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How to Copy and Paste on AndroidMobile application development has come a long way. Like many road warriors, you have made your iPad, the new mobile office. There is only one problem: copy and paste – one of your most used features – is just not up to snuff.  Copy and paste functions have been buggy in OS software and applications.  Today, they have come a long way.  If you know what you are doing and the best apps to do it with, you can copy, paste, and share with abandon.

Most users have found that the trick to how to cut and paste with Android is to use both the OS function and third party apps for backup and added features.

How to Copy and Paste on Android

Cutting and pasting in Android is easy. Two options are available. The most commonly used is Android’s built-in cut and paste function. The second option is to use Android applications. Many of these applications come with extra features and functionality.

First, let us look at how to cut and paste with Android’s built-in feature. The Android cut and paste option uses the same universal cut and paste user interface used across most software.

First, do a long press on a word in the text you would like to select. The word will be highlighted and selection guides, or tabs, will appear. Use the selection guides on both sides of the text to select the text you would like to edit. Drag on the selection guides to select your text.

Once you have your block of text selected, press and hold on the block of text and a new menu will appear.  The generic Android menu has four options – Select All, Cut, Copy and Paste. This menu may vary slightly from manufacturer to manufacturer. Other options are Share and Web Search or Google Search. Select Copy.

Switch to the app in which you want to paste. This step is sometimes easier if you have an app switching app installed.  For instance, if you are switching to a closed app, an app switcher can reduce the number of steps. We suggest a few shortcuts below under How to Easily Switch Between Apps.

Once you are in the app, position the cursor at the place where you want to copy the text. Do a long press on the place where you would like to insert the text. The copy and paste menu will appear. Select Paste.

In many programs, you will be able to use the shortcuts Control C (Copy) and Control V (Paste). If you switch between apps, the shortcuts should but may not work. A long press will call up the menu to perform the copy or paste function.

The text you have selected can be recopied. It will remain in memory until you have selected and copied a new block of text.

I Cannot Copy and Paste on My Android

Android does not always copy and paste between some apps. When copy and paste does not work, Android users have found many creative solutions.  Sometimes the copy and paste function on a virtual keyboard will work when the inbuilt function does not. A copy and paste app is a reliable backup. See the suggestions below under Copy and Paste Apps for Android.

If your device is low on memory, it may not perform some operations such as copy and paste. Individual documents may prohibit copying. Many people use PDF software because it is easy to encrypt with restrictions. Enterprise systems can restrict copying. Oracle’s New Mobile Security Suite for Android has the ability to limit operations. As a data loss prevention feature, it can limit copy, paste and print features.

If copy and paste does not work within an app, the problem may be the app. It is not unheard of for new software releases to have such bugs and glitches. You can usually find a solution and report the problem on online forums. Keep in mind that some apps do not have a copy and paste function. Facebook is an example. Facebook wants you to share information with friends.

Copy and Paste Apps for Android

Android copy and paste apps sometimes work when the inbuilt function does not, so it is good to have one on your Android device as a backup. Not all apps work independently. Some are just overlays of Android’s copy and paste feature.  They simply provide a different interface for accessing it. Many users have learned how to cut and paste on Android using these apps. Today, Android’s copy and paste function is more reliable. Third party Android copy and paste apps are still highly desired for their value-added features. Following are some of the most popular apps:

CopiePe allows users to save frequently used words and sentences, and use a timestamp. Extended clipboards conveniently sit in the status bar and/or can easily be called up with a shortcut key.

With Copy and Share, you can easily share the clipped text with others through a link to sharing applications.

Multi Copy Paste saves all of your clipped text. If you accidentally copy over copy text, you now have a way of recovering it.

ClipSync saves text to both your smartphones and PCs.

How to Switch Between Apps

Newer editions of Android’s OS allow you to easily switch between open apps, but what if the app you want to switch to is closed? Going back to the main screen and opening the applications box is time-consuming and irksome. There are lots of apps that can quickly switch between apps.

With a swipe, Swapps shows open apps at the side of the screen.  Even better, you can pre-select starred apps that stay inside the side box.  Most switching apps access open apps, recently run apps and pre-selected apps. There are also shortcuts to closed apps. Check out 10 Android Apps for Faster Task Switching to make copying and pasting in Android as easy as a swipe.

There is definitely more room for innovation in Android copy and paste and switching apps. If you want to make money with Android mobile apps, copying and pasting are among the most used functions on Android.  If you can improve the user experience, you will have many happy customers.

If you are still not happy with your copy and paste options in Android, consider designing your own user experience. In a few minutes, anyone can learn to design basic Android apps. Enroll in How to Make App for iPhone, Android, Kindle Without Coding or Android Apps in 1 Hour: No Coding Required.  If you do design a better app, consider sharing it. Many businesses use apps as promotional tools. They no longer give out pens and coffee mugs with their logos. A copy and paste app with your brand stamped on it that makes your customers’ lives easier every day is one way to gain customer loyalty.

Page Last Updated: March 2014

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