In human–computer interaction and user interface design, cut, copy, and paste are related commands that offer an interprocess communication technique for transferring data through a computer's user interface. The cut command removes the selected data from its original position, while the copy command creates a duplicate; in both cases the selected data is kept in temporary storage (the clipboard). The data from the clipboard is later inserted wherever a paste command is issued. The data remains available to any application supporting the feature, thus allowing easy data transfer between applications.
The command names are an interface metaphor based on the physical procedure used in manuscript editing to create a page layout.
This interaction technique has close associations with related techniques in graphical user interfaces (GUIs) that use pointing devices such as a computer mouse (by drag and drop, for example). Typically, clipboard support is provided by an operating system as part of its GUI and widget toolkit.
The capability to replicate information with ease, changing it between contexts and applications, involves privacy concerns because of the risks of disclosure when handling sensitive information. Terms like cloning, copy forward, carry forward, or re-use refer to the dissemination of such information through documents, and may be subject to regulation by administrative bodies.
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