"The Origins of Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V, Ctrl+X, and Ctrl+Z Explained"



" It’s worth noting that while the Apple Lisa introduced the Z/X/C/V shortcuts, the actual concepts for Undo, Cut, Copy and Paste originated earlier with interfaces for software developed for the Xerox Alto in the 1970s."

I would suggest that anyone and everyone that thinks that Apple ripped off Xerox should be told that Apple gave stock to Xerox in exchange for being allowed to use “a version” of the Xerox Alto interface.

Xerox later sold that stock for millions of dollars. Meanwhile Bill Gates ALSO saw the Alto and Microsoft paid Xerox zero dollars for what they copied. Mainly they copied Apple and they didn’t pay them anything either.

I would also like to note that the look and feel and the way you cut, copy and pasted were doing VERY differently than what the team at Apple came up with. And it wasn’t Steve Jobs but … I’m sorry, someone else can name the person that came up with it. I saw an Article recently (and have many times over the years but I’m horrible with names).

Steve Jobs had been kicked off the Lisa team and he joined the Mac team and it was through him that they “borrowed” a lot of what the Lisa did but the Mac had a lot less memory so that dictated a lot of what it could and couldn’t do. The Mac initially only had one undo while the Lisa has multiple (I don’t remember how many) because it had more memory than the Mac.


The xerox os was pretty different. The keyboard was very custom and a lot of the keys they added map to menus on the Lisa/Mac interface.

This video compares the interfaces of the Star and the Lisa so you can see how different they actually were Xerox Star vs. Apple Lisa - YouTube

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I read a book on copyright law that talked about the Borland vs Lotus, which Quattro borrowed the shortcut keys from Lotus. You can’t copyright a common computer interface because doing so would make computers less usable.

Also see: Google’s reimplementation of Java ideas on Dalvik vs Oracle