Imagine one day you sat down at your computer and found that the copy and paste function had been removed. Do you think you will miss it?

My guess is yes, after all this trusty function has been around since the mid-80s, and today it's almost impossible to imagine using a computer without this function.

As useful as the copy-and-paste function is (and I would certainly miss it if it were removed), I'd argue that it's also possible to overuse and abuse it.

Copy and paste is and always has been a dumb tool. It will copy whatever you tell it to copy; it will paste it wherever you say to paste, and it's up to you to make sure it makes sense afterwards. For those who use copy and paste a lot, it's all too easy to get sloppy, to copy the wrong bit, to paste in the wrong place, and turn what you're working on into meaningless gibberish, potentially causing you severe problems later.

For example, copying and pasting part of a pricing table without checking and updating the figures may quote customers the wrong prices, resulting in lost or loss-making sales.

One famous example of this within software development circles is the failure of the European Space Agency's Ariane 5 rocket. On its maiden flight, it self-destructed shortly after launch due to software glitches that sent it off course. The failure's root cause was the developers effectively copying and pasting code from the earlier Ariane 4 project and not reviewing or updating that code to reflect other changes. The failure and loss of the rocket cost more than $370m.

Sloppy copy-and-paste mistakes could only be the tip of the iceberg, as the broader issue of excessive copying and pasting indicates a lot of data duplication between different screens and systems. When multiple versions of the same data exist, it is only a matter of time before someone works off the wrong and outdated version. This can lead to your employees wasting time finding and correcting the most recent version or, if their mistake isn't spotted, could open you up to a range of adverse outcomes, from lost sales to legal battles.

Finally, excessive copying and pasting can also have security implications. If sensitive information is copied and pasted into insecure systems, the potential exists for cyber criminals to steal it or it to slip into the public domain. This is particularly true when copying and pasting between personal and work devices or systems. Even if the data itself isn't sensitive, the proliferation of multiple copies of the same data can increase the risk of data breaches.

So, what can you do about it?

Most reach for the copy-and-paste buttons because it's quick and often the only way to move data between different screens and systems without manually re-entering it, but custom software may be better.

Custom software can integrate multiple systems, streamline processes, and increase efficiency. By building software tailored to your business and workflow, you can remove the need to use copy and paste, reducing the chance of mistakes and freeing up your staff to focus on other areas of your business that require their attention—one source of truth and removing the need to use copy and paste to move data around. 

If you want to learn more about how custom software can help your business grow and increase efficiency while reducing the risks associated with excessive copying and pasting, please book a free, no-obligation, 2-hour discovery call. Let's talk about how we can help you achieve your goals.

Copy and Paste

Don't worry, we won't put your details on a mailing list, we'll only use the contact details to respond to you and carry out anything you request.