Mac OS X: Clipboard Keyboard Shortcut Flaw

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Macintosh
April 1st, 2003 • 10:53 pm

This is a very problematic issue, because the keyboard shortcuts for Copy, Cut, and Paste are so universal and so ingrained (cmd-C, cmd-X, and cmd-V on the Mac; ctrl-C, ctrl-X, and ctrl-V in Windows).

I cannot count the number of times where I have done the following:

  1. select a chunck of text
  2. hit cmd-X to cut it (or cmd-C to copy it)
  3. select another chunk of text to be replaced with the contents of the Clipboard
  4. try to hit cmd-V to paste it and accidentally hit both C and V at the same time while holding the cmd key, because I’m going too fast and my finger movements are now accurate enough

And what does Mac OS X do? Instead of pasting the contents of the Clipboard on top of the new selection (the one I want to replace), it first copies the new selection to the Clipboard (cmd-C) and then pastes the contents of the Clipboard (cmd-V), which are now the same as what’s already selected! Argh!

In other words, it is far too easy to accidentally hit cmd-C-V instead of cmd-V, and this has the highly unfortunate consequence of erasing the current contents of your Clipboard and replacing it with the current selection before pasting it over the new selection, which effectively amounts to doing nothing.

Very simple, very common, and very annoying!

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