The original copy-and-paste procedure of 1984—putting a graphic into a word processor—has come a long way. Most experienced PC fans have learned to trigger the Cut, Copy, and Paste commands from the keyboard, quickly and without even thinking.
Here’s how the copy/paste process works if you have a mouse and a keyboard:
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, depending on the program you’re using.
Use the Edit→Cut or Edit→Copy command.
Or press the keyboard shortcuts Ctrl+X (for Cut—think of the X as a pair of scissors) or Ctrl+C (for Copy). Windows 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 from the original document.
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.
Choose the Edit→Paste command (Ctrl+V).
A 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 much luck pasting, say, a block of spreadsheet numbers into World of Warcraft.)
The most recently cut or copied material remains on your Clipboard ...