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Larry Tesler, inventor of cut, copy, paste dies at 74



Lawrence Gordon Tesler, an American computer scientist whose accomplishments include inventing the cut, copy, and paste command has died at the age of 74.

He was a graduate of Stanford University who specialized in human-computer interaction. Tesler, who was known for his excellent skills while working with Amazon, Apple, and Yahoo died on Monday, February 17. He was also a former researcher at Xerox Palo Alto Research Center where he spent part of his career.

Announcing his death on Twitter, Xerox wrote: “The inventor of cut/copy & paste, find & replace, and more, was former Xerox researcher Larry Tesler. Your workday is easier thanks to his revolutionary ideas. Larry passed away on Monday, so please join us in celebrating him.”


Tesler started working for Apple in 1980 where he spent 17 years after being recruited from Xerox by Steve Jobs, the late co-founder.

According to him, the cut-and-paste command was inspired by old-fashioned editing that involved cutting part of printed text and fixing them elsewhere with adhesive.


Tesler was born in the Bronx, New York, in 1945, and studied at Stanford University in California. Tesler specialized in human-computer interaction, employing his skills at Amazon, Apple, Yahoo, and the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC).

The icon of early computing started working in Silicon Valley in the early 1960s, at a time when computers were inaccessible to the vast majority of people. After graduating, he specialized in user interface design.


He started at Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), before Steve Jobs poached him for Apple, where he spent 17 years and rose to the chief scientist. He went on to establish an education startup and did stints in user-experience technology at Amazon and Yahoo.

Thanks to his innovations – including the “cut”, “copy” and “paste” commands – the personal computer became simple to learn and use.

“Tesler created the idea of ‘cut, copy, & paste’ and combined computer science training with a counterculture vision that computers should be for everyone,” the Computer History Museum in Silicon Valley tweeted on Wednesday while paying tribute to him.


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