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Copy files on Mac OS X using drag-and-drop | secret is to hold the Option key

Posted by jpluimers on 2020/12/14

The Finder pure keyboard way of file copy+paste is using CommandC at the source position followed by CtrlCommandV in the destination position (in the destination position,  CommandV will do only a cut+paste) as the paste/copy decision is determined in the final stage.

This is unlike Windows, where CtrlC means copy, CtrlX means cut, and CtrlV finishes the initial action to copy+paste or cut+paste

If you combine mouse dragging, on the Mac it becomes Optiondrag, whereas on Windows it still is Ctrldrag.

I think the Windows ones are more consistent, especially when looking at them in table form:

Action Windows Mac
Keyboard-Only Mouse-drag Keyboard-Only Mouse-drag
copy+paste CtrlC; CtrlV Ctrldrag CommandC; Ctrl+CommandV Optiondrag
cut+paste (or move) CtrlX; CtrlV drag CommandC; CommandV drag

(table with help of HTML Table generator –

Mac shortcuts via:


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