Updated: 03/13/2021 by Computer Hope
Ctrl+C or Control C

Alternatively referred to as Control+C and C-c, Ctrl+C is a keyboard shortcut used to copy highlighted text or other object to the clipboard in a graphical user environment.


On Apple computers, the keyboard shortcut to copy is Command+C.


With the C and V keys being next to each other on an English keyboard, you may mistakenly press Ctrl+V (paste) instead of Ctrl+C. If you do this, anything in the clipboard is pasted over the highlighted text. To undo this mistake, press Ctrl+Z (undo).

How to use the Ctrl+C keyboard shortcut

To use this keyboard shortcut, press and hold either Ctrl key and while continuing to hold, press C.

If you press these two keys with no text, files, or other objects highlighted, nothing is copied. Therefore, if you use the paste command, it outputs what was previously stored in the clipboard (if anything at all).


To copy all text in a field or a full page, use the Ctrl+A keyboard shortcut to select all text before using Ctrl+C to copy the text.

Ctrl+C in an Internet browser

In all major Internet browsers (e.g., Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Opera), pressing Ctrl+C copies any selected text.

Ctrl+C in Excel and other spreadsheet programs

In Microsoft Excel and all other spreadsheet programs, pressing Ctrl+C when a cell(s) is highlighted copies its contents to the clipboard.

Ctrl+C in Microsoft PowerPoint

Pressing Ctrl+C in Microsoft PowerPoint copies any highlighted text, picture, or other object to the clipboard.

Ctrl+C in Word and other word processors

In Microsoft Word and other word processing programs, highlighting text and pressing Ctrl+C copies it to the clipboard. This shortcut works with images, tables, and other objects.

Ctrl+C in a command line environment

While in a command line such as MS-DOS, Linux, and Unix, Ctrl+C is used to send a SIGINT signal, which cancels or terminates the currently-running program. For example, if a script or program is frozen or stuck in an infinite loop, pressing Ctrl+C cancels that command and returns you to the command line.

Ctrl+C in the pico command

In the pico command, Ctrl+C displays the current cursor position. For example, this command could be used to display the current line number.

Below are links to related keyboard shortcuts and individual key pages.

C, Clipboard, Copy, Ctrl, Keyboard shortcut, Keyboard terms