Talk:Cut, copy, and paste

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"Kopipe" (a Japanese rendering of "copy-paste") redirects here, with no mention on the page. What is it supposed to mean in English-speaking communities? 18:14, 4 February 2007 (UTC)


Does anyone know where this idea came from? HereToHelp 11:44, 16 October 2005 (UTC)

Some say Douglas Engelbart's oNLine System (NLS) was the first one, presented to the public in 1968. [1] Others pin the claim to the Gypsy word processor by Xerox Alto in 1975. Finally, some think it originated in Apple Lisa, but that is clearly a misconception. I don't have Real installed right now, could you review the NLS video on the linked page and see if it matches the current notion of cut and paste? Aapo Laitinen 12:21, 16 October 2005 (UTC)
In NLS and its successor, Augment, move/copy follows the pattern described by the existing "Comparison to verb-object paradigm" section of this article: (1) Type the letter "M" or "C". (2) Type a letter indicating the granularity of the objects involved (c for characters, w for words, l for lines, s for sentences, p for a paragraphs, e for equations, etc.) or else the default (characters) will be assumed. (3) Click the sole source object or click the first and last source objects. (4) Click the destination object. (5) Click the command accept button (an overloaded mouse button). The source object(s) are inserted before the destination object. Larry Tesler (talk) 17:34, 10 May 2009 (UTC)
I added a short paragraph to the "History" section describing the choice of the Z/X/C/V keys for the undo/cut/copy/paste text editing operations, referring to their position on the standard QWERTY keyboard. I wrote it without directly crediting anyone as the originator of the idea of using those keys, so it should stand on its own regardless of who it was. (I always heard that the idea originated at Xerox PARC, but I don't know this for sure.) — Loadmaster 15:56, 24 May 2007 (UTC)
I chose Z/X/C/V when I was in charge of the user interface design of Apple's Lisa. In addition to their adjacency on the keyboard, I wanted them to have mnemonic value: "X" a cross-out; "V" an inverted caret or proofreader's arrowhead; "C" the first letter of "copy"; the strokes of "Z" tracing a reversal followed by a new path forward. Larry Tesler (talk) 17:34, 10 May 2009 (UTC)
Correction: Apparently, my memory was incorrect. The Lisa user interface seems to have used "U" for Undo. On the Mac (as in Gypsy), "U" was and is for Underline. I do not know who chose "Z" for Mac Undo, or why. I suspect that its proximity to the Command key was the reason. Larry Tesler (talk) 14:39, 19 October 2011 (UTC)
I'm almost positive that I read somewhere that a certain text editor (possibly on the Apple II — maybe in DOS) used the Z/X/C/V prior to the Mac. Can anyone comment on this? Damienivan (talk) 21:11, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
I came up with cut and paste by combining three existing techniques: (1) the publishing industry's razor-and-glue method of composing page proofs, called "cut and paste"; (2) the publishing industry's system of proofreaders' marks (e.g., arrows and carets) to specify manuscript edits; (3) the two-step move procedure that Pentti Kanerva added circa 1969 to Brian Tolliver's TVEDIT (Tolliver, B., TVEdit. Stanford Time Sharing Memo Report, Number, March, 1965). Pentti had added an "Oops" command to TVEdit to undo deletions. His "Delete" command saved the last deletion in a hidden buffer. His "Oops" command copied the buffer to the current location of the cursor, which normally undid the delete. But if the user repositioned the cursor between issuance of the Delete and Oops commands, the original text would move to the new location. And the buffer stayed around, allowing a series of copies to be created. The command syntax was arcane, something like colon-d-(cursor move commands)-colon-o-escape, but the concept was there. Pentti's almost accidental invention gave me the idea of using a two-step modeless procedure, not only to position images and text blocks on a page "comp", but also to move text around within a manuscript or galley proof. I incubated the idea for a few years and finally implemented it in Gypsy at Xerox Corporation Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) (Tesler and Mott, 1975; see [2]). Larry Tesler (talk) 17:34, 10 May 2009 (UTC)


Is it "cut and paste" or "cut-and-paste?"

Depends on the context of the sentence:
  1. "Highlight the sentence, then cut and paste into a different section of the document."
  2. "When working with a word processor, common tasks include use of the cut-and-paste technique."
Groink 20:10, 25 September 2007 (UTC)

Suggested merge[edit]


I oppose the merge of 'Cut and Paste' (^x, ^v) with 'Copy and Paste' (^c, ^v) on the ground that 'Cut and Paste' (^x, ^v) clearly came first. After this usage was established, then 'Copy and Paste' (^c, ^v) made sense and entered common usage. --Ancheta Wis 10:39, 8 February 2006 (UTC)


I favor merger because:

  1. The Copy and paste article is a stub.
  2. The physical practices were both done long before computers, and long after as well. What difference does the date of automation make?

