Cut and Paste Files: a “feature” of OS X 10.5?

Recently, on a Mac OS X user found a way to enable the “Cut” command in the Edit menu in Finder. Full tip can be found here. When enabled, the item you cut gets placed into the trash. It appears to be half-done.

I find it sad that there is no cut and paste ability by the Finder. I am not sure I understand what kind of demented logic refuses to give Mac users a simple cut and paste feature that has been available on Windows as long as I can remember (I’ve used Windows since 3.1). I am not looking forward to the touting of this new “feature” in OS X 10.5. It should not be a feature. It’s a necessity.

And while I’m ranting, give me two buttons with my trackpad. Using two fingers on the trackpad as a right-click or control click is a decent stop-gap solution. However, why not give the users two buttons on a laptop? I’ll even accept the idea that two buttons may confuse users. My solution – put two buttons on the “Pro” models and a rocker switch on the non-Pro. Just give me my right click and cut and paste features. Copy Windows, Apple. If Apple believes that a second mouse button will confuse the people who are shelling out $2000 for a laptop, they’ve got issues.


22 thoughts on “Cut and Paste Files: a “feature” of OS X 10.5?

  1. I really, really miss cut and paste in OS X. It’s just one of those failings of OS X I have a hard time understanding. Seems someone confused “making the interface mouse friendly” with “forcing people to use a pointing device”.

    Sadly, it seems Path Finder (which I am testing right now) doesn’t do cut and paste either (perhaps because it relies on the underlying Finder functionality?).

    Along with resolution independence and an option to make mouse acceleration more XP-ish, this is a “feature” I would really like to see in 10.5.

  2. Ok, if you want to install your own keyboard shortcuts for cut/paste functionality until Apple decides to make it official do this:

    Install OnMyCommand from
    (By copying the program file to Applications.)
    Install OMCEdit from inside the OnMyCommand package (by copying the program file to Applications).
    Install Shortcuts from
    Go to -> Online archive of user submitted commands -> view “File” commands by category -> 212 Cut Item(s) -> Open (Firefox gives a inappropriate error window.) Then save that text file somewhere.
    Do the same with 213 Paste Item(s).
    Run OMCEdit and File -> Import those two commands.
    You can now ctrl click -> Cut and Paste Item(s) Finder items.
    Now quit OMCEdit and run Shortcuts.
    On the Setup tab start the ShortcutObserver and add it to your login startup.
    On the Assign Hot Keys tab under File select Cut Item(s) and assign it Shift Command X.
    Under Folder select Paste Item(s) and assign it Shift Command V (or whatever you want that doesn’t conflict with other shortcuts).

    Quit Shortcuts and give it a try!

    Many thanks to Abracode, Knut Lorenzen and Fredrik Andersson!

    Kevin Serwick

  3. If you think THAT’S dumb, try being a switcher and losing THOUSANDS of files because of Mac’s REDICULOUS folder-replace method. Unlike Windows, it replaces the WHOLE folder, rather than intelligently replacing the individual files with the same name inside the folder. I lost GB this way WHEN I WAS SWITCHING. I would be very surprised if I’m the only one. This IDIOTIC aspect of the finder is actually very invconvenient as well: if for some reason a move-operation is interrupted (eg. due to lack of space), you have to MANUALLY and VISUALLY go thru and differentiate the files. It’s A JOKE! And i will be discouraging every person I meet from switching until both the CUT/MOVE operation is provided, and this DUMB-FOLDER-REPLEACE is *replaced* with intelligent-folder-replace. Oh one more thing: do you see any WARNINGS to switchers about this anywhere from Apple? It’s ironic that is is when you are actually TRANSFERRING your files onto your new mac that this DISASTER is most likely to happen to you. To me it shows how much Apple cares about its (new) customers: very little indeed.

  4. This is something that infuriates me (and that gay spinning wheel)!
    Apple should take note of what’s happening on the Linux desktop front, it already seems to be way more intuitive than OS X.

  5. I am a happy Mac user but I must admit (because I am a Xp user at work) that certain little thing are indeed more user friendly in windows than OSX.

    Would be nice that the Mac genius try a bit to met the basic needs of the poor mortals. 🙂

  6. Apple probably thinks the ability to cut files would make it too easy to lose files. wouldn’t it? being a Mac user of 20 years and not much of a Windoze user, i don’t know what happens to files between the time you cut them and the time you paste them, but aren’t there about four million opportunities in there for the files to never reach their intended destination? what happens if you cut a file and then your machine crashes? how about if you cut a file, get sidetracked, forget you cut the file and either cut or copy something else onto the clipboard (with no multiple-clipboard utilities installed) or shut down your machine or otherwise forget about the file until the next time you go looking for it and find it gone?

    it could just be due to my own ignorance of the subject, but the ability to cut files has always seemed to me like a double-edged sword: convenient and dangerous. and Apple doesn’t like to make it too easy for every unthinking computer user to do potentially dangerous things.

  7. oh, and to tim, who loses files by replacing the folders that contain them: this is just a matter of your not understanding how to do, on the Mac, what you want to do: if you want to “smart-replace” the contents of a folder, you simply *open* the source folder and select the *contents* (Command-a works well for this), then drop *those* onto the destination folder. you’ll be given an opportunity to replace or not replace files with the same name on an individual basis or, by checking the “apply to all” checkbox, collectively.

  8. tiger: Cut files aren’t actually moved on Windows or Linux system until you paste them. If your computer crashes or you copy something else onto the clipboard, they’ll simply stay in their original location untouched.

