How to Copy and Paste on a Chromebook (Text, Images, and URLs)

So, you just got a Chromebook and you want to learn how to copy and paste quickly.

Sometimes, we all need to learn the basics.

The good part? It’s very easy to get the hang of.

The bad part? There is none. Other than your time investment (but these tricks will absolutely save you time once you learn them).

You’ll be a speedy, efficient machine capable of copying a whole block of text and pasting it elsewhere within seconds. Or how about copying an image from a website and pasting it into your Facebook account?

Whatever the case, this guide will serve you well. It’ll turn you into a ninja of the duplicates.

Last updated: 1/1/20.

Choosing the right proper method for your specific purpose

To break it down, there are 4 different reasons why you’d want to copy something and paste it elsewhere. This guide will cover all of them.

You can copy text, images, web pages, and URLs. Learn one or learn ’em all.

You should use the method that suits what you’re doing for the most efficiency. Go ahead and choose the right technique by reading the following subtitles. Or simply read through all of them if you want to learn how to master your Chromebook.

I’ve labeled each technique with bold lettered heading so you can find what you’re looking for easily and quickly. Just go ahead and browse through this guide.

Okay, this is a quick lesson and shouldn’t be too difficult. So let’s get started already. I bet you’re anxious enough.

Method 1: How to copy and paste text on a Chromebook

A block of text that can be copied and pasted on a Chromebook.
Don’t want to type all of this text this out? Who does? You can quickly copy an entire block of text with this method.

This is probably the most common reason you’d want to learn how to copy and paste and is also probably the most widely-used method as well. It works with a single word, sentence, paragraph, or even entire page.

Here’s how you do it:

Step 1: Select the text you want to copy by pressing and holding your finger down on the touchpad while you swipe your finger across it. This will make a selection box appear on the screen and everything you select will be copied. The text that will be copied will be highlighted in a different color than the rest of the text. This shows exactly what you’re going to duplicate after you hit the command.

If you’re using a mouse, simply click and hold as well. Move the mouse with your finger pressed down as you select the text.

Step 2. After you’ve selected all the text you want to copy, release your finger from the touchpad (or mouse if you’re using one).

The selected text will be highlighted so you know what you’re copying.

Step 3. Press “Ctrl + C” to copy your selected text.

The text you selected is now copied to your clipboard. This means that every time you paste from now on will paste this exact text.

Step 4. Find where you want to splice in your copied text. Touch the touchpad to place your cursor there.

Step 5. Press “Ctrl + V” to paste your text. If you need to paste multiple times, just repeat Step 5 over and over.

There you go. You’ve successfully copied and pasted text on your Chromebook. Congrats. That wasn’t hard at all, was it?

Method 2: Copy and paste an image on a Chromebook

You can copy cool nature images on your Chromebook using the keyboard shortcut.
Copying and pasting images from one place to another easily on your Chromebook.

This is also super easy and works on nearly all websites. It even works offline in your local drive folders.

Step 1. Place your mouse cursor over the picture you want to copy.

Step 2. Select the image by either:

  • Pressing “Alt” and clicking on the touchpad
  • Clicking the touchpad with two fingers
  • If you have a mouse, right-click on the picture

Any of these options will work, although I personally think the second one is much faster. After you perform that action, Chrome OS will bring up a menu.

Step 3. Click “Copy image” in the menu that pops up. The picture is now saved to your laptop’s clipboard.

Step 4. Place the cursor wherever you want to insert the image you just copied by clicking there.

Step 5. Press “Ctrl + V” to paste the image. You can use the same methods in Step 2 to bring up the options menu and select “Paste image.”

Tip: If the image you copied and pasted is too small, try saving the picture instead. You can do this by selecting “Save image” in the options menu you opened up in Step 2.

And another tip: If you have a touchscreen Chromebook, you can press and hold your finger on the picture to open up the options menu.

Image not appearing? Sometimes copy and pasting pictures may not work smoothly, especially with the newer JFIF and WEBP image formats.

To get these working, you’ll have to download and save them to your laptop, then open them using the native image viewer on Chrome OS. From there, you can copy and paste them.

You can also take a partial screenshot and copy the image preview rather than the source picture.

Method 3: Copy (or save) a whole page and paste it elsewhere

Copy a whole page on your Chromebook.
You can save or copy entire web pages or documents with this method.

This involves a single step extra, but it’s really no issue. Some web pages with other objects on the screen other than text may cause issues, so make sure you highlight only what you want. This works best for documents and word processors.

Here’s how to go about it:

Step 1. Place your mouse cursor over any part of the entire page you want to copy, and then click on it to select that page. You’re telling your laptop which page you want to copy in case you have multiple pages open.

Step 2. Press “Ctrl + A” to select everything on that page. You’ll see the whole page get selected. If you highlight objects you don’t want, you’re better off using Method 1.

