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How to Copy and Paste on Mac

A MacBook user using keyboard shortcuts to copy and paste text on Mac
Dedi Grigoroiu/Shutterstock

If you have just started using a Mac for the first time, or if you’re switching from Windows, you might be wondering how to copy and paste text, media, and files on your new computer. Don’t worry, it’s quite simple!

How to Copy and Paste on Mac Using Keyboard Shortcuts

While it may look different, many of macOS’s functions are similar to Windows 10. Just like Microsoft’s operating system, there are keyboard shortcuts to copy and paste text, media, and files on your Mac.

First, select content like text or files and then press the Command+C keyboard shortcut to copy the content.

How to copy on Mac using keyboard shortcut

Now, go to the destination where you want to post this content and use the Command+V shortcut to paste them.

How to paste on Mac using keyboard shortcut

If you’re using text and you want to match the destination’s style, use the Command+Shift+V shortcut to paste the content in the same style as the rest of the document.

How to Copy and Paste on Mac Using Menus and Mouse

If you don’t want to use keyboard shortcuts, or if you don’t have access to a keyboard, you can also copy and paste on your Mac using context menus.

First, use your mouse to select or highlight content. This can be a text paragraph or files and folders in the Finder app. Next, right click on your mouse or trackpad to open the context menu. Here, click on the “Copy” option to copy the content.

Select the Copy option from right click menu to copy the file

You can also go to the toolbar at the top of your Mac’s screen and select the “Copy” option from the “Edit” menu (if available).

Select the copy option from Edit menu

Now, go to the place where you want to paste the content and right click on your mouse or trackpad. Here, select the “Paste” option.

Select the Paste item option in Finder to paste the file on Mac

You can also go to the “Edit” menu from the toolbar and select the “Paste” option to paste the content.

You’ll see that the content will show up instantly at the destination.

How to Copy and Paste Between iPhone, iPad, and Mac

This is an advanced tip for Apple users who use an iPhone, iPad, and Mac together. If you’re using macOS Sierra and higher on your Mac (and you have updated your iPhone or iPad to the latest version), you can easily copy and paste text and data between all of your Apple devices thanks to the Universal Clipboard feature.

RELATED: How to Use Universal Clipboard in macOS Sierra and iOS 10

Now, you don’t really need to do anything to set the feature up. If all of your devices support Continuity and have the Handoff feature enabled (and they are enabled by default), Universal Clipboard should work automatically. Just make sure that both devices are near one another and that they are on the same Wi-Fi network (with Bluetooth enabled).

For example, let’s say you’re copying a photo from your iPhone to your Mac. Press and hold on the photo on your iPhone to see the context menu. Here, select the “Copy” option.

Tap on the copy button on iPhone

Now, move to your Mac and go to the app or the section where you want to paste this photo. Simply press the Command+V keyboard shortcut. You’ll see a small window telling you that the transfer of the photo is in progress.

Mac showing progress bar for pasting photo from iPhone

In a couple of seconds, the photo will be available in the document.

Image from iPhone pasted in Apple Notes on Mac

This works for text, media, and files as well.


Just switched from Windows to Mac? We have the perfect tips to ease your transition.

RELATED: How to Switch from a Windows PC to a Mac

Khamosh Pathak Khamosh Pathak
Khamosh Pathak is a freelance technology writer who specializes in tutorials. His work has also been published on iPhoneHacks, Zapier's blog, MakeUseOf, and Guiding Tech. Khamosh has seven years of experience writing how-tos, features and technology guides on the internet.
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