--TJ 02:43, 28 February 2006 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

Cut and pasteCopy and paste — "Copy and paste" is 10 times more common on Google than "Cut and paste" Sharcho 06:08, 24 November 2006 (UTC)


Add  * '''Support'''  or  * '''Oppose'''  on a new line followed by a brief explanation, then sign your opinion using ~~~~.
  • Oppose - they're different things - cut and paste is the physcial paper version and "ctrl X ctrl V" in MSWindows terms, the other is "ctrl C ctrl V". Rich Farmbrough, 14:09 24 November 2006 (GMT).
  • Oppose, per Rich (very succinct). -- SigPig \SEND - OVER 05:26, 25 November 2006 (UTC)


In the end I've changed the article name to "Cut, copy and paste" because the article speaks of all three things. --Sharcho 18:10, 25 November 2006 (UTC)

Multiple clipboards[edit]

The current section reads like an advertisment. Mind you I was looking for an advertisement, but I was hoping for somethign that didn't look like vandalism. We need a list of common copy and paste programs. I'm using Textpad right now, but it's too much of a thin client. Mathiastck 09:41, 24 May 2007 (UTC)

Are there any text editing or word processing programs that don't provide cut-and-paste operations? I've used a dozen different editors, some on computers dating back to the early 70s, and every one of them had it in some form. — Loadmaster 16:04, 31 May 2007 (UTC)

The article states that "the first multiple clipboard utility CopyPaste appeared on the Macintosh in 1989". This needs a citation for the claim of being the first multiple-clipboard editor, which I doubt is the case; X-Windows provides multiple clipboards, and Emacs provides a multi-buffer kill ring, both of which predate 1989. The paragraph does read like an advertisement, and it contains two links to the website, which is probably inappropriate at best and a spamlink at worst. — Loadmaster 16:31, 31 May 2007 (UTC)

I went ahead and deleted the text and dubious links for CopyPaste (which were originally added on 2006-10-03 by I also merged the "Kill ring" section into the "Multiple clipboards" section, since they cover essentially the same concept. I still not completely satisfied with the result; maybe someone could tighten up the text a little. — Loadmaster 16:51, 31 May 2007 (UTC)


Copypasta is a section of text which is and has been frequently copied and pasted, optionally with slight modifications, often for humorous effect or absolutely nonsensical reasons.

Note: Searching for "copypasta" in wikipedia redirects to the article on 4chan although the article bears no mention of it whatsoever. This may be a practical thing, or it may be the kind of joke that comes from 4chan (such that the article on 4chan is copypasta)

While it is possible that the word is chan-community lingo, I would not be surprised to see it gradually spreading through the web, as most memes and internet lingo have spread from chan-communites to the general public. 17:11, 7 August 2007 (UTC)

It does appear to be spreading. I've seen it on Metafilter, and I just added a citation to Urban Dictionary in the article. I'd also like to note the similarity to the idea of "spaghetti code", but I'm not sure where it would be appropriate to make that comparison.

John W (talk) 17:59, 12 September 2009 (UTC)

I think it's cute that "copypasta" redirects to the Copy and paste section, yet the word isn't mentioned in the article. That's perfect, leave it just like that; anyone can figure out they're being given the definition. -Hoarlittlemouth (talk) 23:56, 17 November 2010 (UTC)


What's all this verb-object paradigm crap? What on earth does that have to do with cut, copy and paste? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:24, 21 September 2010 (UTC)

Seemed irrelevant to me. It was also confusing and apparent original research; no sources were listed. I've deleted the section for these reasons. Stian (talk) 18:51, 28 September 2011 (UTC)
Au contraire, the verb-object technique is relevant to the origins of cut-and-paste because it was how the same function was performed before. It's a shame that it's unsourced, but it's extermely likely that a proper source can be found, so I'm restoring the content per WP:Preserve with a 'cite' tag so that it doesn't get lost until it can be corrected. Diego (talk) 14:39, 28 November 2011 (UTC)

QED origin of Control-V for paste?[edit]

#Popularization claims

Control-V was first used for paste in the QED editor.

It cites "Deutsch, L. P, and B. W Lampson. “An online editor.” Communications of the ACM 10, no. 12 (1967): 793–799."

The ACM version is behind a paywall, but an OCR'd copy of the article appears on Lampson's web site.

On a quick scan of both this citation, and a QED manual (link reconstructed from citation on QED page), I can't find support for the use of Control-V as paste; rather, it seems to have the "insert next character literally" semantics now common on Unix (and mentioned on the Control-V page). However, I haven't read either thoroughly.

Can someone point me specifically to the reference that supports its use for paste?

-- JTN (talk) 10:45, 26 January 2014 (UTC)

The sentence was removed by an IP today ([3]). I could not find CTRL+V being mentioned for "paste" in the "An online editor" article used as a reference as well.
The info was added by User:Quinn d in 2011 ([4], [5]). Perhaps he can shed some better light on this?
--Matthiaspaul (talk) 21:51, 23 July 2014 (UTC)