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For Seniors: How to Move and Copy Content in Office 2010

For large-scale editing (such as whole paragraphs and pages of text) in Office 2010, you can easily move or copy text and graphics within the same application (even between different data files) or from one application to another.

For example, suppose that you want to create some slides for a presentation you’re giving at a club meeting. You could write the outline in Word and then copy the text over to PowerPoint to dress up with graphics and animation.

Here are two ways of moving and copying:

  • Drag and drop: Use the mouse to drag selected text or graphics from one location to another.

  • Copy to the Clipboard: Cut or copy the content to the Clipboard (a temporary holding area in Windows) and then paste it into a different location.

Drag and drop to move content in Office

To use the copy-by-dragging method, select the content to be dragged and then hold down the left mouse button while you drag it to the new location. Then release the mouse button to drop it there.

  • Dragging and dropping within a document: If you’re dragging and dropping content within a document but the source and the destination locations are too far apart to see at the same time, you may want to open another window that contains the same file and then scroll them to two different spots.

    To do so in Word, Excel, or PowerPoint, choose View→New Window. Because you need to be able to see both the starting and ending points at the same time, you may have to arrange and resize some windows onscreen.

    If you open a new window with View→New Window, the second window will have the same name but will have a number appended to it, such as Budget.xlsx:2. The second window is an alternate view of the first; any changes made in one are reflected in the other.

  • Dragging and dropping between documents: Open both documents at the same time. You must be able to see both the starting and ending points at the same time, so you may have to arrange and resize some windows onscreen. To resize a window, drag the bottom-right corner of the window.

You aren’t limited to copying content between documents in the same application. That is, you can copy from Word to Word, Word to PowerPoint, and so on.

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To make a copy of the selected text or graphic, hold down Ctrl while you drag. You’ll notice as you drag that the mouse pointer shows a tiny plus sign, indicating that you’re making a copy.

Copy to the Clipboard in Office

If setting up the display so that both the source and the destination appear onscreen at once is awkward, you’re better off using the Clipboard method of moving content. This method places the source material in a hidden temporary storage area in Windows and then pastes it from there into the destination location.

Because the Clipboard is nearly universal, you can use it to move or copy data from (almost) any application to any other application, even non-Microsoft programs. For example, you could copy text from Word and paste it into a graphics program like Photoshop, and it would appear there as a graphic. Or you could copy spreadsheet cells from Excel and paste them into a Web site-building application, such as Dreamweaver, and it would turn into a Web table.

Select the content you want to cut or copy and then either cut, copy, and paste:

  • To move something: Use Cut and then Paste.

  • To copy something: Use Copy and then Paste.

Moving or copying via the Clipboard method is always a two-step process.

The Home tab’s Clipboard group on the Ribbon provides buttons for the commands, but you can also use keyboard or mouse methods if you find them easier.

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