Directories, Files, Multiples, Oh My!
If you're reading this article, you most likely know how to Copy and Paste text. That is still a big deal given that most users browsing the internet don't how and think paste is for eating. OK, you caught me, I made up the part about eating paste. There are many more places in Windows and most operating systems to use Copy and Paste. Most of us work with files one type of another on our home PCs or at work. You might like music and download a lot of songs, or perhaps you take a lot of pictures of your family….or just yourself. In any case, knowing how Copy and Paste can help in working with files on your computer a lot easier.
First and foremost, files are always organized in directories. Did you know you can click on a directory and Copy it? It's the same process as with text, you just click to highlight the directory, then execute a Copy command (via your favorite way) and the ENTIRE directory is virtually on the Clipboard! Lastly, navigate to the destination directory and execute the Paste command! Now you have an exact copy of the original directory! I would be remiss if I didn't bring up a caveat to Copy and Paste. When you Copy a large directory, you have the potential of creating a space problem on your PC. Since we are not MOVING the directory, when we execute the Paste command we are creating a Copy of the original directory, which is essentially doubling the size of that directory on the PC.
If we can Copy and Paste directories, what about files? I'll bet you a jar of paste you can! The process for files works almost identically to directories. Just click to highlight the file, then execute a Copy command (via your favorite way) and the file is on the Clipboard! As a quick sidebar, the Clipboard doesn't really have the file, it just knows which file you told it to Copy, similar to an address of a house. Lastly, navigate to the destination you wanted for the file and execute the Paste command! This process is especially useful if you have a document you want to edit, let's say 3 different ways, and you want to create 3 copies of the original quickly. Instead of opening the file and doing Save As 3 times, simply hightlight the document (file), Copy it, and Paste it 3 times. Presto!
Now that we have Copy and Paste for directories and files under our belt, understanding multiple file or directory Copy and Paste is the logical next step. Not only can the Clipboard remember the "address" for the file which we clicked Copy, but it can remember multiple files or directories too! Kids, try this at home, it works! Go into a directory with multiple files and click to highlight a single file. Now hold the Control key down and click on other files too! Notice how the other files are getting highlighted in blue too? I think you can figure out where I'm going with this example. Any files or directories that you clicked that are highlighted in blue can be used in Copy and Paste!
The process of Copy and Paste can be leveraged for so much more than just text. Unlocking the use of this process on files and directories can feel like removing of shackles for those who manage a lot of files. There are even more tricks for highlighting files and directories than just clicking them with your mouse. But what if you have a directory that you don't want to Copy, but you would rather move it to another location? Ah ha, you have just stumbled upon Copy's even twin brother, Cut! Stay tuned for my next installment in the series!