This article is about a key combination. For the control character, CAN, see cancel character.

In computing, Ctrl+x is the key combination of the control key and a key usually labeled X. Conventionally, the key combination is produced by holding down Ctrl and X simultaneously. To avoid having to press multiple keys simultaneously, the key combination is, on some systems, entered by first pushing the control key and then the X key.

Text editing

In many software applications on Windows[1] and the X Window System Ctrl-X can be used to cut highlighted mutable text to the clipboard. On Mac OS X Cmd+X has an analogous function.[2] The key combination was one of a handful of keyboard sequences chosen by the program designers at Xerox PARC to control text editing.

For historical reasons, the control character CAN may be referred to as ^X.

Interaction style

In computer science, this style of interaction is referred to as indirect manipulation, a human–computer interaction style opposed to direct manipulation. Direct manipulation is a term introduced by Ben Shneiderman in 1982 within the context of office applications and the desktop metaphor.[3][4]

Indirect manipulation has a higher level of abstraction compared to direct manipulation as you first have to select the item (such as character, word, paragraph or icon) that you want to edit and then give the command, in this case the cut command by key combination Ctrl+x


  1. "Keyboard shortcuts for Windows". Retrieved 2012-05-23.
  2. "Mac Keyboard shortcuts". Retrieved 2012-05-23.
  3. Shneiderman, Ben (1982). "The future of interactive systems and the emergence of direct manipulation". Behaviour & Information Technology. 1 (3): 237–256. doi:10.1080/01449298208914450.
  4. Shneiderman, Ben (August 1983). "Direct Manipulation. A Step Beyond Programming Languages". IEEE Computer. 1 (8): 57–69. Archived from the original on 8 Feb 2012. Retrieved 2010-12-28.

See also

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