How to Cut, Copy & Paste Using Mac Keyboard Shortcuts

Mac keyboard shortcuts are a convenient way to cut, copy, and paste using key combinations rather than your trackpad or mouse.

* This post is part of iPhone Life's Tip of the Day newsletter. . *

Did you know that you can cut, copy, and paste on your Mac using key combinations rather than your trackpad or mouse? Keyboard shortcuts like these and others such a the partial-screenshot shortcut are useful for the iMac and MacBook. Here's how to copy and paste on a MacBook or iMac with keyboard shortcuts.

Related: How to Type 8 Top Special Characters on a Mac Keyboard

We've already helped our readers learn how to copy from an iPhone and paste to a Mac (and vice versa), and the copy and paste tricks in this article are just as helpful! For more great Apple technology tutorials, check out our free Tip of the Day.

Now, let's learn how to copy and paste on a Mac (desktop or laptop), including the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro using keyboard shortcuts. We'll go over the Command-A, Command-C, Command-V, and Command-X keyboard shortcuts in this tip. To begin, find the text you want to copy and paste on your Mac, then: 

  1. Locate the Command (or cmd) ⌘ key on your keyboard. My keyboard has a Command key on both sides of the Space Bar.

    where is the command key on mac keyboard
  2. To select all items on the page, press and hold the Command key, then press A, then release both.
  3. To highlight just one area to copy and paste, click and drag with your mouse or trackpad, then release when the desired area is highlighted.

    command a selects all items on the page
  4. Now, press and hold the Command key, then press C and release both to copy everything highlighted. 
  5. Press and hold the Command key, then press V and release both to paste the highlighted items into your document.
  6. You can also highlight the desired area, then press and hold the Command key, then press X and release both to simultaneously cut and save the highlighted area. Use Command-V to paste the content as before. 
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Author Details

Leanne Hays's picture

Author Details

Leanne Hays

Leanne Hays is a Feature Writer at iPhone Life, and has written hundreds of in-depth how-to and troubleshooting articles. She's a former Associate Editor for iPhone Life magazine, and has written for the Iowa Source, as well as web content for education marketing. Leanne has an associate's degree in education, with a focus on curriculum development, as well as a bachelor's degree in science. She has over nine years of experience with SEO, social media management, and web development and writing. Despite years of web work, Leanne is by no means an early adapter; she's only owned a smartphone for five years, which makes her highly sympathetic to the learning curve of new iPhone owners. She enjoys making reader's lives easier and putting her education experience to work by walking them through the most practical ways to use Apple devices, step-by-step.

In off-work hours, Leanne is a mother of two, homesteader, audiobook fanatic, musician, and learning enthusiast.