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Switching to the Mac: The Missing Manual, Yosemite Edition by David Pogue

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Moving Data Between Documents

You can’t paste a picture into your Web browser, and you can’t paste MIDI music information into your word processor. But you can put graphics into your word processor, paste movies into your database, insert text into Photoshop, and combine a surprising variety of seemingly dissimilar kinds of data.

Cut, Copy, and Paste

The original copy-and-paste procedure of 1984—putting a graphic into a word processor—has come a long way. Most people have learned to trigger the Cut, Copy, and Paste commands from the keyboard and without even thinking. Here’s how it works:

  1. Highlight some material in a document.

    Drag through some text in a word processor, for example, or highlight graphic, music, movie, database, or spreadsheet information.

  2. Use the EditCut or EditCopy command.

    Or press the keyboard shortcuts ⌘-X (for Cut—think of the X as a pair of scissors) or ⌘-C (for Copy). The Mac memorizes the highlighted material, socking it away on an invisible storage pad called the Clipboard. If you chose Copy, nothing visible happens. If you chose Cut, the highlighted material disappears.

  3. Click to indicate where you want the material to reappear.

    This may entail switching to a different program, a different document, or simply a different place in the same document.

  4. Choose the EditPaste command (-V).

    The copy of the material you had originally highlighted now appears at your insertion point—if you’re pasting into a program that can accept that kind of information. (You won’t have ...

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