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?

2 Answers 2


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).


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.

  • Why would you provide an Edit button if the item isn't editable? :) (as far as we know) Apr 9, 2012 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 :) Apr 9, 2012 at 8:07

Simple: you just provide a "copy" button next to the item. The way URL shortening services do:

enter image description here

  • 1
    Doesn't this copy button copy the link and not the "element text"? :) Apr 9, 2012 at 9:04
  • The link is the element text in this case. Apr 9, 2012 at 9:16
  • Oh, that's true! It got me confused, since text and link are equal. Apr 9, 2012 at 9:37

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.