Figma Support Forum

New paste features — simple but big improvements

I present to you some simple yet very effective and intuitive improvements to the new paste functionality. Let me know what you think!

Community feedback

Let’s start with some feedback the community has about the new pasting features. (Note that Ctrl = Cmd on macOS in all the following shortcuts.) On the surface these are perfect additions! But when used in the real work setting, they seem to have some issues.

  1. The most problematic thing is probably that “Paste over selection” now has a very awkward key combo: Ctrl+Alt+Shift+V. Four keys! Judging by the amount of feedback on this issue, a lot of people have been using it for their daily workflow.

  2. Did you know there was a Ctrl+Alt+Shift+V shortcut in Figma already? It allowed you to stack things vertically, it’s called “Distribute vertical spacing”. Nobody used it, but having two shortcuts doing the same thing is a bad idea. Now the stacking one doesn’t work.
    telegram-cloud-photo-size-2-5361574466813015225-x

    Ya’ll probably use Macs so you overlooked this. The majority of Figma users are on Windows! (Not me though, so this is not a bias.)

  3. New “Paste here” feature doesn’t have a shortcut! That’s obvious why: because it’s a mouse-triggered action and you need to click where you want to place an object. But it’s super convenient!

  4. Shift+Ctrl+V, the old shortcut for “Paste over selection” is now taken by “Paste to replace”. But it still should be used for “Paste plain text”. This creates confusion.

  5. There are some bugs with shortcuts not working but they are not the point of this post. Let’s imagine they are all fixed.

By the way, here is a tip on how to press this wicked Ctrl+Alt+Shift+V shortcut with one hand: make this gesture :metal:— putting your index finger :point_up:on the V. It’s the easiest method found.

Paste over selection = Paste here

I propose that “Paste over selection” and “Paste here” are combined into one function. Or more like “Paste over selection” can be merged into “Paste here”. Let’s first look at what these features individually:

Paste over selection

  • Has a keyboard shortcut, it was Shift+Ctrl+V before, now Paste and Replace took it
  • When nothing is selected, pastes objects like regular Ctrl+V at the center of the screen
  • When something is selected, pastes at X & Y of selection, right above the currently selected layer in the layers panel
  • Already often used by designers since forever
  • Doesn’t exist in the mouse context menu

Paste here

  • Works only with a mouse
  • When nothing is selected, pastes objects at the mouse cursor position
  • When something is selected, pastes objects at the mouse cursor, right above the currently selected layer in the layers panel
  • Doesn’t work with the keyboard

Together

And all this functionality very nicely ties together! The new and improved “Paste here”:

  • Has a shortcut, but also works with a mouse
  • When nothing is selected and used as a shortcut, it will work like Ctrl+V
  • When nothing is selected and used as a mouse command, works like “Paste here” currently
  • When something is selected and used as a shortcut, works like “Paste over selection”
  • When something is selected and used with a mouse, works like “Paste here”

Why?

This seems like a very complex logic chain. But in reality it simplifies things as you don’t have to think about which command to use when and which command is available when and how both commands work differently. It always does what you intend to do!

Use a shortcut? Shortcuts don’t pay attention to the mouse so it’s intuitive that it uses the current selection coordinates. Use a mouse? You are focused on the specific spot on the canvas and probably intend to put an object there. It just makes sense, doesn’t it?

All in all, it seems like “Paste over selection” and “Paste here” are meant to be one feature:

  • They complete each other, where one feature doesn’t work with a mouse and the other one is not possible to use with a shortcut
  • They do the same thing, just in different contexts
  • This suggestion doesn’t change anything about the past behavior of “Paste over selection”
  • This suggestion doesn’t change anything about the behavior of “Paste here”
  • This suggestion adds a shortcut to the “Paste here” feature that people intuitively want, but they don’t know this feature with a shortcut is a separate one and is called “Paste over selection”

Paste here shortcut <-> Paste to replace shortcut

My second proposal is to set the shortcut of “Paste here” (or “Paste over selection”) to the one used by “Paste to replace”: Shift+Ctrl+V, while changing the “Paste to replace” shortcut or removing it entirely.

