If you do not know how to cut and paste with the Mac, read this article in which I will explain how to copy, cut, paste and move files in the Finder using some useful keyboard shortcuts!

Especially those who have moved from a Windows computer to a Mac will have missed the cut/paste function that allows you to move files and folders to another location on the disk without creating a copy. Unfortunately, up to OSX Lion there was not the possibility to move files in the Finder through shortcuts but only through Drag & Drop, fortunately the new versions of OSX have been increasingly enriched with features allowing the user to make copy, cut and paste files in the Finder very easily!

How to copy/paste and cut/paste with the Mac?

Copy Paste

This operation is probably the most used by Mac users and allows you to copy files and folders. To copy items to other directories or disks follow these steps:

  • Select the files or folders to copy. Hold down the CMD key if you want to select more than one item with the mouse.
  • Press CMD + C to copy the files
  • Go to the destination where you want to copy the files
  • Press CMD + V to make the copy in the directory where you are located

To re-copy the same elements to other positions, simply press CMD + V where we want to add the previously selected files.

Cut – Paste

If the operation described above you already do every day, maybe the cut-and-paste on the Mac you do not know it yet and it will be very useful.

To cut then move one or more files/folders from one directory to another of the Mac follow this procedure:

  • Choose the files or folders to move. Hold down the CMD key if you want to select more than one item with the mouse.
  • Press CMD + C to copy the files
  • Go to the destination where you want to move the files
  • Press CMD + Alt + V to move items permanently to the new location on the Mac

This operation will not create a duplicate copy of the files/folders but will move the selected items from the source folder to the destination folder we have chosen.


Actually, even if in Windows we find the Cut-Paste function for files, the “Cut” nomenclature is more suitable for editing texts, in fact, in Macs we can cut portions of text with the CMD + Z shortcut ( similar to Ctrl + X in PC); for this reason OSX prefers to call the function described above with “Move“.

If you are not familiar with keyboard shortcuts, you can select files to move with the mouse, press the right mouse button above the last item selected and choose Copy “…”; then go to the destination directory, hold down the Alt key and click the right mouse button in an empty space in the folder, then choose, “Move element here” from the menu that appears.

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