Step 3. Press “Ctrl + C” to copy the entire page.

Step 4. Place your mouse cursor wherever you want to paste the page, and click to place your cursor there as a placeholder.

Step 5. Press “Ctrl + V” to paste the whole page.

Method 4: Copy and pasting image, video, or other URLs

Generic URL bar of an image which can be copied using the URL or options menu.
Copying the direct URL of an image can be done easily by using the options menu or the URL bar.

If you want to copy an image, video, or other media URL on your Chromebook, it’s no sweat. Here’s how:

Here’s how:

Step 1. Find the picture or video you want to get the URL from.

Step 2. Open up the options menu by:

  • Pressing the “Alt” key and clicking on the picture or video with the touchpad
  • Pressing on the image or video with two fingers on the touchpad
  • Right-clicking on the image or video if you have a mouse

If you can get a direct link to the image (usually by opening it), you can also copy the URL from the address bar at the top of your browser.

Step 3. Select “Copy image address” in the options menu. This will fetch the direct URL to the picture and copy it to your clipboard.

Step 4.  Press “Ctrl + V” to paste the picture or video URL. Clicking on this link will bring you to the picture directly.

Did you copy that? Roger.

That’s it. You’ve learned how to copy and paste text, picture, videos URLs, image URLs and more on your Chromebook.

If you found this helpful, consider leaving a comment and letting me know, or telling a fellow Chromie. Congrats.

You’re now a certified ninja of the duplicates.

Feel free to bookmark this page for reference (“Ctrl + D”).

Want to become a Chromebook master? Check out this complete guide being a ninja.

Thanks for reading.

About Andy Z.

Andy is a casual-hardcore Chrome OS fan and contributes to the site regularly. He likes computers, tech, sports cars, videogames, and of course, Chromebooks. Thinker. Introvert. Geek. You can find him on Twitter (@platytech), or send him an email (check the "Contact Us" page).

13 thoughts on “How to Copy and Paste on a Chromebook (Text, Images, and URLs)”

  1. I was just about to throw my Chromebook into recycle pile when I saw this. Thanks so much, the 2 finger methods only takes a nanosecond and works every time.

    I got so tired of spending 20 minutes trying to copy photos using the right click. You have to do it over and over 50 times to get it to work and meanwhile the photos are going backward and forward.

    Reply
  2. When I follow step 2 and the menu pops up, Copy Image is not one of the options. Make a Copy is an option, but all this does is make a duplicate copy in the folder. Nothing is copied to a clipboard.

    Reply
  3. I am on an Acer Chromebook. I can copy and paste text but not the images. I do everything I’m supposed to do but when I go to paste, all I get is an url. What am I doing wrong?
    I place cursor over image
    I click copy image
    I place cursor where I want to paste . I press ctrl+v to paste , all I get is an url. I also another time clicked on paste, same thing, an url. Help me please.
    thank you…….phyllis jennings

    Reply
    • Hey phyllis jennings,

      This is a common bug that’s been plaguing the Internet for years now. No matter if you’re on Mac, Windows, Chrome OS, or Linux, copy/pasting images is an absolute pain and only “sometimes” works, but most of the time doesn’t. The bug spans across Chrome, Edge, Firefox, and even IE (not surprised).

      The only way to get around it is to actually save the image, then upload it to wherever you want to place the picture. I know, it’s a few extra steps and a waste of time. And I deal with it on a daily basis (typing articles on here and all).

      There are other solutions that people have come up with and you may find useful, but they’re still not as quick as just copying/pasting the image. Darn that URL!

      You can check out a discussion about it here:
      https://productforums.google.com/forum/#!msg/chrome/Ja2EN9mikYs/Baiursr-FQAJ

      Other than that, I don’t have a solution that works 100% of the time, every time. If you happen to find one, let me know!
      Thanks.

      Reply
  4. Andy, every time I try to copy and paste an image, it doesn’t work for me. All I get is an url. I did everything I was supposed to do but it doesn’t work for me. I have no trouble copying text. What am I doing wrong?

    Reply
  5. I can copy and paste pictures, but for some reason I can’t see them on the Google doc I create. I can print it and the picture is there, but I don’t see it when I’m doing it. Is there something I’m missing?

    Reply
    • Hey Shakira,

      Hmm…that’s a strange one.

      Is there a placeholder for the image when you paste it into your doc? Or does it just show a broken image? Or do you see nothing at all?

      It sounds like Google Docs is linking the image directly to the document with a placeholder link.

      Are you viewing the doc in “viewing” mode? (Go to View > Mode > Viewing.) This could also affect whether or not the image shows up.

      I’d also suggest just refreshing the page- it could be something glitchy going on as well.

      Let me know if you can’t get it working.

      Thanks.

      Reply

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