Why Ctrl + C for copy but not Ctrl + P for paste?

  • Why was the Ctrl + C key sequence selected for copying text, however Ctrl + P was not selected for paste in Windows?

    You mean Vaste right?

    In addition to existing answers - `Ctrl` + `P` is also the universal shortcut for `Print`. You'd need to have a non-intuitive print shortcut, and in that scenario you may well have ended up asking why `Print` is not `Ctrl` + `P`.

    If you really want to use separate hands for copying and pasting, you can use `Ctrl` + `C` for copying and `Shift` + `Insert` for pasting. I sometimes use the latter for pasting when I'm not using a mouse, and it's even easier to do with the right hand than `right Ctrl` + `P`.

    in addition to the ergonomic reasons of it being close to ctrl and to c- I would also add that ctrl and x for cut seems rather logical, an x does look a bit....cutty doesn't it? Thus you have 2 out of 3 that are sensible from a lettering pov. Makes sense to keep them as a set even if the 3rd one is rather left out.

    Incidentally, I note this question says "selected ... in Windows"; I was under the impression that the X / C / V scheme originated on early versions of MacOS. MS-DOS (and therefore, I would expect, early Windows) programs used Shift-Delete / Ctrl-Insert / Shift-Insert, which is often still available as an alternative.

    In addition to the other answers, the V looks like an "insert here" mark, which may have been a reason for selecting it, possible after the P was already taken for "print".

    If the day ever comes that pasting something is `Ctrl+P` then I will hunt down the creator. When programming, 99% of the time I will need to copy something from line #4 and paste it on line #s 35, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 495, 856, 1298, and 3495; this also includes miscellaneous copy+pasting in between. So if were forced to let go of my mouse for every paste operation to sniper that `P` key then I would not be a happy programmer. What would print be, `Ctrl+PP`?

    I see a lot of guess work at this answer with nothing to back it up. I would think this would get a substantive answer on the programmers stackexchange or the unix stack exchange.

    @Teifi, I think your answer is closer to the mark. Ctrl + P was not available for paste since it was already in use for Print so a different shortcut had to be chosen. That's when, I think, that 'V' was chosen for its proximity

    I'm still very annoyed that Ctrl + C is used as copy as I'm used to it being for the break signal...

    @MonkeyZeus I actually gave up trying to learn the Dvorak keyboard layout for this very reason. Having to re-learn how to type wasn't too bad, but _keyboard shortcuts_ being in different locations? Unacceptable! ;-)

    @IMSoP Only after IBM Common User Access became commonplace. Before then, it was a hodgepodge, with just about *every single application* doing it differently. Consider Norton Commander's supplied text editor, which IIRC used F3 for "mark" and F8 for "delete". Or look at the Wikipedia article's examples for something as mundane as *loading a previously saved file*.

    I'm sure the OP would just love VIM! `p` for paste, `y` for yank (copy). It's by far the most intuitive software available! :wq

    I am gonna be honest I really think it's just that Ctrl+p was print and nobody really thought about it more than that. I can imagine the conversation. "So what should the shortcut be for paste" "Ctrl + p?" "Damn that's already taken for print" "Screw it what's not taken?" "Ctrl + v?" "Great"

    @IMSoP: Windows originally used various combinations of modifier keys with the `Ins` and `Del` keys: `Ctrl+Del` = cut, `Shift+Ins` = paste, `Ctrl+Ins` = copy. (They still work.) It made partial sense, pasting is a form of insert, and cutting is a form of deletion, copying is...okay, they punted. But...well...people didn't like it. It was awkward for touch-typists, hard to remember which modifier to use, etc.

    And the irony in Print Screen was never used for printing, just Copy to clipboard.

    @MonkeyZeus: I think you'd also be hunted-down, on other sites still useing "ctrl-P" for "Print now!", by angry managers wanting you to explain why you printed the whole thing 12 times

    @MonkeyZeus: I can *just* hit CTRL-P on this laptop with my left hand using the left CTRL key. Pianists would thrive.

    @SteveJessop Your invitation to my hunting mob has officially been rescinded (ಠ╭╮ಠ)

    We are forgetting that left handed users use the mouse with the left hand and copy with the right with Ctrl-Insert and paste with Shift-Insert. Why? Because Ctrl and Shift are close together and insert is usually where your pointer finger lays when the thumb is on Ctrl or Shift.

  • Ameen Akbar

    Ameen Akbar Correct answer

    6 years ago

    Notice that C-copy, X-cut and V-paste are next to each other on the keyboard. Also they are very close to the ctrl key. if a user copied something to the clipboard, the next most probable action would be pasting what was copied. So compared to P, while it makes sense as a language, but from a HCI perspective. it'll be easier on the hand and fingers to go for ctrl+V

    enter image description here

    Imagine if undo was Ctrl+U. It's easy enough with two hands, but if you had one on your mouse, it's a stretch for those with smaller hands.

    @JungLee Welcome to the world of `QWERTZ` keyboard users, where [Y] and [Z] are switched around...

    @FlorianPeschka or AZERTY to a lesser extent

    Or Dvorak to a greater extent.

    And V sort of kind of looks like the tip of a glue container, pointing down. Sort of.

    Is this a guess at the answer or do you have a source?

    @Kroltan this is false. the V is clearly the open jaws of a pair of scissors, and the C is the blunt end of a well-used eraser. V should be cut, C delete, and X to find the treasure.

    Can you find a better suited image? *Option* is highlighted but this key doesn't exist on the majority of keyboards.

    @A.L - It's clearly a Mac keyboard. But the shortcuts are basically the same on standard Windows keyboards. Just the control keys are slightly moved around a bit.

    And Ctrl + P is usually "Print".

    The v looks like an inverted insertion point carat. Hence "paste here".

    why not ctrl+x for paste ? it's also near.

    @FlorianPeschka: For some time, MacOS applications tended to use Cmd-Y,X,C,V for undo, cut, copy, paste in German localisations because of their keyboard positions. Some actually checked the keyboard and adapted. Today ZXCV is the standard for undo, cut, copy, paste and nobody worries why; that's how it was when today's users played with dad's computer as little children.

    @SeptianPrimadewa One plausible reason is the left-to-right reading convention in Western society. Paste is on the right because it happens after copy.

    @JungLee While we're lucky to have [Ctrl] [Z] as undo, there's unfortunately way too many applications that still use [Ctrl] [Y] to redo and [Y] is right next to [U]. Luckily most things are using [Ctrl] [Shift] [Z] to redo now days, but there's still a sizable number of apps that don't.

    The location of Ctrl doesn't seem relevant on a Mac keyboard.

License under CC-BY-SA with attribution


Content dated before 7/24/2021 11:53 AM