Larry Tesler, Computer Scientist Who Created Copy and Paste Function, Dies at 74

“Your workday is easier thanks to his revolutionary ideas,” tweeted Xerox, the company where Tesler invented the function

Larry Tesler
Photo credit: WikiCommons

Larry Tesler, the computer scientist who created the cut/copy and paste function, died Monday, his former employer Xerox confirmed. He was 74.

Tesler graduated from Stanford University with a degree in mathematics in 1965.

A pioneer in the field with multiple patents to his name, Tesler coined the word “browser” with his SmallTalk Browser product in 1976, according to his website. But his most widely used contribution was the creation of and the cut/copy and paste function, which he developed while after joining the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) in 1973. (Per Gizmodo, PARC is responsible for developing the mouse-driven graphical user interface we use today).

Tesler joined Apple in 1980, where he worked on the development of many products, including the Newton MessagePad and Lisa, a precursor to the Macintosh and one of the first personal computers to utilize graphical user interface.

After leaving Apple in 1997, he worked in user experience at various high tech companies, including Amazon, Yahoo! and 23AndMe. He also worked as an independent consultant for the last decade.

Xerox paid tribute to the pioneer in a tweet Wednesday afternoon, writing “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 passed away Monday, so please join us in celebrating him.”

A cause of death was not reported.