Why

  • The first reason is that Paste here / Paste over selection is used much more often than Paste to replace: it was already used by many people over the years (hence the amount of people who noticed something was wrong when they tried to use it now). How often do you want to paste something in a specific place vs replace the selection? I don’t have any data but to me the answer seems obvious.

  • The second, not less important reason is that the context of usage is different. When you use paste to replace, you are more likely to do it in a more coordinated atmosphere, where you are not just spontaneously doing something. But “Paste over selection” is used more spontaneously, when you just need more control over pasting.

    For example, you copy a picture from somewhere and want to paste it over the currently selected object. You copy with Ctrl+C, then paste with Ctrl+Shift+V. Quick and simple. Done hundreds of times a day.

    However, when using “Paste to replace”, you probably do more actions so doing something extra won’t cause much harm: be it using a more complex finger-tangling shortcut or not using a shortcut at all (Ctrl+/ search menu exists for this reason). Let’s say you want to replace some red rectangles with blue triangles. First, you select the triangle and copy it: Ctrl+C. Second, you select one of the rectangles. Third, you would probably got to Edit → Select all with same properties. And finally you will be ready to press that complex shortcut or use the menu again to paste to replace. It wouldn’t change much about this already difficult process.

  • The third reason is that this shortcut is already learned and used by many people. Now they have to relearn it and tangle their fingers in order to use what they already used before many times a day. And those few people who used the “Distribute vertical spacing” shortcut will now learn that it doesn’t work. So bringing this shortcut back and avoiding changing the “Distribute vertical spacing” shortcut will fix this for both parties.

  • The fourth reason is that Shift+Ctrl+V is supposed to be used for pasting plain text. It’s often used to paste text and save the currently used text style. If you change the paste as plain text shortcut to that four-key combo, that would be very inconvenient as it’s, again, a very often used shortcut. Keeping it the same would be ok, but that would create an inconsistency with “Paste to replace” functionality having the same shortcut.

  • The fifth reason is that it can be improved further, while the longer and more complex shortcut is far more unlikely to be used and remembered so there will be no need to improve it. What improvements am I talking about? Pasting images! When you copy an image and Ctrl+V it in Figma, it is pasted into the current object fill. I always mistakingly paste images into the text I have selected and wonder where it went. Having a “Paste here” option activated with a mouse or a Shift+Ctrl+V shortcut would be an intuitive way to not paste the image into the selected object fill, but instead paste it over the selected object. User gets more control in one simple shortcut that still does the same thing — win-win!

To summarize, the change of “Paste over selection” shortcut from Shift+Ctrl+V slows down existing and new workflows, creates inconsistencies and conflicts, is much less intuitive and discoverable, and could stagnate the future improvements and versatility of pasting functionality.

TL;DR

Merge a commonly used “Paste over selection” feature into “Paste here” as they currently do the same thing but in different contexts. Also the new “Paste over selection” shortcut was already taken. Change the “Paste to replace” shortcut or remove it, making Shift+Ctrl+V the shortcut for the new “Paste here” action.

Nothing great is made alone.™ Let’s make Figma better together!

13 Likes

Makes absolute sense! Thanks for this @Gleb

Hi Gleb,

Thank you so much for this feedback! Our team hears you and is working on addressing this now. We should have a response for you shortly.

We always appreciate our community’s feedback on updates and new features. It helps make our product better for everyone using it. If you have any additional questions or thoughts, please send them over!

  • Emily Brody, Product Marketing @ Figma

There are some bugs with shortcuts not working

can you elaborate on this?

For some people reportedly some shortcuts from the new update weren’t working and images and plain text pasting wasn’t working correctly. All the issues people are having have been reported to support.

More related thoughts by @Vadim_Pleshkov:

1 Like

Keyboard shortcut conflicts between “distribute vertical spacing” and “Paste over selection” are annoying on Windows. :dizzy_face:

2 Likes

Unrelated but what is the shortcut for “Paste over selection” in the past? Why so many complaints in the comment section? Thanks!

1 Like

Shift+Ctrl+V — now taken by Paste to Replace.

Ah I see. Thanks for the reply! I saw many complaints were about pasting text without pasting and I was kind of confused.

