive in nature and if not executed properly, could lead to data loss.


Related Terms

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.