Home : Software Terms : Paste Definition


Paste is a command that allows you to insert data from the clipboard into an application. In order to use the Paste command, you must first use either the Copy or Cut command to save data to the clipboard. Once the clipboard contains data, you can paste the saved data into any supporting program.

The Paste command is most commonly used to copy text from one area to another. For example, you can copy a paragraph from a text document and paste it into an email message. You can also copy a URL from an email message and paste it into the address bar of a web browser. When pasting formatted text, some programs provide a "Paste Special" command that allows you to select what formatting, if any, to keep when pasting the text. Other programs include a "Paste and Match Style" command, which matches the formatting of the surrounding text.

Paste can also be used to create copies of images, video clips, audio tracks, and other data. For example, an image-editing program might allow you to paste a digital photo into the canvas. An audio production program may allow you to copy four measures of an audio track, then paste it several times to create a loop. While the Paste command supports many types of data, it will only work if the application supports the data saved to the clipboard. For example, you cannot paste image data into an audio production program or audio data into an image-editing program.

The Paste command is typically found in the program's Edit menu. You can paste data by either selecting Edit → Paste or by using the keyboard shortcut "Control+V" (Windows) or "Command+V" (Mac). The data will be inserted wherever the cursor is located in the document. If you have selected part of the document, the Paste command will typically replace the selected data with the clipboard contents.

NOTE: The Paste command can only be used to paste data into an editable document. Therefore, if you try to paste data into a read-only document like a webpage or an email message in your inbox, the Paste command will not work.

Updated: November 14, 2011

Cite this definition:


TechTerms - The Tech Terms Computer Dictionary

This page contains a technical definition of Paste. It explains in computing terminology what Paste means and is one of many software terms in the TechTerms dictionary.

All definitions on the TechTerms website are written to be technically accurate but also easy to understand. If you find this Paste definition to be helpful, you can reference it using the citation links above. If you think a term should be updated or added to the TechTerms dictionary, please email TechTerms!

Subscribe to the TechTerms Newsletter to get featured terms and quizzes right in your inbox. You can choose to receive either a daily or weekly email.

Sign up for the free TechTerms Newsletter

How often would you like to receive an email?

You can unsubscribe at any time.
Questions? Please contact us.