How to copy and paste on a Chromebook

We live in a world full of digital shortcuts. They’re a bit different when using a laptop touchpad, but overall, some shortcuts — such as copy and paste — are seemingly universal across platforms. That holds true with Chromebooks, which offer identical copy and paste functions found in Windows and MacOS.

However, there are a few different ways to go about the traditional Ctrl + C and Ctrl + V methods. Learn them all here.

Further reading

Copying a text selection

Arif Bacchus/Digital Trends

Copying and pasting text on a Chromebook is easy. In fact, the method is similar to MacOS and Windows. All you need to do is follow three simple steps.

Step 1: On a Chromebook touchpad, press down with one finger and use another finger to draw an invisible box around the text you want copied, and then release both fingers. On a mouse, press down on the button, create a box around the text, and release.

Step 2: To copy, press the Ctrl + C keys simultaneously. Alternatively, you can select Copy on a pop-up menu when you right-click using a mouse, press the Alt key while tapping a touchpad, or tap with both fingers on a touchpad.

Step 3: To paste, click in the area where you want the copied text to reside and press the Ctrl + V keys simultaneously. Alternatively, you can select Paste on a pop-up menu when you right-click using a mouse, press the Alt key while tapping a touchpad, or tap with both fingers on a touchpad.

Since the text remains in the clipboard until you type Ctrl + C again, you can paste the current text multiple times. Chrome OS does not save text formatting to the clipboard, however, so adjust the style as needed.

Copying images and video

Arif Bacchus/Digital Trends

Want to copy a funny cat meme? How about an URL you really want to share? As long as the original source allows you to copy (not all do), this is a simple process.

Step 1: Hover the mouse pointer over the picture or video you want copied and right-click. On Chromebooks, you can press the Alt key while tapping the touchpad with one finger, or use two fingers to tap the touchpad.

Step 2: We divided this into two parts:

  • If copying an image – Select Copy Image or Copy Image Address on the pop-up menu. The URL is useful for certain coding or publishing tasks, but generally copying the image itself is what you want.
  • If copying a video – Select Copy Video URL, Copy Embed Code, or Copy Video URL at Current Time on the pop-up menu. You can use the URL and embed code to copy a video link. For pasting a video into a chat stream or other casual use, you only need the URL.

Step 2: To paste, click in the area where you want the copied text to reside and press the Ctrl + V keys simultaneously. Alternatively, you can select Paste on a pop-up menu when you right-click using a mouse, press the Alt key while tapping a touchpad, or tap with both fingers on a touchpad.

Note that if you are clicking a thumbnail or a linked image, you will see an option to Copy Link Address. This merely provides a link to the parent website hosting the photo or video. Otherwise, you can copy a thumbnail and its URL.

Copying a full web page

If you need to copy everything that’s on a particular web page, follow this method. It copies everything, including headers and buttons and other web content objects, but not necessarily with the layout intact.

If you want a full picture of the website instead, your best bet is to use the screenshot function.

Step 1: Click anywhere within a webpage (no images) and press the Ctrl + A keys simultaneously. This keyboard shortcut highlights (selects) everything on the page.

Step 2: Without clicking again, press the Ctrl + C keys simultaneously to copy everything that is highlighted.

Step 3: To paste, click in the area where you want the copied contents to reside and press the Ctrl + V keys simultaneously. Alternatively, you can select Paste on a pop-up menu when you right-click using a mouse, press the Alt key while tapping a touchpad, or tap with both fingers on a touchpad.

Copy and paste extensions for more specific tasks

One of the advantages of Chrome is that users have access to a plethora of extensions to make their work easier — including copy-and-paste extensions. Several have been cleverly designed to overcome copy-and-paste obstacles that the native tools can’t always deal with. Below are a few of our favorites and the tasks they are designed to accomplish.

MultiCopy: MultiCopy is a tool for those who need to copy many different sections at the same time and manage them all together instead of one at a time. It works with Chrome storage to create an extra bit of space so you can store as many copies at once as you need to. You can either select these copies one at a time to paste as you need or paste them all at once after each other. The copies are backed up on Chrome to help avoid losses.

Office Enable Copy and Paste: This adds a small set of tools to your Office web app that allows you to quickly copy or paste with a right-click menu, an option that’s not traditionally offered. Note that this is for the web app, not an independent Office app, but it’s very effective if you are working with the online version.

ADP Copy & Paste: If you or your business work with a lot of automatic data processing sheets to fill out, entering all those fields can be tedious. Copy and paste isn’t always enabled, especially on web versions. This extension makes sure that you can copy and paste when working on ADP documents. In the right circumstance, it can save a lot of time and help prevent basic processing errors.

Copy Paste Pro: Whether it’s a design choice or for security reasons, some websites block basic copy and paste functions for their content. This extension specializes in enabling copy, paste, select text, and right-clicking for websites that don’t usually let it happen.

Copy As Plain Text: This handy tool removes all formatting from a section of text when you copy it. This allows you to paste it into an email, web form, or other fields without worrying about that formatting causing problems. If you fill out lots of web forms and formatting causes you frequent headaches, this tool can help out.

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