How To Copy and Paste on a Chromebook

Chromebooks are very versatile portable computers. They run off of Chrome OS which is a lightweight operating system and while it has limited functions compared to macOS, Windows, or Linux, the Chromebook has become more and more popular over the years.  Chromebooks don’t harness a lot of storage space as they use cloud storage for the bulk of file keeping.

How To Copy and Paste on a Chromebook

Chromebooks are an affordable alternative to Windows or Mac. But, some of the hotkeys and commands are different than the ones most people use in Windows and macOS. One of the crucial functions of any OS is the ability to quickly copy and paste information from one place to another. In this article, we’re going to show you know how you can do copy and paste on a Chromebook in this write-up.

Let’s dig in.

How to Copy & Paste on Chromebook

There are three widely accepted methods for copying and pasting data on a Chromebook. Each one has the same functionality, so it’s only a matter of figuring out which one you’re more comfortable with.


Hotkeys are what we call any keyboard combination that results in an action on your computer. The keyboard combination that you’d use to copy and paste on a Chromebook are:

Ctrl + C When using this keyboard hotkey combination it copies the highlighted text that you select with your trackpad.

To paste the text that you’ve copied, you’ll use the Hotkeys Ctrl + V on your keyboard.

Use the Chrome Browser

If you want to copy text, highlight it with your trackpad. 

Chromebook highlighted text

Next, go to the upper right of your Chrome browser to the three dots and click on it with your trackpad. Then, move your cursor down to Copy and click on it. This copies the text you’ve highlighted.  

Copy Browser

When you’re ready to paste the text then, navigate to the three dots in the upper right of your Chrome Browser again. Click the three dots with your trackpad then, navigate down to Paste and click on it. 

Chromebook Browser Paste

That’ll insert the text you’ve copied to your desired destination. If you accidentally paste the content in the wrong place, simply use Ctrl + X to delete it and re-paste it where it needs to be.

Use the Trackpad

To use your Chromebook trackpad to copy and paste it’s also easy. First, highlight the text you need to get copied. 

Next, use the Chromebook’s right-click function to access the drop-down menu. If you aren’t familiar with how to right-click on a Chromebook, you have two options. First, you can hold down the Alt key on your keyboard and at the same time click your trackpad. Second, you can use two fingers to press the trackpad.

Then a menu of commands appears on the screen in the pop-up box. Click your Chromebook’s trackpad on the Copy command, this will copy your highlighted text selection.  

Chromebook Trackpad copy

Click in the place you’d like to insert your text and use your preferred right-click method to access the menu. Then, just select Paste to transfer the text to your page.  

Chromebook Trackpad Paste

These options let you copy and paste text on your Chromebook. You’ve got three choices: you can use hotkeys on your Chromebooks keyboard, use the menu of your Chrome browser, or use your Chromebooks trackpad in conjunction with the Alt key.

Copy and Paste an Image

Perhaps you need to copy and paste a picture, not just text. That can be done on a Chromebook as well. To copy and paste an image hold your pointer over the image then, press the Alt key on your keyboard. Next, click your trackpad on your Chromebook while still holding the Alt key down.

A box with various options will appear on your Chromebooks screen. Move your pointer to where it says Copy image and click it with your trackpad.  

Chromebook Copy Img

To paste the image, go to your page or document where you’d like it inserted. Now, hold down the Alt key and press down on your Chromebook trackpad to bring up the quick menu and click on Paste to place your image.

Paste Image Chromebook
Pasted Image Chromebook

That’s it. You’ve now done a copy and paste of an image too.

Copy & Paste Functions Stopped Working

Some users have reported that their copy and paste functions stop working. There could be several reasons for this from an update to a setting.

The first thing to try would be another copy and paste method. If your hotkeys aren’t working, try the trackpad method, and so on.

Next, you can reset your system’s settings to their defaults. It isn’t completely unheard of that something goes haywire in the settings so doing this will put all of your settings back to their defaults.

  1. Open the Chrome browser, tap on the three vertical dot menu, select Settings, and choose Advanced.
  2. From here, select the option to Restore or Reset Settings.
  3. Choose the option to Restore settings to their original defaults.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I right-click on a Chromebook?

Getting used to a Chromebook’s functionality can be quite difficult if you’ve used a Mac or PC previously. As the trackpad has no ‘right-click’ button, figuring out how to right-click can be difficult. Fortunately, there are two ways to right-click on a Chromebook.

You can use the Alt + Trackpad option, simply hold the Alt key and then click the trackpad.

Or, you can use two fingers to click the trackpad. This is similar to how you scroll on your Chromebook, but now you’re pressing the trackpad.

Does Chromebook have a Snipping Tool?

Yes. If you want to cut-out an image and paste it somewhere else, the Chromebook makes that really simple too. Using the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + Shift + Window switch key. Your cursor will change to a small cross and allow you to cut out an image of the content you wish to paste somewhere else or save as an image to the cloud.

How do I access the Clipboard on a Chromebook?

Other operating systems have what is called a Clipboard. Whenever you copy something, it is stored in the system’s clipboard for a time so that you can retrieve it.

Unfortunately, a Chromebook does not have a clipboard. You can copy and paste only one thing at a time. The Chrome OS is an incredibly lightweight and basic operating system and it really shows when features like this are absent.

Wrapping Up

Now you’ve got the know-how to copy and paste text three different ways while using your Chromebook.  You’re able to use Hotkeys, the Chrome Browser, and your Chromebooks trackpad to get it done.

The other thing you’ve learned is you can also copy and paste images with your Chromebook just as easily.  So, you’ve got all the information you need to be a copy and paste master on your Chromebook.

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