Updated: 11/13/2018 by Computer Hope

The process of permanently transferring text, data, or files from one location to another without duplicating them. For most users, the easiest method of moving anything on a computer is to cut what you want to move and then paste it in a new area.

How to move text

Right-click menu

Highlight the text you want to move and then right-click the highlighted text with your mouse to get a right-click menu similar to the example shown in the picture.

From the right-click menu, select Cut to move the text to your clipboard. Once the text is cut, right-click where you want to move (paste) the text and then choose Paste.

Practice moving text

Using the below two text fields, try cutting the text in the first box and pasting it into the second box. If done successfully, the "Example text to cut" should be moved from the first text field to the second text field. If you copy instead of cut, "Example text to cut" would be in both text fields.

How is moving different than copying?

In general, to move something is to relocate it from one place to another. Its position is changed: after it is moved, the thing no longer exists in its previous location. However, when you copy a thing, the thing is not moved, or changed in any way. It is unmodified, and a new thing — a copy of it — is created.

In your operating system, when you move a file to another location on the same volume, the file contents do not change and are (usually) not relocated. Only the file name and path, which point to that data, are modified. For this reason, moving a file on the same volume is generally a very fast operation.

If a file is copied, the new file does not share data with the original file. A new copy of the file's data is written to disk. For this reason, copying a file is slower than moving it to a location on the same volume.

If a file is moved to another volume, the file contents do not already exist on the volume, so the entire file contents must be written to the destination volume. For this reason, moving a file to another volume takes about the same time as making a copy.

Copy, Cut, Paste, Software terms