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At one point or another, you may need to use the copy-and-paste function on your Mac computer or laptop. On a Mac, this function can be completed by using keyboard shortcuts or by using your mouse or trackpad. In this article, we will share how to complete the function both ways.

Understand The Keys On Your Mac

Before we get started with the steps that you need to follow to copy and paste text, first let’s discuss the keys that are different on a Mac computer or laptop. Unlike Windows computers and their control keys, Macs have specific ones, like the “command” key (also known as this symbol on your keyboard: ⌘).

Your command key will be found next to the space bar on your laptop or desktop keyboard. If you need to paste the copied text and match a specific format (like a blog post or via Google Docs), then you’ll also need to use the “option” key. This is the replacement for Windows “alt” key. It is right next to the “command” key on your keyboard.

The following keys will be used to copy and paste text:

• To copy text, use keys: Command (⌘) + C
• To paste text, use keys: Command (⌘) + V

To show you how to copy and paste on your Mac, we will be using a Google Docs document. However, these steps should work for all text that you want to copy — including text from pages, pdfs, and online!

Step 1: Select the Text You Want to Copy

copy and paste on a mac
Selecting the paragraph we want to copy.

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To get started, you’ll first need to select whatever text you want to copy and paste. You’ll do this by clicking and dragging your mouse or trackpad across the text that you’d like to highlight.

Step 2: Copy The Highlighted Text

Once you’ve highlighted the text that you’d like to copy and paste, now is the time to copy it. You can do this in three different ways. The first option is to use the keyboard shortcut on your Mac.

To do this, you’ll press the “command” button (⌘) and the C key at the same time. The second option is to right-click using an external mouse (if you’re using one). This will bring up the option to copy the text. From there, you will use the menu option “copy”.

how to copy and paste on a mac
Selecting Copy from the options.

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The third option is to use your Mac’s trackpad (if using a laptop or trackpad with your desktop). In order to do this, you’ll need to make sure that your trackpad is set up with the “secondary click” option.

To do this, you’ll need to set up your system preferences for your trackpad. Once that’s completed, you can use the secondary click on the trackpad and copy like you would with an external mouse. The menu will appear just as it does with a mouse.

Step 3: Choose Where You’ll Paste the Copied Text

how to copy and paste on a mac
Finding empty space in the document.

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Once you’ve copied the text with one of the three methods above, now is the time to decide where you want the copied text to go. In Google Docs, we are going to paste the text below the second paragraph.

In order to do that, we’ll need to click the space below that paragraph or press the Enter key to start a new paragraph. No matter where you copy the text from, you’ll be able to paste it anywhere in a document or field of your choosing.

Step 4: Paste the Copied Text

You’re in the home stretch! Now that you’ve copied the text and decided where you want to place it in your document or screen, now is the time to paste the text. There are a few ways to complete this step as well.

Firstly, you can paste the text by pressing the keys on your keyboard that we’ve discussed previously. They include the “command” key (⌘) and the V key. To paste, just press the ⌘ key and the V key at the same time.

how to copy and paste on a mac
Choosing Paste from the options on the screen.

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If you’re looking to paste the text and match the style of the text on your document, you’ll need to follow the following formula: Shift key + Option key + ⌘ key + V key at the same time. This will paste the text and follow the style that you’ve already created in your document or online text.

Secondly, you can also paste the text using your mouse or trackpad. To do this, you’ll want to right-click on the mouse or secondary click with your trackpad. The text menu will pop up again, and this time you’ll choose the paste option.

Remember, if you choose to paste the text with your mouse or trackpad, it will follow the format of wherever you copied the text from. If you’d like for the text to be cohesive with your document, you’ll want to choose the paste without formatting option.

Here’s How They Differ

If you just paste the text without copying the formatting, it may look like wherever you copied it from, like so:

how to copy and paste on a mac
Pasting the text without formatting.

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If you use the “paste with formatting” option, it will paste and follow the format of the document you’ve already created. This is the best choice if you’ve copied text that has a different font, size, color, or any other difference than the text you’ve already written and created. It’s also great if you want to keep your text plain.

how to copy and paste on a mac
Pasting the text with formatting.

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Wrap Up

Now you know how to copy and paste on your Mac laptop or desktop! These steps are easy to follow and show you multiple ways to copy and paste text in whatever document or app you’re using.

How to Copy and Paste on a Mac, With Photos FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What is the easiest way to copy and paste on a Mac computer?

We highly suggest using the keyboard shortcuts that we discuss in the article. That is the easiest way to copy and paste on your MacBook or Mac desktop.

Can you copy and paste on a Mac without a mouse?

Yes, you can! You can use the trackpad on your laptop or desktop if you do not have an external mouse. However, you will need either a trackpad or a mouse to properly copy and paste the text.

How do you select all the text to copy and paste on a Mac?

In order to do this, you’ll press the following keys at the same time: Command key (⌘) + A key. This will copy all of the text on a specific page or document.

What keys copy and paste on a Mac?

The command key (⌘) is the main key that will allow you to copy and paste on a Mac desktop or MacBook. With this key, you can copy (⌘ + C) and paste (⌘ + V) with ease!

Which is better, a trackpad or a mouse?

Either one works! Some people prefer to use the trackpad on their laptop, but some people feel better using an external mouse. You can also use both depending on what you’re working on, the choice is yours!

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