How to Cut, Copy and Paste on Android

Some tasks simply come as second nature for many who’ve been using smartphones for the past couple of years, and we almost take them for granted. One in particular is the power behind being able to cut, copy and paste on our Android smartphones and tablets.

I’ve been using copy and paste on computers and smartphones for as long as I can remember, but there’s still plenty of users that don’t know about this simple, effective and powerful yet somewhat hidden feature. After being asked by a family member how to copy and paste on Android, I figured it was worth sharing for others looking for the same tips. It’s extremely easy yet differs slightly from manufacturer to manufacturer, but for the most part remains the same. So read on to learn how to save time and increase productivity on Android.

Screen Shot 2014-01-15 at 11.04.10 AM

Cut, copy and paste on Android phones and tablets works nearly the exact same way you’ve been doing it for years on a PC or Mac, only you won’t have the tap command C or command V to copy and paste. With just a few taps you can highlight and remove words, copy them from a text to an email, and much more.

Each manufacturer customization (Samsung, HTC and others) make this slightly different, which adds to the confusion, but it’s all quite easy once you lean how or figure it out.


As mentioned above the general look and implementation can differ, but overall you’ll simply need to find the string or block of text you’d like to cut, copy or paste and long press it. You’ll quickly notice a menu bar appear on the top of the screen, and here’s where most vary based on manufacturer. Stock Android has icons, which can be confusing as they aren’t labeled, but are select all, cut, copy, and paste. (Tip: Long press each icon for a reminder of what it does)

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Once you give the text a long press you’ll be presented with the drop down menu you see above with options for all the cut and copy choices, and in the text box (email, browser, etc) you’ll see the highlighted text, and this is where you can drag and cut or copy as little, or as much as you’d like. Drag the little tabs to the desired length, then proceed to the menu on the top.

If you’re in the browser you can share the text with the usual Android share button, or even do a quick Google Search with the search magnifying glass as shown in our first screenshot at the top of the page. For nearly every other app and area you’ll get the options shown below, which again are select all, cut, copy, and paste.

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Simply drag the tabs through the desired text you’d like to copy, and you’re done. From here you can instantly copy it, then paste later with the same long press. In an empty text field long press, and you’ll see a pop-up for “paste” simply tap paste and it will add anything you’ve previously copied. I use this daily, without a second thought, and soon you will too.

Of course you can select all, cut to remove sentences, and much much more with this simple yet somewhat hidden tool. Dragging the tabs can be a bit finicky at times, and sensitive, but you’ll get the hang of it in no time.

While many power users employ the cut, copy and paste feature on a daily basis, there’s many new users appearing daily on the Android platform, so this should be quite useful.