How to Copy and Paste on a Google Chromebook

Copy and pasting is one of the most basic functions you can use on your computer, phone or tablet. As more people move towards using technology on a daily basis, we may presume that everyone has these basic computer skills covered. However, if you have just bought your first computer you may find yourself confused about how to complete these tasks. 

The good news is, it’s really not difficult at all, and with some practice it’ll soon become second nature. This article will concern itself with how to copy and paste on a Google Chromebook. The operation is however very similar on Windows and Mac computers.

If you have a specific question, please use the menu to navigate to the relevant section for your query. 

Copy and Pasting Using Keyboard Shortcuts 

This is incredibly handy and although it may seem like there are a lot of things to remember if this is all new to you, it is worth the effort. You can choose to either keep the source formatting or to paste unformatted text. 

Keeping Source Formatting 

Source formatting includes things like the font, size of text, hyperlinks (depending on what application you are pasting into), and colors. This is the right option if you want to create an exact copy of the text you have selected. 

To copy and paste whilst keeping source formatting on a Chromebook follow these simple steps:

  1. Highlight the text you want to copy. 
    1. Using your mouse, draw an invisible box around the text you want by clicking one corner of the invisible box and dragging it across the screen 
    1. Using a trackpad, click your trackpad with one finger then use another finger to select the text by drawing a diagonal across it 
  2. To copy click Ctrl and hold, then click simultaneously (this puts the text in your clipboard)
  3. Open the application you want to paste into and select where you want to paste the text
  4. To paste click Ctrl and v

You can paste the same text multiple times e.g., a message to multiple friends, as long as you don’t copy something new to your clipboard. There are ways to have multiple clipboard items, which we will discuss later. 

Pasting as Plain Text

Whatever your reason for not wanting the source formatting, pasting as plain text is just as easy. Follow steps 1-3 above and instead of number 4 do the following:

Press Ctrl and Shift at the same time and while holding press V

Copying Large Documents and Whole Webpages 

Occasionally your find yourself needing to copy a large amount of text or even an entire webpage. At those times the select tool is simply too difficult to manage and may become very frustrating to use. 

In those instances, you can use another useful keyboard shortcut which allows you to select all (it highlights all of the text in a document or a webpage). 

To select all, click Ctrl and a simultaneously, once you see that everything is highlighted you are ready to proceed with your preferred method of copying and pasting. 

Copy and Pasting Using Trackpad or Mouse 

There are times you may not wish to use the keyboard shortcuts, on these occasions you can use your mouse or trackpad depending on which you have. You may also have both as Chromebook supports having an external mouse. 

On a trackpad or mouse:

  1. Highlight the text you want to copy 
  2. Right click on your mouse or use your shortcut on your trackpad to right click (tapping the trackpad with two fingers for most Chromebooks) 
  3. Select Copy on the pop-up menu that appears 
  4. Open the application you wish to paste into 
  5. Right click where you want to paste
    1. The pop-up menu will appear again now select paste or paste as plain text according to your preference 

Copying Images and Videos


As long as the source allows it you can copy images or Image URLs (links). Follow these steps:

  1. On your mouse or trackpad right click the image 
  2. The pop-up menu will appear with the following options: copy image and copy image address 
  3. Choose the option most appropriate for you 

For example, if you want to save the image to a Word document you will want the image but if you want to share the image on Messenger you may want the URL. 

To paste simply use the pop-up menu or the Ctrl and v keyboard shortcut. 


Follow the steps for copying images, this time when the pop-up menu appears you will have three options. 

  1. Copy Video URL – gives you a weblink to the video that you can share with others or save for your own use 
  2. Copy Embed Code – this is if you want to embed a YouTube video into your blog or webpage 
  3. Copy Video URL at Current Time – this copies the video URL but would start the video at the timepoint you have selected 

To paste simply use the pop-up menu or the Ctrl and v keyboard shortcut. 

Useful Apps and Browser Extensions   

Multicopy Clipboard is a Chrome extension that allows you to save multiple items to your clipboard. You can then choose between these or select all of them to paste into your chosen application

Copy Paste Pro is another Chrome extension that allows you to override copy-paste blockers on certain pages. This can be useful if you for example need to access something while you are offline. 

Office Enable Copy and Paste is yet another extension for Chrome. It may benefit you if you use the office web app as this enables fast and effective copy-pasting by adding an additional menu to your browser.