Illustrator How To: Paste in Place

Cutting or copying and pasting is as basic as you can get in graphics software. This past summer I was spending a lot of time working in Adobe Flash and got into the habit of using the paste in place command working between Flash and Illustrator.

I would create art on an Illustrator artboard sized to match my Flash stage so that any time I made a change to my Illustrator art, say the whiskers on this cat, I could just copy from Illustrator and Paste in Place in Flash. The whiskers would land perfectly in place on the cat’s nose. I was amazed I had not used this feature in Illustrator after so many years working in the program, but when I investigated further, I found that Paste in Place has only arrived in Illustrator and Photoshop since version CS5.

If you’re like me, and it’s taken you a minute to catch on (hate it whan that happens!) jump on the Paste in Place bandwagon. The command is Edit > Paste in Place and the shortcut is command/control shift v, just like the regular paste command with the shift key added. When you Paste in Place your pasted object maintains the same x and y coordinates relative to the artboard.

I’ve been using it a lot to copy and paste objects precisely from one Illustrator document to another.

I also like using it for pasting objects and text precisely from one artboard to another. Just click on the artboard you want to paste the art to before using Edit > Paste in Place. When you click on an artboard it becomes the active artboard and it’s outline is darkened.

To paste your object in place on every artboard in your file, use the command Edit > Paste on All Artboards.

For Flash and InDesign users, Paste in Place is nothing new, but I’m glad Illustrator and Photoshop CS5 have finally caught up, because command/control shift v is now one of my favorite shortcuts! Check out this blog post for the reason on why Paste in Place doesn’t yet work between AI and PS.


  1. LOL, I have this shortcut taped to my screen but have not used it yet! I never realised that it would also Paste in Place across a different Artboard.
    BTW, I dislike shortcuts which uses 3 keys at once! 🙂