    I sympathize with the idea of trying to protect ‘unthinking’ computer users, but what about the thinking ones who can’t do something that’s absolutely fundamental on any other OS? It’s like taking the knives out of your kitchen and chopping everything with a spoon in case you cut yourself.

  9. Holy shit, I agree. I just bought a Macbook and just trying to copy data from a cd to a folder has been brutal. Every time I paste into the folder finder shuts down.

  10. “why would anyone want 2 button on a mc..I am ey much happy having 1 button….much easier to use that 2 button ones…”

    So you don’t have to do command click every time you want to right click. It’s much easier just to right click.

  11. I completely agree with you on the cut and paste “feature.” I found this post in an attempt to finally locate just such a “feature” and am still unable to do so. It’s been bothering me for two years now (ever since I got a Mac).

    Some of the forums are downright nasty when people ask about this, too! Hardcore Mac users from way back when have no clue what converts are talking about. They act as if these are dumb questions. Tonight I saw the response, “Why would you want to do that? This is a problem, not a feature, if you cut something and forget to paste it, well, then, you’ve lost your file!” Not so in Windows. In Windows, cut greys out the file until you paste it OR DO SOMETHING ELSE. It is essentially a “move” command. I’ve never lost a file by neglecting to complete the process.

    Another response: “You could lose your file that way. Dragging and dropping is more visually aware.” First, you can’t drag and drop if you start with a file “a” and want it to go to folder “z” because dragging won’t scroll down for you. You need to open two Finder windows to accomplish this if the folder’s in the same folder as the file and there are enough to cause scrolling necessity. Second, I’ve never liked mice for file care, and even less so with the Mac. I have to constantly re-highlight items when I try to drag them around because… well, I don’t know why, but it’s inconsistent and nothing I’m doing, that’s for sure. So, for me, dragging and dropping means “Oh crap, after rehighlighting a few times it finally grabbed them and then it dropped them before I let go of the mouse button and EGADS WHERE DID THEY GOOOO???” instead of “Right-click. Cut. Look for folder. Right-click. Yep, folder’s highlight. Paste. Ah, there it is.”

    There’s MY ranting addendum to your rant. I hope Apple reads these and decides to add said “feature.” I don’t care what they call it. “Move someday” and “Paste the last thing you click ‘move someday'” is fine with me.

    On the other subject – not everyone who owns a Mac has an IQ lower than a slice of bread. Before I owned one, I had that concept embedded in my head because to a PC user, things are so sleek-looking and pretty that they can’t possibly be for any technological sort. These days there’s a lot under the hood that techies can play with, but the stigma is still there.

    It’s little funtions such as those you describe that I believe keeps some pc users away. They don’t like to consider themselves too stupid to switch over. I think each has its perks, personally. Macs are great for creative types (like me) and horrible for the control freaks who want to organize things manually and not depend on the OS to find everything for them (like me).

    Anywho, rants over on my side.

  12. I agree completely with Whitney. While Apple makes a lot of good design choices, they also make some piss poor ones. Thank god I at least have a terminal window and mv.

  13. I just submitted the exact complaint to You’re right, this is not a feature, it is OS programming grade school. Dragging files around is a drag. Apple can suffer from arrogance, this example being case in point.

  14. Hear hear.

    Mac is awful at file-manipulation processes, such as those you talk about here. Another Windows feature I miss on my mac is the ‘Paste shortcut’ option. On a Mac, the process is painfully laborious, requiring the evil necessity of the drag-drop facility.

    I disagree with you on the requirement of building right-mouse-buttons (RMB) into Macs though. The OSX RMB menu includes no useful features, so why build the button?

    Seamless integration you see 😉

    • Hello All,
      I’m a relatively new Mac user, and initially found the inability to ‘Cut’ rather irksome. However, now that I have become used to manipulating files in Finder using List View, I find that copying multiple files instead of cutting does what it says, and leaves the selected files selected in the original folder. Just go back to the original folder when you are sure everything is okay and ‘Move to Trash’. I don’t find this too much of a bind, and it really is cast iron foolproof, plus the trashed files are still in the trash if you do need to recover them.

      Apologies all round if I’m missing something within the previous comments, but I am also a Windows user since 3.1, and while I don’t recall actually suffering any losses due to rash use of the ‘Cut’ feature, clicking ‘Cut’ always induces a sense of foreboding.

      I don’t find the ‘belt and braces’ approach that Apple has adopted at all arrogant.

  15. I don’t like the idea of cutting to the trash. Sure that’s the way text editing works, but for files, I don’t like the idea of them being deleted until I remember where to put them. I wish they would just copy windows.

    As for two button mouses, i don’t mind the two finger click on the trackpad.

  16. After searching about 5 hours throughout the internet about the subject, I come to the conclusion that there just isn’t any easy way to perform this.. Still. FileCutter is not supportedon Snow Leapord and I was just about installing Nautilus and Dolphin through macports to try them out as alternatives but hey… THERE IS A NEW FileCutter for Snow Leopard, called moveAddict. It is $5, and if you have some sort of job paid by the other, buying it WILL be worth it. There just aint any other option that works well! (Or please. TELL us which one 🙂 )

    The annoncement is just from June 2010:

    As a bonus, it adds ability to merge folders and has nifty tips notifying the user what is going on during the operations. Yeah!

    Finally there is $5

    • And although the announcement states “moveAddict may be purchased for $4.99 (USD). The free version allows moving one object at a time and is otherwise unrestricted.”

      The actual price seems to be $7.99

      Make an informed decision… 🙂
      Path Finder is about $40 for the current version, and about $20 to upgrade to a newer version.

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