How to Select, Copy, and Paste Text on the iPad

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Copying, selecting, and pasting text on the iPad works differently depending on which app or area the user is in. Here are some quick tips to make the process easier.

In apps where double tapping already has a dedicated function (such as within a web page in Safari), double tapping to select a word or paragraph of text won’t work.

To select text:

  1. Press and hold over the text you want to copy. After around 2 seconds a magnifying glass appears and the word it intends to select is highlighted in blue.
  2. Move the magnifier around until it highlights the word you want, then let go.
  3. Tap the Copy button that appears above the selected text.

To select longer text:

  1. Drag the blue bars at the beginning and end of the selected word or text. A magnifying bar will appear to make it easier to find the exact beginning or end of the selection.
  2. Tap the Copy button that appears above the selected text.

In text editing fields or apps:

  1. Double tap a single word to select it.
  2. Drag the blue bars to select more text in front of or behind it.
  3. Tap a word four times in quick succession to select a whole paragraph. Note that this requires some precision—users should quickly tap the same word each time.

To select more text at a time or to paste text:

  1. Tap and hold anywhere in the editing area and the magnifying circle will appear.
  2. Release without highlighting a word and the Select/Select All/Paste options will appear.
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  • Valarie Cantwell Says:

    I have been trying for weeks to find out how to u select text easily. I read a lot on Safari, and touching screen to scroll constantly selects text for copy/define option. I then have to either pick copy, or tap screen multiple times and spots to deselect, only to have it happen again with next scroll. Makes me crazy! Options? Thanks.

  • Shirley Says:

    Hi Mike,

    I have found that ebooks cannot be copied from. I discovered that on Kindle as exactly the same thing happened to me when I tried.

  • Mike Deschane Says:

    How do I copy and paste the selection to another application? When I highlight text in iBooks I have the option of Notes, Highlight or Share. When I select Note or Share a box appears that gives me the option to Paste but it only pastes an old selection not the current selection.

  • Seo toronto Says:

    I have been looking to a solution for this for a long time time thank you. It does not seem to keep the line formatting though. Is there a way to fix this?