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Using Windows Clipboard

Learning Goals

  • Learn why and when to use the Windows Clipboard
  • Understand how to copy, cut and paste text and images
  • Use the Windows Clipboard to reference website addresses

The Windows Clipboard

Microsoft Windows has an invisible clipboard that is very convenient for temporarily storing information. This information can then be moved or copied to other places on your computer or other programs that you are using. It is very similar to the Memory and Recall Memory button that you often find on a calculator.

Selecting Text or Images

In order to use the clipboard, first you have to tell the computer what you are interested in copying or moving.
  1. Drag your mouse across the text or picture you wish to copy or move.
  2. The selection should then be highlighted on your screen as in the example below:
Here is  some text that we selected  in a sentence.

Using the Clipboard

Once you've highlighted some information you have a choice of:
  • Making a copy of the information on the clipboard
  • Using cut to delete the information and move it on to the clipboard
To make a copy, use one of the following:
  • Right mouse click on the selection and choose copy
  • Press <Ctrl+C> on your keyboard (the fastest method)
  • Choose Copy from the edit menu on the program you are using
To delete and move the selection (used less often):
  • Right mouse click on the selection and choose cut
  • Press <Ctrl+X> on your keyboard (the fastest method)
  • Choose Cut from the edit menu on the program you are using

Pasting the Clipboard Contents

Now that you have put something on the Clipboard, it will remain there until you replace it by copying a new selection.  You can paste whatever is on the clipboard into another part of a page, or another screen or program as follows, either:
  • Right mouse click on the desired location and choose paste
  • Press <Ctrl+V> on your keyboard (the fastest method)
  • Choose Paste from the edit menu on the program you are using
You can paste the contents as many times as you want by repeating the above.

Selection Precision

Many users find it easier and faster to select text with the keyboard rather than with the mouse. Here's how:
  1. Position your cursor at the start of the text you want to select
  2. Hold down the <Shift> key and select with the arrow keys or any key that navigates like <PageUp>
  3. Use <Ctrl+C> to copy and <Ctrl+V> to paste

Sharing Web Page References

Every web page has a unique address, a URL.  You can find this in the address bar when viewing a web page.  When you want to share a page with a friend, don't copy the contents, just send them a link.  Here's how:
  1. Highlight the URL or address in the address bar when viewing the page on the Internet
  2. Copy this to the clipboard
  3. Go to your email program and paste the address at an appropriate spot in your message
  4. This will become a clickable link for whoever receives your email
For more information see our Using the Internet and Working with Email tutorials.

More About Selected Text or Images

It's important to understand the significance of selecting things in Windows and what you can do with these selected items.  Here are a few concepts to become familiar with. 
  • Easily delete  selected text or images  by pressing the <Delete> key on your keyboard
  • Put your mouse over any  selected text or images  and then drag it to move it to another place.
  • Use Copy or Cut to put the   selected text or images   on the clipboard
  • Typing or pasting from the clipboard with automatically replace any  selected text or images