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How To Cut And Paste In Windows

Cut and Paste is a method of moving a file or folder from one location on your computer to another. For example, from your Desktop into your Documents or Pictures folders.

In use, it’s very similar to Copy & Paste, except that you don’t create any duplicates, you’re moving the original file/folder. We covered Copy & Paste on the previous page, if you missed it you can review it here How To Copy And Paste In Windows

How To Cut And Paste.

You can Cut & Paste individual files (documents, pictures, music, videos etc) or complete folders. If you Cut and Paste a folder, then the folder and everything inside it will be moved to the new location.

As an example, let’s say you wanted to move a folder (and all the files inside it) from your Desktop to your Documents folder.

Left-click once on the folder to select it. You can tell it’s been selected because a highlight will appear around it.

Windows 10 desktop with a folder marked as selected
In Windows 10, left-click folder once to select it.
Windows 11 desktop with a folder selected.
To select a folder in Windows 11, left-click on it once.

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To Cut A File or Folder

With the folder selected, right-click on it. The options menu will open.

In Windows 11, left-click the Cut icon, it’s the scissors.

In Windows 10, left-click on the word CUT.

In Windows 10, the options menu is open and the command Cut is highlighted.
Windows 10 options menu.
In Windows 11, the options menu is open and the Cut icon (scissors) is marked.
Windows 11 options menu.

There is a keyboard shortcut that you can use that works in both Windows 10 and Windows 11 to Cut a file or folder.

Once you’ve selected the file/folder (ie you’ve left-clicked on it once)

Press the CTRL key and the letter X on your keyboard.

You’re file/folder will be Cut to the clipboard exactly the same as if you had used the right-click options menu.

Fingers are pointing to the CTRL (Control) key and the letter X key.
With the folder selected, press CTRL + X on your keyboard to Cut the folder.

Navigate To Where You Want The Folder To Go.

Now you need to find the folder or drive that you’re going to move your folder to. In this example, we’re moving it from the Desktop to the Documents folder.

Open File Explorer and then left-click Documents in the navigation panel. we covered using File Explorer here How To Use Windows File Explorer

Windows 10 file explorer is open. Documents folder is highlighted
Windows 10. Open File Explorer and select Documents in the Navigation panel.
File Explorer open in Windows 11. The Documents folder is marked in the navigation panel.
Windows 11. Open File Explorer and select Documents in the Navigation panel.

Paste Your Files/Folders.

In Windows 11 you can Paste the folder by left-clicking on the Paste symbol (the clipboard icon). Or you can right-click inside the main window and then left-click the Paste icon from the options menu.

In Windows 10, right-click inside the main window and then left-click Paste from the options menu.

Paste symbol marked in Windows 11.
Windows 11 Paste icon.
Paste symbol indicated on Windows 11 options menu.
Paste icon on Windows 11 options menu.
Paste command indicated on the Windows 10 options menu
Windows 10 options menu.

Keyboard Shortcut To Paste.

You can also use the keyboard shortcut CTRL and the letter P to Paste your files and folders.


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The Folder Has Moved.

When you’ve pasted the file or folder, it’ll appear. When you go back to the original location of the file/folder, you’ll see that it’s disappeared.

In our example, the folder has moved from the Desktop to the Documents folder.

Windows 11 desktop. Where the folder was located is now empty space. Text reads "Folder was here".
The folder was on the Desktop
A blue arrow pointing to the right.
Cutting and Pasting
Documents folder is open and the pasted folder is marked. Text reads "But now it's here".
But is now in the Documents folder.

The Difference Between Cut & Paste And Copy & Paste.

Cut & Paste and Copy &Paste are very similar. The only difference is that when you Copy a file or folder, you’re creating a duplicate of that file or folder. It’s then the duplicate that gets pasted to where you want it to go. The original file/folder stays where it is.

But when you Cut a file or folder there isn’t a duplicate version created. It’s the original file/folder that gets moved.

Text being copied from one document and pasted into another one. Text reads "How to copy & paste text".
Next Page

How To Copy & Paste Text.

Copy and paste text from emails, web pages and virtually any other sort of document.

Next Page

How To Copy & Paste Text.

Text being copied from one document and pasted into another one. Text reads "How to copy & paste text".

Copy and paste text from emails, web pages and virtually any other sort of document.

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