Cut and Paste Files & Folders in Mac OS X
The Mac now has the highly desirable “Cut and Paste” file feature throughout the OS X desktop and Finder, allowing users to truly cut and paste to move the selected documents or folders to a new location, rather than just making a copy of them. In this sense, the cut & paste ability behaves much like the Windows explorer counterpart, and it represents a fast and efficient way to move and relocate files from one location to another location, without using the standard drag & drop approach that has been standard on the Mac since the origins of the OS.
Using the cut/paste file feature can be seem a little tricky at first, but it’s really not complicated. All you need to do is learn to differentiate the keystrokes that make the action happen. Let’s cover exactly how to cut and paste to move files and folders around.
Cutting & Pasting Files and Folders in Mac OS X is Easy, Here’s the How To
What you need to do first is select files in the Mac file system browser, known as Finder, and then combine a series of keyboard shortcuts. The keystrokes necessary for cutting and pasting files on the Mac are as so:
- Command+C copies the files or documents, note they won’t be ‘cut’ yet
- Command+Option+V pastes the documents into the new location, cutting it from the prior locating and moving it to the new location
Remember, you must have a file selected for the cut & paste to work.
If you just hit Command+V you will only move a copy of the files into the new location, as in a true copy and paste, rather than a cut and paste function. Notice holding down the Option key also changes the menu text to show “Move Items Here” to further signify the difference.
You can see this directly by pulling down the menu itself to see the keystrokes:
This is a feature many Windows converts have been wanting for a long time. Prior to this, users would drag and drop items into their new locations to move them, or use the command line mv tool. Those methods still work too though, obviously, but the cut and paste methodology is a very welcome addition.
This works the same within OS X Mountain Lion and OS X Mavericks, as well, and will likely continue as a feature in the future versions of the OS X desktop as well.