How to Cut or Copy and Paste using keyboard or mouse in Windows

Cut, Copy and Paste are the most basic used commands in Windows computers. It is a very simple operation and a regular PC user might find this post of little use, but there are many new PC users who actually are searching for how to cut, copy or paste using a mouse or a keyboard. We therefore now, will on and off, cover very basic Windows tutorials for beginners too.

Difference Between Cut and Copy

First things first, there is a difference between Cutting and Copying something. When you cut and paste an image or text, you are actually removing it from one location and getting it in your clipboard, while copying will create a duplicate image or text. Once copied on your clipboard or temporary memory, you can paste it in any document, file or folder of your PC. We can copy almost anything from the Internet but cutting a text or an image from the web is not possible. So basically we use ‘CUT’ option when we want to move an image, text, a file or a folder from one location to other and we use ‘Copy’ when we want to create a duplicate item.

What is Clipboard

Before we proceed, it is important to understand what a Clipboard is. Windows PCs come with a feature called Windows Clipboard which stores the information temporarily thereby allowing you to move or paste it in some other location. The data stored in the clipboard gets deleted when you restart or shut down your PC. Simply put, Clipboard is used to store the data you want to paste in some other location of your PC.

Cut, Copy and Paste using Mouse


To Cut or Copy a file or folder in your PC, just right-click the button of your mouse and select ‘Cut’ or ‘Copy’. Go to the folder where you want to get the file or a folder, click the right button of your mouse and select ‘Paste’.

Similarly, to Cut or Copy an image from one folder to other, take your mouse cursor to the image, click the right button of your mouse and select the desired option. To paste, go to the desired folder, click the right button of your mouse and select ‘Paste’.

To cut, copy and paste a text using the mouse, you first need to take your mouse cursor to the text you want to copy. To select the text, click on the left button of your mouse, hold it and drag it over the text you want to select. The selected text is shown in a different color.



copy paste using mouse 3Click the right button of your mouse and select ‘cut‘ or ‘copy’. To paste the text, select ‘Paste’. The Paste Options when offered give you additional pasting options like keeping/discarding formatting, etc.

Cut, Copy and Paste using Keyboard Shortcut

While it is easy and direct to cut, copy and paste using a mouse, using keyboard shortcuts is always easier and faster. Not every PC user may be aware of the keyboard shortcuts – but it is important to know about them so that you can work even when your mouse stops working.

  • Keyboard shortcut to Select all- Ctrl+A
  • Keyboard shortcut for Cut- Ctrl+X
  • Keyboard shortcut for Copy- Ctrl+C
  • Keyboard shortcut for Paste- Ctrl+V.

Select the file, folder or image, use Ctrl+X or Ctrl+C. No open the folder where you want to paste the item and press Ctrl+V. If you want to select all the items in a folder, press Ctrl+A and then use the cut, copy, paste keyboard shortcuts.

To select a piece of text using the keyboard, you first need to take the cursor to the text, press Ctrl+Shift, and Left or Right arrow keys as desired. Keep pressing the arrow keys to select the words in right or left. Use Up and Down arrow keys to select paragraphs. If you want to select a complete line, take the cursor to end of the line and press Shift+Home on your keyboard.

Move or Copy using Command Prompt

Now this is a method for advanced users . You can also use the Command Prompt to Move or Copy files. To do so, first note down the path of the file or folder to be cut or copied. Also note down the path of the destination folder.

Now click o the Start Button in Windows 10 and select Command Prompt. The syntax to be used is:

For Copy:

copy [/d] [/v] [/n] [{/y|/-y}] [/z] [{/a|/b}] Source [{/a|/b}] [+ Source [{/a|/b}] [+ ...]] [Destination [{/a|/b}]]

For Move:

move [{/y|/-y}] [Source] [target]

Syntax and other details on this can be had at TechNet here and here.

Now that you know about these simple tricks to cut, copy and paste the data from one location to other, it will be easier for you to work on your Windows PC.

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Anand Khanse is the Admin of, a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows & a Windows Insider MVP. Please read the entire post & the comments first, create a System Restore Point before making any changes to your system & be careful about any 3rd-party offers while installing freeware.