Copy and paste is an essential function for almost any computer use. Whether you’re looking to become familiar with the basics or would like to improve your efficiency with keyboard shortcuts, follow along for how to copy and paste with a Mac.

Like with most computer functions and operations, there are multiple ways to accomplish one thing. We’ll start by looking at how to do a basic copy and paste and then moving on to how to speed up your workflow with shortcuts.

How to copy and paste on a Mac

  1. Highlight your desired text by clicking and dragging with your cursor
  2. Right click on the highlighted text or image (on a Mac you can right click if you have a mouse, press the control key while clicking, or click/tap with two fingers on a trackpad to pull up the right click menu)
  3. Click Copy
  4. Place your cursor where you’d like to paste the copied content, right click and select Paste

In the image below I started by right clicking on the iPhone 8 photo in the 9to5Mac article in Safari. To the right of the Safari window I have a blank Pages document.

After clicking Paste the image is now in my Pages document on the right. Going back to the webpage on the left, I have highlighted text, right clicked and clicked Copy.

Image showing an image copied from the web and pasted into a Pages document

Now going back to the Pages document I placed my cursor below the image, right clicked and selected Paste.

My desired image and text have now been copied to a new document.

Image showing completed copy and paste from a website to a new Pages document

How to copy and paste on a Mac with keyboard shortcuts

Using keyboard shortcuts on a Mac can really speed up your workflow, here are a few of the most useful ones to get started:

  • Copy = ⌘C
  • Paste = ⌘V
  • Cut = ⌘X
  • Paste and Match Style = ⌥⇧⌘V (Option, Shift, Command, V)
  • Select All = ⌘A
  • Undo = ⌘Z

Once you build up some momentum with regularly using shortcuts, you’ll likely find a desire to continue building your arsenal. While the standard shortcuts listed above apply almost universally, various apps will often have unique shortcuts for app specific functions.

Click on Edit (or other items) in the menu bar, you’ll see the keyboard shortcut commands for each available editing option.

Image showing keyboard shortcuts in macOS menu bar under Edit

Check out more helpful articles below as well as our how to guide for more ways to get the most out of your Apple devices.

About the Author