The Ins and Outs of Cutting, Copying, and Pasting on Android

Operating systems make certain tasks, like cutting, copying, and pasting, a breeze. These actions are not only performed within apps but also between apps. As a long-time laptop and desktop computer user, I was well-acquainted with how to perform these tasks. However, when I switched to an Android phone, I initially found myself at a loss. Luckily, after some exploration, I discovered that cutting, copying, sharing, and pasting on Android is surprisingly straightforward, regardless of the app or content you’re working with. In this article, we will delve into the different techniques and tricks you can utilize to seamlessly cut, copy, and paste on your Android device.

Text selection is an essential step before you can proceed with cutting, copying, or pasting. Whether the text is editable (like a form) or non-editable (for instance, text on a webpage), the selection process is usually the same:

  • Press and hold on the desired word until it is selected.
  • To include more words, drag the handles at each end of the selection.
  • For selecting all the text within a section, tap “Select all” on the pop-up bar above the selection.

Some apps, such as Google Keep, provide an alternative method. Instead of tapping and holding, you can simply double-tap on a word to select it. This workaround can be more convenient, especially if the app supports this feature. However, not all apps, like Gmail, have implemented this functionality.

Once you have selected the desired text, a list of options will appear above the selection. Here’s how you can perform copying and cutting:

  • Tap “Copy” to copy the text to the clipboard while keeping the original text intact.
  • Tap “Cut” to move the text to the clipboard, removing the original text. Note that this action can only be performed in fields or forms where text is editable.

Android devices have a nifty feature that displays the text on the clipboard above the keyboard whenever the on-screen keyboard is activated. This feature allows you to easily access and paste the copied text by simply tapping on it at the current cursor position. This functionality works on popular keyboards like Google’s default Gboard and Samsung Keyboard, and it may also be available on other keyboard apps.

Pasting the copied or cut text is a straightforward process. Follow these steps:

  • Press and hold your finger on the desired spot where you want to insert the text.
  • When the pop-up menu appears, choose “Paste” to paste the text into the selected location.

If you intend to share the text directly with another app, the “Share” option is your best bet. For example, if you want to copy an address from a website and send it via a message on WhatsApp, tapping “Share” will seamlessly transfer the text from the website to the messaging app.

If you need to relocate text within a document, there is an alternative method. With the text selected, follow these steps:

  • Long-press somewhere within the selected text.
  • Drag the selected text to its new location, similar to using the clipboard and the Cut and Paste options.

It’s worth noting that different apps may have slight variations in their implementation of cutting, copying, and pasting. For example, in Chrome, if you press on the current site URL, a copy icon will appear for selection instead of a pop-up bar. However, as a general rule, performing a long press to select and copy, and another long press to paste, should cover most scenarios.

Working with images is a bit more dependent on the specific app you’re using. However, a long press is usually a good starting point. For instance, in Google Chrome, press and hold on an image to reveal a pop-up dialog with a “Copy image” option.

Other apps may require slightly different steps. In Google Keep, tapping on an image enables full-screen mode. From there, tapping the three dots in the top right corner will reveal the “Copy” option. In Google Docs, you can simply perform a single short tap to access the “Copy” option.

To paste an image, follow these steps:

  • Long-press on the desired spot where you want to insert the image.
  • When the pop-up bar appears, choose “Paste” to insert the image at the selected location.

However, there are certain apps, like Google Photos, that do not provide a copy feature at all. In these apps, you can tap on a photo to view it in full-screen mode. To share the image, tap “Share” and select the desired app. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to copy and paste the image within the app itself. This limitation is also present in apps like WhatsApp and Google Messages, which only offer standard sharing options, rather than copy and cut options.

While the process of copying and pasting images may vary across different apps and even be absent in some cases, transferring images from one location to another can still be achieved with relative ease. By utilizing the techniques and functionalities described in this article, you can confidently perform cutting, copying, and pasting on your Android device, regardless of the situation you encounter.


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