Embrace the Shortcuts

keyboard keys Ctrl C and Ctrl V, copy and paste the key shortcuts. Computer icon on yellow background

By Shawn Burke

The standardization of Copy + Paste (CTRL+C and CTRL+V) was a life-changing feature of early Microsoft Office. Gone were the keyboard layout templates for every processing program. That’s right, kids! Once upon a time, you bought a piece of paper that overlayed your keyboard to know the shortcuts an application had. I can vividly remember my father, the classically trained engineer, talking about how the administrative staff were the real geniuses since they could manipulate all those shortcuts within the programs to make executives look gifted.

Traditional pasting only allows the user to keep the last thing cut or copied. Windows 10 revolutionized the paste shortcut by integrating a catalog of previous cut and copied items. Software engineers use the Copy + Paste function every day. So much so, that many pieces of software have been written to keep a list of the things copied or cut so coders can use them again.

When you have a moment, copy something. Then, a second something. Use the Windows Key + V for a pop-up to show all the things in your clipboard. Choose the one you want to paste.

Larry Tesler is the mind we thank for this function. Tesler worked in Human-Computer Interaction, or how people and technology coexist and perform with each other. These human and computer dynamics vary drastically from using CTRL+V to paste a link in an email to life-or-death situations. My father, an aircraft engineer, said, “If we don’t calculate this right, people die.” The preceding is one of many life lessons etched with indelible ink. Caustic at first glance, what it really says, is what we do can impact the world.

Because of Larry Tesler’s efforts to bridge people and technology through the convenience of the cut, copy, and paste shortcuts, we can work faster and smarter alongside computers. When you do your job well, you might change the world, regardless of anyone knowing who you are. Take pride in what you do. It matters.