Object management and the clipboard

The ways of handling objects (icons, files, text, images and other data) are largely the same in the different operating systems. Functions related to object manipulation include:

  • selecting objects: this means, for example, painting a text with the mouse or keyboard, selecting an area in a photograph, or selecting a file with the mouse or keyboard.
  • moving and copying selected objects: you can e.g. move a piece of text from one page to another in a word processor, or copy an important file from your home directory to a USB flash drive.

Manipulating objects with the mouse

Manipulating objects with the mouse is quite easy. The following operations can be carried out with the mouse:

Function How to?
Select an object by clicking Move the cursor to the location you want and click once with the primary mouse button (usually the left-hand one).
Launch an object by double-clicking Move the pointer to the desired location and click twice in rapid succession with the left mouse button.
Selecting an area by painting Move the pointer to the desired location, press down the left mouse button, keep it pressed down and move the mouse (the selection changes as you move the mouse). Release the mouse button when you have painted the area you want.
Moving an object Grab the object with the mouse and move it with the mouse. Release the object in the desired location.

Managing objects with the keyboard

Many actions can be performed faster on the keyboard than with the mouse, provided that you learn a few important keyboard shortcuts. These key combinations are normally the same in most programs.

The principle of keyboard shortcuts is usually that you first hold down the Ctrl or Alt key, and then press the key that corresponds to the first letter of the command; Ctrl+C, for instance, is the shortcut for copying. The three most commonly used keyboard shortcuts are:

Ctrl + X Cut (the object is removed from its original location and is added to clipboard)
Ctrl + C Copy (the object remains in its original location and is copied to clipboard)
Ctrl + V Paste

The following operations are also very handy:

Shift + Home Selects the data between the cursor and start of line
Shift + End Selects the data between the cursor and end of line
Ctrl + A Selects all text or other data

You will find more keyboard shortcuts in the additional reading material.

Clipboard

The clipboard is a temporary storage location which can be used for moving and copying different kinds of data (objects). When using the clipboard, keep in mind that its contents vanishes when new data or files are copied to it. The clipboard is also emptied when you shut down the computer.

When you enter the Copy command for the selected object, the program you are using will copy the object to the clipboard. The object may be a text section, an image, a file, a group of files, or any entity that can be selected. Use the Paste command to insert the object in the new location. If you use the Cut command, the object will be removed from its original location when you enter the Paste command.

Note that the clipboard normally can contain only one object at a time. When you enter the Copy or Cut command for the selected object, the existing contents of the clipboard is replaced by the selected object.

The clipboard is used as follows:

  1. Select the object to be copied or moved (a file, piece of text, etc.).
  2. In the program you are using, open the Edit menu and choose either Copy or Cut.
  3. Click on the location where you want to insert the object you selected.
  4. Click the Paste command in the Edit menu.

In some programs, you can carry out this procedure using the respective buttons in the toolbar.

win10_cutcopypaste

This demonstration will show you how to move files with the help of the clipboard. The video was made using Windows 7, but the same works in other versions of Windows as well.

Specifying pasting formats

Many programs have a Paste Special command in addition to the basic Paste command, allowing you to specify the formatting for the object to be pasted from the clipboard. One commonly used option is Unformatted Text, which will paste the selected text without formatting.

Some programs, like Microsoft Office, have their own clipboard, where you can store several objects at the same time. With the Office clipboard, you can paste objects in the order you want. The Office clipboard only functions inside or between Office applications.