Learning some of the basic MS Word functions can help with day to day computer skills as well as cut down on the time it takes to do simple tasks. Read on for the third installment of our Word lesson on cut, copy, paste and format painter.
How To Cut, Copy, and Paste on Microsoft Word | Computer Basics | Lesson 3
Open Our Document
If you’ve been following along with our Word lessons, let’s once again open our practice document. Click on the File tab>Open and select our document.
It should have your name and address at the top, today’s date, and two sentences about you. Remember we told the date to “Update Automatically,” so it should show today’s date. If it doesn’t, you should go back to our last lesson and try again.
What Is A Clipboard?
One new term you’ll need for any software, even your internet browser, is “Clipboard.” This isn’t really a clipboard – a hard surface with a large clip at the top for holding your important notes and papers – but that is the general idea.
A computer’s “clipboard” is a location in your computer’s memory that stores information you have “cut” out or copied. For most software, it is stored until you put something else in the clipboard or turn off your computer.
How To Cut, Copy, and Paste
How do we put something in our clipboard? We use “cut” or “copy” to put it inside, then “paste” to take it out and use it. We always select the range first – we do that a lot, don’t we?
There are three ways to Cut, Copy, and Paste after you select your range.
1. Select your range, then click on the Cut, Copy, or Paste in the Home tab>Clipboard section.
2. Select your range, then right-click the mouse. Select the Cut, Copy, or Paste from the menu that appears.
3. Select your range, then use a keyboard shortcut. “Ctrl” is the “Control” key near the bottom left of your keyboard.
- Ctrl-X = Cut
- Ctrl-C = Copy
- Ctrl-V = Paste
You might be wondering what the difference is between “Cut” and “Copy?” “Cut” deletes the selected range but saves it in the Clipboard. “Copy” leaves the selected range where it is but also saves it in the Clipboard. “Paste” takes what is in the Clipboard and puts it where you want it. What if you “cut” out some words by mistake? Simply “paste” it back in place or “undo” your mistake with Ctrl-Z.
EXAMPLE: Add A Recipient’s Name and Address
Let’s try it with the name and address of the person we are writing. In your letter document, click just past the year in our date, then hit enter four times.
Instead of typing, here’s an address for Mr. Brown that you can use for your letter with a simple copy and paste.
Mr. John Brown
345 Center Street
Hometown, CA 99999
In case you’ve forgotten, there are two ways to select the name and address. You may select by clicking before the “M” in Mr. Brown, holding down your mouse button and dragging your cursor to the end of his zip code. You may also use “Shift-Click” – a special shortcut for selecting a range. Click before the “M” in Mr. Brown, then hold down the “Shift” button. Now click just after his zip code. “Shift-Click” selects everything between your mouse clicks; it is much easier to use “Shift-Click” when selecting large blocks of text or on multiple pages.
How To Copy: Ctrl-C Copy
Right-click your mouse, and a new menu will appear.
The screenshot is the menu from the Chrome browser, but it is similar in most internet browsers. Notice in the menu next to the word “Copy” it shows you the Ctrl-C shortcut as a reminder. Copy Mr. Brown’s name and address with Right-click>Copy or Ctrl-C.
Now go back to your letter in MS Word. Position your cursor about four lines below the date. We’re going to try a few different versions of Paste so you can learn the difference. You may have noticed that Mr. Brown’s name and address on our website was in a different font than your document’s “No Styles” font. Let’s see what happens when we paste it.
How To Paste: Ctrl-V Paste
First let’s use Crtl-V to paste. Crtl-V will take everything in your “Clipboard” and put it in your document with the same font and formatting as the original. Do you see how different Mr. Brown’s name and address look compared to the rest of your letter? Sometimes that is what you want, but not today. Let’s do a Ctrl-Z to “undo” that paste. Remember, Windows holds the information in your Clipboard until you change it, so Mr. Brown is still there, just not in your document.
Right-Click Paste Options>Keep Text Only
Keep your mouse where you want the address in your document, and now right-click. You will have a new menu with “Paste Options.”
Hover your mouse over each option, and Word will give you a preview before you click. These options change depending on what is in the Clipboard. The far right option is called “Keep Text Only” and looks like a little “clipboard” with the letter “A.” (Clipboard, get it?) Click on that letter “A,” and Word will insert Mr. Brown’s address keeping the “No Styles” format. Did it work? It should look like this.
How To Cut: Crtl-X Cut
Let’s practice “cutting” without “pasting.” Our letter needs a salutation, a fancy term for the opening “Dear John” section. Click at the beginning of your first sentence, just before the “M” in “My.” Now add
“Dear John Brown:” and press enter twice.
Hmmmm… too formal. Double-click his last name, “Brown,” to select it. Remember the three ways to Cut. Use one to delete the word “Brown.” I think Ctrl-X is the easiest. “X” for delete or “X” it out. Remember you can always Ctrl-Z to undo your changes.
We put the last name “Brown” in the Clipboard, but we aren’t using it now. It will simply stay in the Clipboard until we add something else or exit Word.
How To Add: Signature Block
Let’s finish up the bottom of our letter with a signature block. Go to the last word in our paragraph. You can also reach the “end” of your document by doing a “Ctrl-End.” Hold down “Ctrl” and press the “End” key near all the up and down cursor arrows. There is also a “Home” key there. I bet you can guess what “Ctrl-Home” does, can’t you? It takes you back to the top of your document. Let’s try them both. (If you have extra blank rows at the end of your letter, click “Backspace” on the top right of your keyboard to remove them.)
Once you are at the end of your document, press enter twice, and type the word “Sincerely” with a comma. Press Enter four or five times so you have room for your signature.
Now copy and paste your name from the top of your document to the bottom. Triple-click your name, then use Ctrl-C and Ctrl-V. I want it to remember the strange formatting (centered, big and a different font). Now you will learn to “paint” your format from one section to another.
If you look in that Home tab>Clipboard section, you will notice one more command next to Paste, Cut, and Copy. The icon is a little paintbrush and it’s called “Format Painter.” Sometimes you get one part of your document just the way you want it and you want to copy that formatting to another section. That’s exactly why we use Format Painter.
Format Painter always takes three steps. First you select the item which is formatted correctly. Second, you click Format Painter. Third and last you drag through some words to transfer the formatting. We are going to copy our regular formatting to the name in our signature block. Format Painter selects the formatting, not the actual words – so it’s very different from Cut, Copy, Paste.
We’ll walk through the three steps:
- Double-click on any word in your paragraph… let’s use the word “name.”
- Click on Home tab>Clipboard section>Format Painter.
- Now drag through your name at the bottom of the letter, in the signature block. Release the mouse and the format of the word “name” is duplicated to your name.
True, we could have selected your name and used Home tab> Styles section>No Spacing, but maybe we didn’t remember that or made some other changes. This is just another method of “painting” your format to another location.
Notice it did not change the alignment, and your name is still centered. Word tries to guess what you want, but sometimes it is wrong. Select your name from your signature block and align it to the left. Do you remember how? Select by triple-clicking your name, then click Home tab>Paragraph section>Align Left.
Your letter should look like this.
Save and Exit.