Larry Tesler, Apple employee who created cut-and-paste, dead at 74

Computer scientist and user interface guru Larry Tesler, a key figure at Apple during its early years, died Monday at the age of 74. Tesler in 1979 showed Apple co-founder Steve Jobs around Xerox PARC, including the tour in which Jobs and a handful of other Apple employees got to see Xerox’s Alto computer in action. The computer featured icons, windows, folders, a mouse, pop-up menus, WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) text editor, Ethernet-based local networking, network-based printing, and games. The concept of “cut, copy and paste” was also part of the demonstration.

Larry Tesler
Larry Tesler
William Gallagher for AppleInsider:

From 1980 to 1997, he worked for Apple, recruited by Steve Jobs, and ultimately rising to become vice president and chief scientist. In his 17 years at Apple, he began on the Apple Lisa, ran the development of the Newton, and invented Copy and Paste.

He was also a major contributor to key Macintosh software including QuickTime, AppleScript and Bill Atkinson’s HyperCard.

It was computing legend Alan Kay who had hired Tesler for Xerox, and then it was Steve Jobs who hired him away to work at Apple.

MacDailyNews Take: R.I.P., Larry Tesler. Thank you for all you’ve done for computing in general and for Apple in particular!


  1. It’s been a joy to witness the evolution of the consumer computer industry from its 70’s inception onward. Frustrating at times too. It took imagination, creativity and technical skills to pull it off. Wonder what the next wave of discovery will be?

  2. Actually, “cut and paste” was around for probably 100 years before Apple was a concept!!
    What Mr. Tesler did was adapt old world technology to new world technology. More than I could do, but words mean things and the article was written wrong. He did not create the concept!!

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