5 Copy and Pasting Tips that Every Developer Should Know

Work smarter, not harder.

Songtham Tung
Aug 4 · 3 min read

Let’s cut to the chase and skip the long-winded intros.

If I knew about these coding hacks earlier in my career, it would have saved me sooo much time. Here are 5 advanced copy and pasting tips that you can use to work smarter and more efficiently.

You can follow along with the sample dataset below, or better yet, try it with your own data. FYI— I’m using Mac and Visual Studio Code, but feel free to use other OS and text editors.

Sample dataset

1. Vertical selection

My objective is to add the <li> tag in front of every row. Instead of doing it the old fashion way of copy and pasting multiple times, I do it once with the help of vertical selection.

hold shift + option + cmd + arrow direction

2. Adding value to the start of every row

Another way to add value to the start of every row is by using regex (.*). Regex or regular expression is a sequence of characters that define a search pattern. It’s built in to most text editors and can be found in the find feature.

1. Open Find and Replace
2. Enable regex .*
3. Enter ^ in Find
4. Enter value in replace
5. Execute

3. Adding value to the end of every row

My next objective is to add the closing </li> tag at the end of every row. To do so, I would also use regex, but with a different search pattern.

1. Open Find and Replace
2. Enable regex .*
3. Enter $ in Find
4. Enter value in replace
5. Execute

4. Shifting rows without highlighting and dragging

What happens if I want to quickly rearrange my data? Again, I can use the traditional cut and paste or highlighting and dragging with the mouse… but there is a faster way.

hold option + arrow direction

5. Copy and pasting without copy and pasting

This last tip is one of my favorites. Instead of copy and pasting and entering new lines in between, I can quickly duplicate the values with a shortcut key.

hold shift + option + arrow direction

Wrapping up

Copy and pasting stuff is great. Regex and advanced keyboard shortcuts takes it to another level. Have another tip to code more efficiently? Leave a comment below and I’ll add it to the list.

Thanks for reading !

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Songtham Tung

Written by

Technical Product Director @ Geddit | SF ✈️ BKK

The Startup

Medium's largest active publication, followed by +527K people. Follow to join our community.

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