The commands «copy», «cut» and «paste» are widely used on computers today, as they save typing time. But what few people know is that they were created many years ago by Larry Tesler and incorporated into Apple by 1983, on the Lisa and Macintoch computers. The Stanford-trained computer scientist died last Monday (17) at the age of 74. Tesler worked with Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and made great contributions to the digital revolution, in addition to being considered the «father» of «CTRL + C», «CRTL + X» and «CTRL + V». Next, recall the history of the commands that are so popular today.
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Larry Tesler was considered «father» of the copy, cut and paste commands – Photo: Wikimedia
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Larry Tesler was a computer scientist known as the «father» of the «copy», «cut» and «paste» commands. Born on April 24, 1945, in New York, United States, he graduated from Stanford University, California. In Palo Alto, also in California, he worked at Xerox PARC, where he made important contributions to making computers accessible to the general population. During this period, he created the Gipsy word processor, which made the keyboard commands be reproduced on the computer screen. Until then, the content that appeared on the display depended on how the user was using the machine.
Throughout his career, Tesler has worked for companies that today are computer giants like Amazon, Xerox PARC, Yahoo and Apple, where he stayed for 17 years and held positions as President of Apple Net and Chief Scientist. It was at Apple that he created the commands «copy», «cut» and «paste», inspired by the practice of cutting text and pasting elsewhere, something common in older newspapers. Larry was also responsible for the «Find» and «Replace» functions, very common in text editors.
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The scientist defended the principle that software should have a common command base. In this way, however diverse they may be, people would find it easier to use and adapt. For Tesler, computers should not only have affordable prices, but also an interface that was accessible to the general population.
Larry Tesler passed away on February 17th. The cause of his death, however, was not disclosed. Xerox posted a note of condolence on Twitter stating that «your working day is easier thanks to the scientist’s revolutionary ideas».
Get to know the history of the ‘Copy’, ‘Cut’ and ‘Paste’ commands – Photo: Disclosure / Creative Commons
The history of the ‘Copy’, ‘Cut’ and ‘Paste commands
The idea for the controls came when Tesler was still working at Xerox, with the Gipsy word processor. However, the function only became a reality in 1983, on the Apple Lisa, and without its successor, the Macintosh, in 1984. That’s because Apple associated the function with a key combination. When copying a file, document or text, the content is stored in the clipboard of the operating system, a place for storing small amounts of data. It stays there until it is «pasted» to another destination or until the user copies another file and replaces it.
This concept revolutionized computing systems, as it started to allow greater agility when dealing with documents. Currently, it is even possible to copy, cut and paste images and application shortcuts on the computer. In essence, each of the three commands can be executed either by the mouse action box or by keyboard shortcuts, in addition to other options that appear in some programs. It is possible to use the commands even on the cell phone. Next, better understand how each command works.
- Copy (CTRL + C or Command + C): just select the piece of text you want to copy, the image or the icon and it is posted to your computer’s clipboard. When executing this command, the item is not cut or deleted, only duplicated. The copy will be saved on the clipboard until another item is copied.
- Cut (CRTL + X or Command + X): the cut option will delete the source file and keep it on the clipboard for copying to another location. According to Apple Support, just use Command + X on your keyboard to use it. On Windows, the command is CTRL + X.
- Paste (CTRL + V or Command + V): the paste option ends the copy or cut cycle. She uses the first item on the clipboard and pastes the file in the desired location. The difference is that, when copying content, a new summer of it is pasted. If the user cuts the item, he is moving it to another place.