Home : Software Terms : Cut Definition


Cut is a command that allows you to "cut out" a selection of text or other data and save it to the clipboard. It is similar to the Copy command, but instead of just copying the data to the clipboard, it removes the selected data at the same time. For example, if you highlight a sentence in a word processing program and select "Cut," the sentence is removed from the document and is added to the clipboard. Therefore, selecting "Cut" is an simple way to both copy and delete a selection in a single step.

Objects that can be cut include text, images, audio and video segments, and other types of data. However, you may notice that some selections can only be copied and not cut. This is typically because the object is not editable and therefore can only be copied. If you cut a selection from a document, it can be pasted into another similar document. However, if you copy something else to the clipboard before pasting the selection, the cut data may be lost.

Like the Copy and Paste commands, the Cut command is located in the Edit menu of most programs. The standard shortcut for "Cut" is Control-X in Windows and Command-X in Mac OS X. (If you're wondering why it isn't the "C" key, that shortcut is reserved for the Copy command.) Therefore, you can tell if a program supports the Cut command by clicking the Edit menu and looking for the Cut command.

Updated: February 13, 2009

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