Who invented the copy and paste buttons?

¿Quién inventó el copiar y pegar?

Even if you are not highly computer literate, you probably know how to cut and copy words, phrases or whole paragraphs from one document or text field to another. We do this so often in everyday life that we don’t even notice any more. We do it on the computer, laptop, tablet, mobile phone... but can you imagine if this button didn’t exist? It would be much less efficient our time with the devices.

For most people, using the key combination Control+C (copy) and Control+V (paste) on the computer keyboard, as well as Control+X (cut) has become a daily action, since it is a fundamental tool for restructuring a portion of text with a very simple command, as well as images, videos... These are the most basic keyboard shortcuts available.

To whom do we owe this function?

Its inventor is Larry Tesler, he was born in the Bronx- New York, in 1945, and studied at Stanford University in California. After graduating, he specialized in user interface design, making computer systems easier to use. He became a computer science expert, who in the 1970s , while working in the computer department at Xerox PARC, California, USA, devised a process by which text could be captured and sent to a computer's internal memory. Thus copy & paste was born as a system to improve productivity in all areas related to the computer.

Tesler was working on the programming of the Smalltalk-76 system between 1973-76, and it was on that project that he implemented a method of capturing text in the internal memory of a computer, i.e. "cut" / "copy", and then inserting it. in another place, i.e. "paste". These verbs were born from the old idea of manuscript editing when words had to be physically cut out of a page with scissors and pasted in another place.

The first machines that integrated the possibility of copy and paste command were Apple Lisa (1981) and Macintosh (1984).

A computer pioneer

Tesler has had a fairly successful life in the technology community over the decades: he worked in the biotech field, as a computer scientist at Apple and even served as a vice president at Amazon.com and Yahoo!

The Silicon Valley Museum of Computer History said Tesler "combined computer training with a countercultural view that computers should be for everyone.

The man who invented copying and pasting died in February 2020 at age 74, although details of his death were not disclosed. 

Continue reading