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I have a use case where an element on the page is the most obvious place to link from the list view to the instance view, but users also sometimes need to copy/paste the element text.

Because the element is a link, people have to be careful where they click when they highlight the element to copy it.

Are there any ideas for how to support both clicking and copy/pasting the element?

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2 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

I would use an [Edit] button which would be visible inside the cell. A click on the edit button would display the content in plain text format (assuming that the entire cell is a link) in a Text area or a TextBox. This would enable the user to mark content, copy and paste without having to worry about the link.

When being in edit mode, I would provide three new buttons below the editable area to enable the user to [Copy] the text and/or [Save] or [Cancel] the edit.

Edit: I have provided an optional answer in the mockup, if the user shouldn't be able to edit the link text (thanks to Vitalys comment).

mockup

download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups

A right click could work for computers, but it would not work on touch interfaces, so lets leave the right click out of the equation.

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Why would you provide an Edit button if the item isn't editable? :) (as far as we know) –  Vitaly Mijiritsky Apr 9 '12 at 7:43
    
I just assumed that the copy/paste action were supposed to work on the link text as well. We'll just have to wait and see what happens when they wake up :) –  Benny Skogberg Apr 9 '12 at 8:07
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Simple: you just provide a "copy" button next to the item. The way URL shortening services do:

enter image description here

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Doesn't this copy button copy the link and not the "element text"? :) –  Benny Skogberg Apr 9 '12 at 9:04
    
The link is the element text in this case. –  Vitaly Mijiritsky Apr 9 '12 at 9:16
    
Oh, that's true! It got me confused, since text and link are equal. –  Benny Skogberg Apr 9 '12 at 9:37
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