Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Using the Copy or Move Text Keys.

Using the Copy or Move Text Keys

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated October 5, 2019)


Many people use the Clipboard to copy text. This deletes what was previously in the Clipboard, replacing it with the selection you are copying. There may be times, however, when you don't want to disturb the contents of the Clipboard. Word allows you to bypass the Clipboard and copy text using the keyboard in this manner:

  1. Highlight the text you want to copy.
  2. Press Shift+F2. The message Copy to where? appears in the status bar.
  3. Move the insertion point to where you want the copy pasted.
  4. Press Enter.

If you want to move text instead, all you need to do is use F2 instead of Shift+F2.

Word supports two additional independent ways of moving text in a document: the Spike and the enhanced Clipboard. They are described in other WordTips.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (8655) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Using the Copy or Move Text Keys.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...


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What is 6 + 3?

2019-10-19 12:00:54


An additional thought. I have on rare occasions, typed a password in NotePad and copied it for pasting in a app that tends to be persnickety about accepting my password. If rejected, I retry by pasting again. I would then do another copy to overwrite the clipboard, not realizing that the clipboard history is still there. You can mouse over an historical entry and click on the down arrow to delete an item on the clipboard. If you use a password manager for logins, I suggest that you check to make sure that the password manager does NOT post the password on the clipboard (or deletes it, if it does).

2019-10-19 11:23:02


Thanks Allan. I took a quick look ClipClip's web site and it does indeed look like a great utility.

I noticed that you are Allan, not Allen Wyatt. Since you indicated that you have mentioned ClipClip on numerous occasions, I presume that you are a frequent commentor here.

By the way, the clipboard history appears to be common to all of Windows (which makes sense), not just Microsoft apps like Word and Outlook. For example, while in Chrome, I can copy the URL and then copy some of the contents of the Web page. When I switch to Word I can paste both there.

2019-10-14 12:54:25


This suggestion does serve a purpose, but it is very limited.
I have expressed on numerous occasions that ClipClip is a marvel of a clipboard app.
It's free. Try it out.

2019-10-14 09:33:16


@ TD Yes, exactly! And if you were used to hit Ctrl-C twice, at the bottom of the panel of clipboard history you just discovered, there is an Options button where you can restore this functionality...

2019-10-13 13:56:55


Thanks JMJ. I had forgotten about the SPIKE -- I guess because I never seemed to find it useful for the type of work I do. Your reply prompted me to search my notes for what think of as an enhanced clipboard. In older versions of Word, you could hit Ctrl+C twice to view a history of clipboard contents. In later versions (with the ribbon) click on the arrow at the bottom right of the "Clipboard" group to see that history. I think today is the first time I ever clicked on that arrow.

2019-10-12 10:27:32


@TD : Just search "Spike": it will give you only 6 answers and I think you'll get your answer amongst them :-)

2019-10-05 07:42:29


Using the search engine on your site I could not find a tip for "enhanced clipboard" (with the quotes) in the search field. Without the quotes, there are too many search results that match only on clipboard. I also tried just enhanced, but no luck there either.

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