Paste Text in a Command Prompt Window

If you’ve spent any time at all in with Linux, you’ll probably agree with me that the Windows Command Prompt is grossly lacking by comparison. One of the things that always bothered me the most was the seeming inability to copy from and paste into the Command Prompt window. How could Microsoft leave out such a seemingly useful feature–especially when competing operating systems make it so easy? The truth is that they didn’t. Like so many other useful features, copy and paste in the Command Prompt window is presented in classic Microsoft style, largely undocumented and delightfully counter-intuitive.
To copy text from a command prompt window, you will need to right-click anywhere in the window and choose Mark from the context menu. Having done that, the cursor will change from a blinking underscore to a blinking solid rectangle and the insertion point will move to the top left position in the window. Using the arrow keys, move the cursor over the beginning character of the text you wish to copy. Holding down the Shift key, continue using the arrow keys to form your selection. Pressing Enter will copy the highlighted text to the Windows clipboard.

To paste text into a command prompt window, begin by using the arrow keys to move the cursor into position where the text should be placed. Right-click anywhere in the command prompt window and choose the Paste option. The text from the Windows clipboard is pasted into the window at the cursor position.

By default, text is pasted in Insert Mode. You can change input modes by pressing the Ins button on your keyboard to switch to Overwrite Mode (denoted by a blinking half cursor).

Those who wish to use the keyboard exclusively can reach the Edit menu by pressing Alt + Spacebar and then pressing the letter E.

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  • Paste Text in a Command Prompt Window…

    If you’ve spent any time at all in with Linux, you’ll probably agree with me that the Windows Command Prompt is grossly lacking by comparison. One of the things that always bothered me the most was the seeming inability to copy from and pa…

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