Cutting, copying, and pasting text

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Cutting and copying text in Writer is similar to cutting and copying text in other applications. You can copy or move text within a document, or between documents, by dragging or by using menu selections, icons, or keyboard shortcuts. You can also copy text from other sources such as Web pages and paste it into a Writer document.

To move (cut and paste) selected text using the mouse, drag it to the new location and release it. To copy selected text, hold down the Control key while dragging. The text retains the formatting it had before dragging.

After selecting text, you can use the mouse or the keyboard for these operations.

Cut-icon.png Cut: Use Edit > Cut or the keyboard shortcut Control+X or the Cut icon on the toolbar.
Copy-icon.png Copy: Use Edit > Copy or the keyboard shortcut Control+C or the Copy icon.
Paste-icon.png Paste: Use Edit > Paste or the keyboard shortcut Control+V or the Paste icon.

The result of a paste operation depends on the source of the text to be pasted. If you simply click on the Paste icon, any formatting the text has (such as bold or italics) is retained. Text pasted from Web sites and other sources may also be placed into frames or tables. If you do not like the results, click the Undo icon or press Control+Z.

To make the pasted text take on the formatting of the surrounding text where it is being pasted, choose:

  • Edit > Paste Special
  • or click the triangle to the right of the Paste icon
  • or click the Paste icon without releasing the left mouse button

Then select Unformatted text from the resulting menu.

The range of choices on the Paste Special menu varies depending upon the origin and formatting of the text (or other object) to be pasted. See below for an example with text on the clipboard.

Paste Special menu.

This example includes the formatting option DDE link. DDE is an acronym for Dynamic Data Exchange, a mechanism whereby selected data in document A can be pasted into document B as a linked, ‘live’ copy of the original. It would be used, for example, in a report written in Writer containing time‑varying data, such as sales results sourced from a Calc spreadsheet. The DDE link ensures that, as the source spreadsheet is updated so is the report, thus reducing the scope for error and reducing the work involved in keeping the Writer document up to date.

Moving paragraphs quickly

With the cursor anywhere in the paragraph:

  1. Press and hold the Control+Alt keys.
  2. While holding the Control+Alt keys down, press the up-arrow or down-arrow key on your keyboard.

The paragraph will move before the previous paragraph or after the previous paragraph in your document. To move more than one paragraph at a time, select part of all paragraphs (including the end of the first paragraph you want to move and the start of the last) before pressing the Control+Alt+arrow keys.

If you are using Solaris, the key combination is Control+AltGr+arrow keys.

Tip.png If your paragraphs suddenly jumped from one place to another, the most likely reason is that you have accidentally pressed one of these key combinations.

Documentation note.png In some machines the Control+Alt+arrow key combination is reserved for screen flipping. You have to deactivate or assign different key combination for screen flipping (usually through display / graphics adapter settings in your computer) before using this feature.

Content on this page is licensed under the Creative Common Attribution 3.0 license (CC-BY).
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