How to Easily Drag Text to Copy and Create Text Clippings in OS X

What’s the usual method to copy and paste text from a web page or any document? You highlight the text with your mouse, right click on it and select “Copy”, then go to the place where you want to paste and right click the mouse and select “Paste.” Alternatively, you might use the “Ctrl + C / Command + C” shortcut to copy and “Ctrl + V /Command + V” to paste. While this is a relatively easy method for saving text in another app (Word, Text Edit), this procedure is only limited to one set of text/content, and if you select another set of text and use the same method to copy it, it will replace the text you initially copied.

As is the norm these days, there are usually multiple methods to perform a single action. This is the case with copying/pasting text from a specific window to another. To do so, you can either use OS X’s built-in features for dragging text, or you can also create simple text clippings of the content you want to copy.

Dragging Text In OS X

As mentioned before, copying and pasting to the clipboard is a classic way to transfer text between various documents. You can also transfer text by dragging and dropping it, which is arguably a quicker and more efficient way. To do this, simply select your desired text, and click and drag the selection to wherever you want to paste it, be it a web page, new document, etc.


Note: Be sure to actually drag a word, not any blank space/blue selection field. If you don’t select a word, the text won’t move.

Create A Text Clipping To Save Text For Future Use

Dragging text lets you copy it quickly to multiple locations, but it does require you to have your highlighted area available on screen. If you have some text that you’d like to save for future use, the main method you might use is to simply copy it to a text document and save it. Another method to save it quickly for later is to simply drag the text contents to a Finder window, thereby creating a text clipping.



Note: On some systems, you may have to press the “Option” key while dragging your selected text to a Finder window.

Once you’ve created the text clipping, you can easily open it and copy/paste your required text when needed. This is quite an easy method considering that you can easily create multiple text clippings and save it for future use.


The main downside of this method is that it only copies text and not images. If you select images with text and drag it to a Finder window to create a text clipping, OS X will only store the text option, and not the image(s). A workaround for this is that you can create text clippings for all the text portions you want to copy, and you can drag your images to the Desktop or any other location to store them.



Now, when you want to embed them in the document, simply copy the text separately and insert your images where required. It’s not that simple, but it is efficient and quick.

Do you use the standard Command+C/Command+V method for copying and pasting text, or do you like to use any other method, perhaps one of two mentioned above? Or do you have another simple method you want to share with us? Either way, be sure to tell us in the comments below.

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