Text Editing and Processing


The Clipboard



The Clipboard is an area of the computer that behaves like a short (human) memory with its strengths and weaknesses.


  • Compared to human memory, the clipboard can be given information, it keeps it, and doesn't forget
  • The clipboard memory is very huge, so much that it can contain almost anything from one character to a whole book, from a simple piece of text to a highly rich picture of millions of colors
  • Any (type of) application, by default, can use and access the clipboard


  • The regular clipboard of Microsoft Windows can hold only one unit of information. For example, it can hold only one picture at a time, or only one character, or only one paragraph of text. If you change its information, it looses the previous information and replaces it with the new one
  • The clipboard looses the information it holds when the computer is turned off

Like the human memory, you don't see the computer clipboard: You just know that it is there. There are two main ways you use the clipboard: to put information in it or to retrieve the information it holds.


Practical Learning: Introducing the Clipboard

  1. Start Notepad
  2. Type the following:
    Le C

Clipboard Operations: Copy

The primary means of using the clipboard consists of putting information in it. One of the ways you do this is to copy information from a source. To do this, you must first select that information and this depends on what you are using. The document from which you are copying an item is referred to as source.

To get text from a text-based application, first select it. To copy it, most applications have a menu called Copy under Edit.


Practical Learning: Copying an Item to the Clipboard

  1. Log on to http://www.functionx.com/html/articles/specialchars.htm then find the œ character and select it
  2. Press Ctrl + C to copy it to the clipboard
  3. Return to Notepad

Clipboard Operations: Paste

As mentioned above, copying consists of putting information into the clipboard. To use that information, you must retrieve it from the clipboard and put it where you want. This operation is referred to as pasting. The document into which you are pasting an item is referred to as destination.

Before pasting something, you should first make sure that the clipboard is not empty and, most of the time, you should know what is in the clipboard. Remember that when the computer starts, the clipboard is empty. Also, you have no way of visually checking the contents of the clipboard. You would just need to remember what you had previously put in the clipboard.

We mentioned that the clipboard could contain just about anything: a character, a picture, a book, a group of pictures, a whole library, a paragraph of text, an icon. Notice that these are disparate items that may not share anything at all, except that they are retrieved from the computer. To distinguish these items, the computer (the operating system) categorized using a technique referred to as format. Because of the differences among these items, each uses a specific format. Based on this, some items are categorized as text. Some items are categorized as images (bitmap), and so on.

To paste the content of the clipboard, most applications have a Paste item under their Edit menu. In most applications also, you can right-click the area or section where you want to paste. The context menu would have a Paste item. In both cases (using the main menu or the context menu), if you click Paste, the contents of the clipboard would be added to that section.

As mentioned already, not all items use the same format. For this reason, not just anything can be pasted in just anywhere. A text-based item such as a letter, a symbol, a word, a sentence, a paragraph, a book (as text) can be pasted in a document that can receive it. On the other hand, a picture cannot be pasted in a text-based application like Notepad because the format is not compatible. Some other applications (OLE-based, don't ask) can be pasted almost anything, even a whole object from an application that has nothing to do with the destination.


Practical Learning: Pasting an Item From the Clipboard

  1. Click the right side of C to position the caret there.
    On the main menu of Notepad, click Edit -> Paste
  2. Continue typing as follows:
    Le Cœur Dormant
    Henry de Mesquieux is a young French movie director who, once more, has produced a masterpiece of cinematography. A few years ago, his commendable ability to carry an audience started with “La Fille Cr
  3. Return to http://www.functionx.com/html/articles/specialchars.htm then find the é character and select it
  4. Press Ctrl + C to copy it to the clipboard
  5. Return to Notepad and press Ctrl + V to paste the character
  6. Type ole aux Yeux Per
  7. Return to http://www.functionx.com/html/articles/specialchars.htm then find the ç character and select it
  8. Press Ctrl + C to copy it to the clipboard
  9. Return to Notepad and press Ctrl + V to paste the character
  10. Continue as follows:
    Le Cœur Dormant
    Henry de Mesquieux is a young French movie director who, once more, has produced a masterpiece of cinematography. A few years ago, his commendable ability to carry an audience started with “La Fille Créole aux Yeux Perçants”. This movie had put its own reference in the world of wonderful pictures and won various awards, including the Marsouni Critique Consortium.


Clipboard Operations: Cut

We mentioned that you could copy an item and put it in the clipboard. When you do this, the item is only copied; in other words, a copy of the item stays in the source and a copy is made in the clipboard. If you want to remove an item from a source and have it only in the destination, you can Cut it. When this is done, the item is deleted from the source.

To cut an item, most applications have a Cut item under the Edit category of their main menu. They may also have a Cut item in their context menu that appears when you right-click. Different applications handle cutting differently. In most applications, once you click Cut, the character, word, sentence, paragraph, the whole text, the picture, the group of pictures, etc, is immediately deleted and put into the clipboard. With some other applications, the item that was cut becomes dimmed or disabled but not completely deleted.

After cutting an item and pasting, it becomes available in the destination. As stated already, if the destination is not equipped to received the contents of the clipboard because of a different format, the contents would not be pasted and nothing would happen. You would not even receive a message stating that the pasting operation failed.


Practical Learning: Cutting and Pasting From the Clipboard

  1. On the main menu of Notepad, click Edit -> Select All
  2. Again on the main menu of Notepad, click Edit -> Cut and notice that the whole text has been erased
  3. Start WordPad and press Enter to move the caret to the second line
  4. On the main menu of WordPad, click Edit -> Paste
  5. Log on to http://www.functionx.com/windows/images/cover1.gif
  6. Right-click the picture and click Copy
  7. Return to WordPad and press Ctrl + Home to move the caret to the beginning
  8. On the main menu, click Edit -> Paste to paste the picture

Text Processing



Text processing consists of adding characters, inserting characters, moving characters, removing characters, adding empty spaces, inserting empty spaces, removing empty spaces, adding words, inserting words, moving words, removing words, adding paragraphs, inserting paragraphs, or removing paragraphs. Advanced text processing can also consist of adding pages, inserting pages, moving pages, or removing pages.

There are two broad types of text you will work on when performing the operations related to text processing. Simple, or also referred to as ASCII, text is a category that includes basic types of characters recognized by the alphabet. The other category is referred to as rich text. This involves fancy techniques of presenting text. Such text can have different colors, the characters can have different sizes, and the paragraphs can have different alignments.

Although there are various applications you can use to perform text processing, they share many characteristics. Therefore, here we will learn techniques that can be applied on almost any document, regardless of the application


Text Processing and Characters

Character addition usually consists of adding a character at the end of a word. Normally, this means that you would type a new character to the right side of an existing word. Character inserting consists of entering a new character anywhere inside of a word. Character deletion consists of removing an existing character from text.


Text Processing and Words

Word addition consists of adding a word at the end of a paragraph but before the last period. Word insertion consists of adding a new word somewhere inside of a paragraph.


Text Processing and Paragraphs

Paragraph addition consists of adding a new paragraph at the end of the document. Paragraph insertion consists of creating a new paragraph somewhere inside of the document. The new paragraph can be made of text or you may be asked to create an empty space between two paragraphs.


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