Common Computer Tasks

Better understand common tasks in Windows in this free lesson, which covers Windows common tasks you can perform.

Cut, copy, and paste

Many applications allow you to copy items from one place and then paste them to another. For example, if you're working with a word processor, you might copy and paste text to avoid typing the same thing over and over. If there's something you want to move from one place to another, you can cut and paste instead.

To copy and paste:

  1. Select the item you want to copy. In our example, we'll select a word in a document.
  2. Right-click the mouse and select Copy from the menu that appears. You can also press Ctrl+C on your keyboard.
    screenshot of text editor
  3. Locate and right-click the desired location for the item, then select Paste. You can also press Ctrl+V on your keyboard.
    screenshot of text editor
  4. The item will be copied to the new location. Notice how the original text that was copied has not been moved or changed.
    screenshot of text editor

To cut and paste:

  1. Select the item you want to cut. In our example, we'll select a paragraph of text in a document.
  2. Right-click the mouse and select Cut from the menu that appears. You can also press Ctrl+X on your keyboard.
    screenshot of Windows 8
  3. Locate and right-click the desired location for the item, then select Paste. You can also press Ctrl+V on your keyboard.
    screenshot of Windows 8
  4. The item will be pasted, or moved, to the new location. In our example, we used the cut and paste commands to move the second paragraph above the first paragraph.
    screenshot of Windows 8

To copy and paste files:

You can use the cut, copy, and paste commands for a variety of tasks on your computer. For example, if you wanted to create a duplicate copy of a file, you could copy it from one folder to another.

  1. Right-click the file and select Copy from the menu that appears. You can also press Ctrl+C on your keyboard.
  2. Locate and right-click the new location, then select Paste. You can also press Ctrl+V on your keyboard. In our example, we'll paste the file to the desktop.
  3. The duplicate file will appear. Notice how the original file has not been moved or changed. Also, note that if you make a change to the original file, it will not update any copies of that file.

Copying a file is not the same as creating a shortcut. You can review our lesson on Working with Files to learn more about using shortcuts.