UX Recorder: Screen capturing software for iOS. Learn more.

Glossary » cut and paste

cut and paste

a simple device for users to move items/data into different parts of a document and between different documents and applications. A user selects an object and selects the “cut” command (from a menu or toolbar). This removes the object from its current position and places it into the system clipboard. (Alternatively, a user can “copy” the item to put it on the clipboard without removing it from its current location.) Then a user selects the destination for the item, chooses the “paste” command and the item is copied from the system clipboard to the new location (note that the clipboard still contains a version of the object).

Some variations on cut and paste include:

  • Drag and Drop: an alternative to cut and paste that allows a user to directly manipulate the object to move it from one place to another. Drag and drop is more intuitive because it doesn’t involve the intermediate abstraction of a clipboard. However, drag and drop is inconvenient when the source and destination of the object can’t easily be on the screen at the same time.
  • Paste Swap: allows the item on the clipboard to be swapped with the currently-selected item, which is dramatically more convenient for situations in which two items need to be swapped with each other. With cut and paste, a temporary space must be used to store one of the items.
  • Paste Format: allows the format of one item to be applied to another without replacing the item.
  • View Clipboard: allows users to visually see what items are currently on the clipboard.