I've always been interested to know where the term 'copy to clipboard' originated, and do we use it because we've grown familiar to it? I'm assuming this phrase originated a while ago when we used Clipboards a lot? I guess my curiosity was evoked when i saw this icon on an interface recently:

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1 Answer 1


Clipboards had...

Another use that was typical before the era of personal computers (which brought about word processing and computer graphics) was to hold pieces of text and art that had been clipped with scissors from one sheet of paper to be pasted with paste onto another sheet. This use provided the analogy and terminology for computer clipboards.

That's why users find the cut icon represented by a pair of sciccors which was temporarily stored on a clipboard for later use. This temporary storages is represented by the clipboard.

Reference: Clipboard

  • 1
    Besides that, when you're using carbon paper (to copy something), a clipboard comes in handy.
    – Ruudt
    Commented Jun 11, 2014 at 7:44

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