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Larry Tesler, the computer scientist who invented cut, copy and paste, passes away

By: Tech Desk | New Delhi |

Updated: February 20, 2020 1:42:13 pm

Larry Tesler, Larry Tesler cut copy and paste, inventor of cut copy and paste, Who is Larry Tesler, Larry Tesler computer scientist Larry Tesler, the inventor of cut, copy and paste, was well known as user interface expert and worked at Xerox and Apple for many years. (Image source: Wikimedia Commons)

Larry Tesler, the inventor of cut, copy and paste, has passed away at the age of 74.  Tesler was a former Xerox researcher, who also went on to work in some of the other big tech companies, including Apple, Yahoo, to name a few.

Tesler was born in 1945, and studied at Stanford University in the 1960’s. He was also a research assistant at Stanford later on working in the field of “artificial intelligence, cognitive modeling, natural language representation and symbolic programming languages,” according to his LinkedIn page.

He is credited as the inventor of ‘modeless editing and cut, copy and paste’ while he was part of the research staff at Xerox. He also helped to invent the ability to type or paste, find & replace text into a form that can be edited before and after searching among other notable contributions.

Other contributions at Xerox included prototyping a page layout system similar to the later Pagemaker and hardware design of the first luggable computer called the Notetaker, according to Tesler’s official website.

Xerox’s official account also put out a tweet remembering Tesler. The tweet notes, “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 Monday, so please join us in celebrating him.”

But Tesler’s contributions were not just limited to Xerox. He was at Apple from 1980 to 1997 and left the company as VP and chief scientist. He was also Apple’s VP for Advanced Technology from 1986 to 1990 and VP for Newton from 1990 to 1993, though he started as a Section Manager in engineering department.

A quote on his website says that he has been “mistakenly identified as ‘the father of the graphical user interface for the Macintosh.’ “I was not. However, a paternity test might expose me as one of its many grandparents,” adds the quote.

During his time at Apple, he worked on products like Lisa, Macintosh, Color QuickDraw, QuickTime, AppleScript, HyperCard and Newton and also contributed to several patents.

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Updated: February 20, 2020 — 10:46 pm

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