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Paste And Change

Alternative to Copy-Paste that reminds you to edit the copied text
  (+8, -1)
(+8, -1)
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A common shortcut when using a computer is, instead of typing something from scratch, to copy some similar looking text, paste it in the new location, and edit it.

A common error (especially while programming or while labeling a document/spreadsheet) is to copy some text from Place A and paste it in Place B intending to edit it there, but forgetting to do so.

For example, if you've typed this line of code:

row(1) = row(1) + column(1)

and now you want to type

row(2) = row(2) + column(2),

you might be tempted to start by copying and pasting the first line, and then manually changing the 1's into 2's.

But in this world of constant distractions (emails, phone calls, constant new ideas; general forgetfulness), it's likely that you will perform the copy-paste but then never finish typing the 2's over the 1's.

This is a difficult error to detect when debugging, since the code "looks right", but one which undoubtedly makes the user feel stupid after he/she discovers the reason.

I recently saw a spreadsheet where a label had obviously been copied from one column to another but where the writer had failed to edit the pasted text and ended up having two identically labeled columns.

The "Paste And Change" option (shortcut: Ctrl-H) would end this problem. When "Paste And Change" is selected instead of simple Paste, the copied text is pasted but also highlighted in a special color (dependent on the application, but also changeable by the user).

The highlighting will remind the user that this text still needs to be modified, and that you didn't just copy it to duplicate it but also to change it slightly.

At the user's discretion, the application can remind the user before quitting that there are still areas which need to be edited; do you really want to quit?

Thank you.

phundug, Mar 11 2007


       Shouldn't you be using a subroutine for that?
Galbinus_Caeli, Mar 11 2007

       Why not just have an editable clipboard that pops up? ie, when you select the "special" copy function, the clipboard pops up as a regular window, allowing the text to be edited before, on another command, it is pasted into the desired location.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 11 2007

       A decent idea - but copying and pasting similar bits of code is usually a clue that it might be better to step back and make a more generic procedure.   

       [edit] which, after re-reading this, appears to be what [Galbinus_Caeli] is saying.
zen_tom, Mar 11 2007

       //Why not just have an editable clipboard that pops up?//   

       I do something like that with Notepad when going from, say, spreadsheet to word-processor. I keep a Notepad window open and drop text into it, then copy from there, to strip out all formatting. It's easy to modify text while in Notepad.
baconbrain, Mar 11 2007

       [zen-tom]: Wouldn't work, because I'd probably start by copying and pasting another generic procedure, and then forget to completely modify it.
phundug, Mar 12 2007

       Alternate Title;   

       Plagiarism Disguising Option.
jhomrighaus, Mar 12 2007

       Easy to do this in Word with a macro.
ldischler, Mar 12 2007


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