Not really a fan of the paste to replace shortcut honestly, was really in a good groove using paste over selection prior to the change.

Finding now that pasting into auto layout groups has become a bit of a pain, with the new shortcut. Seems it doesn’t like to paste into nested groups as much and requires manual placement.

Other than that, appreciate the building and improvements. Would be dream to be able to manage shortcuts and change them based on preference though.

5 Likes

Came to say I’m also not stoked about replacing the shortcut for Paste over selection with Paste to replace with the finger-twister cmd+alt+shift+v.

Also, I’d welcome “Paste here” working as it does in Miro – if nothing is selected, paste underneath cursor, if something is selected, paste as it does now.

All the other improvements are great! :relaxed:

3 Likes

Love this, totally makes sense. I’m out of votes, because none of the things I’ve voted for have been addressed yet… but really dig your approach here. Desperately missing the old Cmd+Shift+V!

2 Likes

I absolutely agree with Gleb, very structured and comprehensive feedback about the “paste and replace” command". I absolutely dislike it and now need to find ways around to still perform “paste over selection” because I COULDN’T even find the shortcut for this command in the right-click menu.
I was relieved reading through the article and realizing that I’m not alone struggling with this new update. I hope Figma will take this post and all the reactions & comments into account and will bring back “paste over selection” for “Cmd+Shift+V” command — I miss it so much!

For me it was an excellent way to align all the content in the column, maneuver elements within the page, simply testing which image works better in a certain layout… Now it’s all gone.

3 Likes

Good feedback: another reason why if the “Paste over selection” shortcut would be simpler, it would be less disruptive to the existing workflows.

Hey, everyone! A quick update – we have updated some of the shortcuts based on your feedback:

  • ⌘⇧V or Shift+Ctrl+V should now Paste And Match Style as it did before
  • ⌘⇧V or Shift+Ctrl+V should now Paste Over Selection as it did before
  • the new feature Paste To Replace is now under ⌘⌥⇧V or Shift+Ctrl+Alt+V
  • we’ve also simplified Distribute Horizontal Spacing to Alt+Shift+H and Distribute Vertical Spacing to Alt+Shift+V (on Windows – no change on Macs)

Please let me know if you have any more feedback or suggestions!

3 Likes

Fantastic news, thank you for listening! Any thoughts on combining Paste Here + Paste Over Selection to improve discoverability and simplify things?

We want to see how the usage patterns evolve with the current system and give it some time to mature. I’d also be curious how the “market share” of PH/POS evolves over time, but it’s too early to say now.

Paste Here and Paste Over Selection do different things and serve different modalities (one prioritizes positioning, the other selection/hierarchy – one goes inside, one goes aside – one is keyboard-centric, one is mouse-centric) and combining them might actually make things harder to understand. For example, in auto layout, PH cannot respect selection because auto layout won’t allow a precise “here.” In other contexts, we think it’s great that PH does auto parenting… which POS doesn’t do by definition.

Let’s keep coming back to this as we get used to the new feature set, and we’ll iterate in due time!

1 Like

Ah, that definitely makes sense, especially the difference between nesting behaviors which I haven’t thought about much.

This is great news, I’m stoked!
You changed the shortcut combination of the new Paste to Replace feature without any notice less than a week after introducing the feature.
How nice.
Not only that, there’s more to it: you’ve also made this update silently without any actual notice (see Figma Releases page), except perhaps this forum page. Makes sense, since everyone is following this thread here.
Good job again.
And wait, you’ve also made it more difficult: because instead of, say, at least keeping it as a combination of 3 keys, it’s a combination of 4 keys now, because why not?
Magic.

Since you’re asking, I do have a suggestion.
Let’s change the Ctrl + C shortcut to Copy as SVG, and use Ctrl + Alt + Shift + FN + WinKey + C to Copy stuff, but don’t tell anyone, let users discover this by themselves.

While we’re here, let’s keep changing things around: have the layers panel on a strip at the bottom of the screen, and the tools bar vertical on the left. Even make a playground file so users can adapt, learn and get proficient using this new Figma interface. And then next week just swap them without saying a word because disruptive changes like this are so much fun.