How to Cut and Paste / Webmaster Tools / TOOLS for a Happier Life

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How to Select, Cut, Copy, Paste, & Save anything you find on the Internet

This information is absolutely essential to web design. This page will guide you on how to ‘grab’ anything you find, hear, or see on the internet! It will take about five minutes to learn and it will save you untold hours of work just in the coming year alone. I consider it the most important thing I learned about the internet. I had been building this site by hand for six months before I even knew cutting and pasting were possible. Good grief! The following instructions were sent to me by a friend. They were so well written, I couldn't improve upon them.

The Value of the Right Mouse Button

One fear many new users to the internet have is actually clicking on something. Your never quite sure what’s going to happen! But there is one button that’s OK to click on anything, and that’s the right mouse button. Using the right mouse button will not initiate any action other than to open a drop-down or pop-up menu with your options in it (Cut, Copy, Paste, Save As.., Bookmark, etc.). Go on, give it a try! Right-click one of the graphics on this web page. Notice the pop-up menu? The right mouse button is the fastest way to cut, copy, paste, and save anything you find on the web. If you want the right-click to work with text, you need to select it first.

Selecting Text

Its easy to select text. Using the scissors icons below, left click just below the top pair of scissors. Keeping the left mouse button pressed, drag the mouse down to the bottom pair of scissors. Notice the text was ‘selected’. You can release the left mouse button and the text will remain selected.


This text is here for you to practice selecting.

You will know if its selected if the background turns dark and the text turns white.


Now repeat the above steps, but click in the middle of one of the sentences and drag the mouse left or right. Notice how only half the sentence is selected? You can select as little or as much text as you want to cut, copy, or paste. You can select text from the top-down, bottom-up, left to right, or right to left.

Using Hot Keys to Cut, Copy, Paste, and Undo

Once you have ‘selected’ your text, you can use the Hot Keys to cut, copy, or paste the selected text. Why use Hot Keys when I just explained the value of the right mouse button? Simple, sometimes its just more convenient not having to take your hands off the keyboard to perform these simple functions. Whether you use the Hot Keys or the right mouse button makes no difference other than your own personal preference.

The Windows Hot Keys are defined by the 'Control' (CTRL) button. On a MAC, the Hot Keys are defined by the ‘Command’ button. Holding down the Control or Command button and pressing the appropriate key will perform the corresponding action from the list below.

Windows Hot Keys
CTRL-V Paste

Macintosh Hot Keys
Command-X Cut
Command-C Copy
Command-V Paste
Command-Z Undo

The ‘Undo’ function is very useful when you’ve just pasted some text where it wasn’t supposed to go. However, this undo function is limited and can only undo the last action performed (not a series of actions). Want to learn some more Hot Keys?

NOTE: You cannot ‘cut’ anything from a web page. Web pages can only be viewed, not edited. Instead, use the ‘copy’ command to place any selected text on your computer’s clipboard to be pasted later.

Saving Sounds and Graphics

Sounds and graphics are treated a little bit differently if you want to put a copy on your hard drive or disk. Instead of selecting and using hot keys like you would for text, you can use the right mouse button to get a drop-down menu with the ‘Save As...’ option in it. Just right click on any graphic on this site and try it!

Sounds are pretty much the same as graphics. If your not prompted to save the sound file when you click on it, then a small sound console should open up. Right click on the sound console for the drop-down menu to appear. Choose the ‘Save As..’ option and choose a location to save the file to.

Switching Between Applications

There is one last set of Hot Keys you will want to use to help make your cut, copy, and paste Hot Keys more useful. That is the ALT-TAB Hot Keys. By holding down the ALT button and hitting the TAB key, you can scroll through all the programs currently running on your computer. Whichever program you release the ALT key on will open for you to use. Go ahead and try it now! This is an especially useful trick if you want to cut and paste text from your web browser (like Netscape or Internet Explorer) to a text editor (like Notepad or SimpleText). Just select the text in your web browser, Copy it, ALT-TAB to switch to your text editor, Paste the copied text into the editor. Simple!

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