When you first fire up your new Chromebook and get to work, you’ll probably have a few questions about the slim Chrome OS and how everything works. One question that users eventually have is, “How do I copy and paste on Chrome?”
The good news is that copying and pasting on a Chromebook works very much like copying on other computer systems. Let’s go through common copy/paste tasks and how you can do them quickly.
Copying a text selection
Do you need to copy a block of text quickly? Here’s how:
Step 1: Start by highlighting the text you want to copy. On the Chromebook touchpad, you can press and hold your finger to create a selection box that will highlight the text you want to copy as you move your finger. Everything that’s highlighted will be copied. Using a mouse for this type of selection allows for a bit more precision and speed.
Step 2: Now to copy. The fastest way is the traditional keyboard shortcut, which still works on Chromebooks. Press the Ctrl and the C keys at the same time. This will automatically copy the text and store it while waiting for you to paste it somewhere else.
Step 3: Head over to the place you want to paste the text, and select this area so your cursor is there. Then press the Ctrl and V keys at the same time. This will paste the selection. Note that you can past multiple times, since the content will stay stored in your clipboard until you overwrite it with another copy.
Note that text formatting may change a bit from place to place, or that it won’t copy with the exact same appearance. There’s not much to do about this except to reformat as you go, or use a clipboard manager to strip all formatting, which may be a little better for big projects.
Copying images and video
As long as the source allows you to copy images or video (not all do), this is also a simple process. Let’s go!
Step 1: Hover over the picture or video that you want to copy, and then right click on it. For the touchpad, the right click should be set to a two-finger tap. This takes a little practice if you haven’t tried it before, but quickly becomes normal.
Step 2: If you are copying an image, you will see options to copy image, or copy image address. The URL is useful for certain coding or publishing tasks, but generally copying the image itself is what you want to transfer the content.
Step 3: If you are copying a video, you will see options to copy video URL and probably copy embed code as well. Choose which is right for you. Both the URL and the embed code can be used to copy a video link over to another spot. For pasting a video into a chat stream or other casual use, you only need the URL.
Step 4: Head to the place you want to paste, put your cursor there with a tap, and press Ctrl and V keys at the same time. This will copy the associated image or address.
Note that if you are clicking a thumbnail or a linked image, you will only see an option to copy link address. This will give you a link to the web page that the image or video can be found at. Head over to that web page if you want a more direct option.
Copying a full web page
If you need to copy everything that’s on a particular web page, this is how you do it!
Step 1: Click on a neutral part of the web page that you want to copy, where nothing else will be highlighted or chosen, and press the Ctrl and A keys at the same time. This will highlight everything on the page.
Step 2: Without clicking again, press the Ctrl and C keys to copy everything that is highlighted.
Step 3: Move your cursor over to the area where you want to paste this information, and hit Ctrl and V.
Note that this will copy everything, including headers and buttons and other web content objects, but not necessarily with the layout intact, which can look…very weird. If you want a full picture of the website instead, your best bet is to use the screenshot function.
Bonus: Copy and paste extensions
Once you get comfortable around your Chromebook, you may want to take a look at various extensions that make advanced copy and pasting easier. There are a lot of add-ons targeted at specific tasks: There is one that helps you copy multiple items at once, and another that’s designed to make copying with Office Online easier.
There are even extensions that speed up monotonous copy/paste tasks like copying rows in ADP or copying out Amazon listings for other programs. If you have a more complicated copying project, give it a search on the Chrome web store and see what comes up!