Larry Tesler dead: Computer scientist behind cut-copy-paste command dies aged 74

Bonnie Christian
Computer History Museum

Icon of early computing Larry Tesler has died at the age of 74.

Mr Tesler was a key figure at Apple during its early years and pioneered the concept of the “cut-copy-paste” command during his time at Xerox in the 1970s.

Xerox tweeted on Thursday evening that Mr Tesler had died on Monday.

“The inventor of cut/copy & paste, find & replace, and more was former Xerox researcher Larry Tesler,” the company tweeted.

“Your workday is easier thanks to his revolutionary ideas. Larry passed away Monday, so please join us in celebrating him.”

Born in the Bronx, New York, in 1945, Mr Tesler studied at Stanford University before specialising in interface design - making computer systems more user-friendly.

He started at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Centre before he was poached by Steave Jobs for Apple, where he spent 17 years and rose to chief scientist.

The cut and paste command, Mr Tesler’s most famous innovation, was based on the old method of editing where people would physically cut portions of printed text and glue them somewhere else.

The command became part of Apple’s software on the Lis computer launched in 1983 and the original Macintosh that was released the following year, according to the BBC.

After leaving Apple, Mr Tesler set up an education start-up and spent time working at Amazon and Yahoo.

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