Larry Tesler: Cut, Copy and Paste Inventor Dies Aged 74
Silicon Valley icon and Cut, Copy and Paste inventor Larry Tesler has died at the age of 74.
Larry Tesler started working in Silicon Valley in the early 1960s, at a time when computers were inaccessible to the vast majority of people.
It was thanks to Tesler’s innovations – which included the “cut”, “copy” and “paste” commands – that the personal computer became simple to learn and use.
Xerox, where Larry Tesler spent part of his career, paid tribute to him.
The company tweeted: “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 Tesler was born in the Bronx, New York, in 1945, and studied at Stanford University in California.
After graduating, he specialized in user interface design – that is, making computer systems more user-friendly.
Larry Tesler worked for a number of major tech firms during his long career. He started at Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (Parc), before Steve Jobs poached him for Apple, where he spent 17 years and rose to chief scientist.
After leaving Apple, Larry Tesler set up an education start-up, and worked for brief periods at Amazon and Yahoo.
Possibly his most famous innovation, the cut and paste command, was reportedly based on the old method of editing in which people would physically cut portions of printed text and glue them elsewhere.
The command was incorporated in Apple’s software on the Lisa computer in 1983, and the original Macintosh that was released the following year.
One of Larry Tesler’s firmest beliefs was that computer systems should stop using “modes”, which were common in software design at the time.
Modes allow users to switch between functions on software and apps but make computers both time-consuming and complicated.
So strong was this belief that Larry Tesler’s website was called “nomodes.com”, his Twitter handle was “@nomodes”, and even his car’s registration plate was “No Modes”.