KB1148 - Keyboard Shortcuts for Cut, Copy Paste, and Undo
Posted by John Love, Last modified by John Love on 14 April 2016 11:11 AM
What are Keyboard Shortcuts?
Keyboard shortcuts are little key combinations that are faster to use than your mouse. Over time, you might want to find a faster way to do very common tasks, particularly if you do a lot of text editing. (Once you've gone "right-click, select cut" to cut out some text a few times, using a keyboard shortcut can be a lot faster and more convenient.)
Most computer users have learned to use the mouse and on-screen menu options first, but computers have been around for much longer than that, predating mouse-and-window operating systems by decades.
The keyboard shortcuts we'll describe here are common to most software applications and system operations. In other words, you'll likely find that using Ctrl-X to cut selected text out of a paragraph will work whether you are using NotePad, Microsoft Word, or if you're just changing the name of a file on your Desktop. The most common keyboard shortcuts are available in your computer's operating system, as well as within practically all software applications that you run - including web browsers, and web applications like Moodle.
We'll look at a few of the most common ones on the Windows and Mac platforms: Cut, Copy, Paste, and Undo
On PC, it's Ctrl-X.
(To remember it, think of how the letter X resembles a pair of scissors that are ready to cut.)
On PC, it's Ctrl-C.
(To remember it, just think of C for Copy.)
On PC, it's Ctrl-V.
(To remember it, think of how the letter V resembles an arrow pointing down, as if to say "drop it here". Apparently, the Latin word "Vipectus" means "to paste".)
On PC, it's Ctrl-Z.
(To remember it, try to just remember Z.)
Where do these shortcut letters come from?
...and who decided to use "V" for "Paste"? It's been said that "V" came to be used for Paste because "Ctrl-P" had already been assigned for Print. It's also been said that V is based on the Latin word for paste: Vipectus.
The origins of the assignment of all these letters may seem lost in the murkiness of computer systems history. They most likely originated with the Unix operating system in the 1970s, which did (and still does) use a variety of Ctrl-key combinations to perform common functions. These conventions were adapted by the creators of the Windows, Macintosh operating systems, as well as other computing platforms.
Wikipedia has a large list of many keyboard shortcuts on different operating systems which may give you other useful shortcuts to use.