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Home / Tips and Tricks / Quickly paste or save highlighted text to files, messages, email, notes and other apps «iOS & iPhone :: Gadget Hacks

Quickly paste or save highlighted text to files, messages, email, notes and other apps «iOS & iPhone :: Gadget Hacks

Highlight text, tap “Copy”, open the app to paste the text, long press or double tap where you want it, and click “Paste”. That’s probably what you do when you need to copy text from one location to paste into another on your iPhone. It’s a tried-and-true method, but there’s a hidden text-saving and sharing trick on iOS that shortens that lengthy copy and paste process.

The trick is to hide in plain sight and probably choose one you didn’t even think about when you got the option. For example, after highlighting text on a web page in Safari, the menu appears where you normally select “Copy”

;. But there is more to that menu than ‘Copy’. Instead, try the often-overlooked “Share …” button.

Share opens the Share sheet where you can copy or send the text directly to the app you want to paste it in, such as Messages, Mail, Messenger, Facebook, Twitter, Signal, Slack, Notes and Gmail. Even better, you can save the highlighted text as a TXT file in Files, Dropbox and more.

It works the same way as with files on your iPhone. You view a file, tap the Share button, and use the Share sheet to save the file in other apps and services. For example, you can save a PDF you find in Safari to Files, which is a great way to keep short stories, textbooks, and novels offline for later reading. However, if it is not a file or if you want to keep only part of it – a quote, poem, rant, discussion, definition, etc. – highlight the text and use “Share”.

Step 1: Find and highlight some text

The first thing to do is find some text to highlight. Once you find one, you highlight it, which you can do in different ways depending on whether the text is editable or not.

For example, with non-editable text in Safari, long-press a word to highlight it, then adjust the start and end points. You can also long press on a word, then slide your finger over the other text you want to highlight. For editable text in an app like Notes, you can do the same, or you can tap twice to highlight a word or tap three times to select an entire paragraph.

After doing this, you should see a context menu pop up from which you can choose “Copy” or “Share …”. If not, tap the highlighted text once to open it. Tap “Share” to open the Share sheet. If you don’t see it, tap the right arrow, if available, to see if it’s on another page of the menu. If that doesn’t work, the app you’re in has blocked sharing highlighted text.

Step 2: Paste, share or save the highlighted text

After tapping “Share …” in the menu, the Share sheet opens. Here you have several options to share or save the highlighted text. Some options that paste the highlighted content into a text box include Mail, Messages, Messenger, Facebook, Twitter, Signal, Slack, Notes, and Gmail.

As seen below, highlighted text can be saved in Notes as a new note (left), thrown in a new text message or iMessage in Messages (center) and added to the body of a new email in Gmail with some of it in the subject line (right).

If you have shortcuts that can be used with your highlighted text, you can also run them from the share sheet.

While all these options are great, the best feature here is the ability to save the highlighted text as a new TXT file. For that, you can use AirDrop, Share to Dropbox and Share to Files, just to name a few. For files, the .txt file is saved on your iCloud or iPhone, depending on where you want to put it. You can then view the document later in Files to read it right away and there.

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Cover photo and screenshots by Nelson Aguilar / Gadget Hacks

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