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How to Copy Files and Folders in Mac OS X Lion

10 of 11 in Series: The Essentials of Working with Folders in Mac OS X Lion

Sometimes you need to move or duplicate files and folders in Mac OS X Lion. One way to copy icons from one place to another is to use the Clipboard. When a file or folder icon is selected, choose Edit→Copy (or use its shortcut, Command+C) to copy the selected icon to the Clipboard. Note that this doesn’t delete the selected item; it just makes a copy of it on the Clipboard. To paste the copied icon in another location, choose Edit→Paste (or use its shortcut, Command+V).

Other methods of copying icons in Mac OS X Lion from one place to another include these:

  • Drag an icon from one folder icon onto another folder icon while holding down the Option key. Release the mouse button when the second folder is highlighted.

    When you copy something by dragging and dropping it with the Option key held down, the cursor changes to include a little plus sign (+) next to the arrow.

  • Drag an icon into an open window for another folder while holding down the Option key. Drag the icon for the file or folder that you want to copy into the open window for a second folder (or other hard disk or removable media such as a USB flash drive).

  • Choose File→Duplicate (Command+D) or right- or Control-click the file or folder that you want to duplicate and then choose Duplicate from the contextual menu that appears. This makes a copy of the selected icon, adds the word copy to its name, and then places the copy in the same window as the original icon.

You can cut an icon’s name, but you can’t cut the icon itself; you may only copy an icon.

To achieve the effect of cutting an icon, select the icon, copy it to the Clipboard, paste it in its new location, and then move the original icon to the Trash.

When you copy a file, it’s wise to change the name of the copied file. Having more than one file on your hard drive with exactly the same name isn’t a good idea, even if the files are in different folders.

You can have lots of files with the same name on the same disk. But your Mac won’t let you have more than one file with the same name and extension in the same folder.

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