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Copy and paste

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Copy and pasting is the process of selecting placeable elements in existing terrain and creating ghosts of them elsewhere for future placement, either by construction robots or the player. Blueprints are essentially saved copies that can be stored in ones inventory or blueprint library and pasted later. As such, the mechanics of placing a blueprint are identical to those of pasting from a copy.

Copying and cutting

By pressing CTRL + C, the cursor can be set to copy mode. Click and hold Left mouse button to drag a rectangle of entities to create a copy of those entities. This copy becomes the most recent copy, but previous copies are still accessible when pasting. All such copies are stored in the map data, so previous copies can be accessed after a save/reload. Copies are specific to a particular player on that map.

Cutting (initiated by CTRL + X) is a copy where the selected entities being copied are also set to be deconstructed.

If the selected area contains no entities, then the copy operation will copy tiles by default. Holding SHIFT while dragging the copy selection will open the blueprint configuration screen when the selection is finished. It offers the full blueprint configuration options, such as grid snapping and inclusion of tiles and trains. This makes copying a selection largely equivalent to creating a blueprint.

Copies are able to capture virtually everything about the selected entities and tiles. This includes, but is not limited to:

The actual item contents of chests/belts/etc are not copied.


Pressing CTRL + V puts the cursor into paste mode. The most recently used copy is overlaid over the terrain. By using SHIFT + Mouse wheel up/Mouse wheel down, the user can cycle through previous or more recent copies stored for that player. The most recent 20 copies by the player on that world are stored at any given time. Once the appropriate copy is selected, it can be placed with Left mouse button. When a blueprint is placed, ghosts are created for each object in the blueprint.

Picking up a blueprint or blueprint book has a similar effect to entering paste mode, and all of the mechanics of pasting a copy apply to placing a blueprint.

An overlay of the entities to be placed via a copy/blueprint is shown under the cursor. Entities that can be placed are shown in green. Entities that conflict with already existing objects are shown in red, they cannot be placed. If placement is exactly on top of an existing entity, it is shown in blue and does not block placement.

While being in paste mode or holding a blueprint, the entire selection can be rotated using the R key.

Selections can usually be flipped horizontally or vertically using F or G respectively. However, there are some entities which are asymmetric and cannot be flipped (oil refinery, chemical plant). Also, the placement of rail signals, rail chain signals, and train stops on particular sides of railroad tracks defines how trains are expected to travel across the rail network. As such, it is not possible to flip any selection which has signals or train stops. These can still be rotated.

Conflicting placement

If any existing terrain or structure is in the way of a ghost when trying to place a blueprint with Left mouse button, the entire blueprint cannot be placed.

Using SHIFT + Left mouse button forces the blueprint to be placed anyway and all individual ghosts which are not conflicting with structures will be placed. In that case, trees, rocks, or cliffs that are in the way are marked for deconstruction and ghosts will be placed atop them. While the ghosts have been placed, they cannot be replaced by what the ghosts represent until any conflicting terrain objects have been removed.

If a ghost is placed on top of a structure that is the same entity (or same ghost) with the same orientation, then there is no conflict and the ghost can be placed. Doing so will apply properties from the ghost on the existing structure. These properties include, but are not limited to:

There is no notion of "removing wiring" with blueprinting on top of existing entities. Once those entities have wiring, it will be retained. New blueprints can change the logic however, so if you want to make a blueprint turn off a condition from an earlier one, you need to change the logic into one that always passes.

Copying captures the state of the entity's modules, but it cannot update them onto an existing version of that entity. However, differing module arrangements do not prevent the copy from being placed. So if the entity in the terrain has some set of modules, and the copied entity has a different set, the copy can be placed but the terrain object's modules will not be affected.

To place a blueprint or copy that contains both landfill and entities on top of the landfill, the landfill ghosts must be first placed with SHIFT + Left mouse button. Once the landfill tiles are actually placed, the blueprint can be placed again to create ghosts of the entities.

Entity settings

While one can copy an entity and paste it onto other versions of itself, it can sometimes be useful to specifically copy just the settings of an entity and paste them onto a different entity, including upgraded entities. What exactly counts as "settings of an entity" depends somewhat on the destination entity to which they are being applied.

To select an entity as the source of a settings copy, use SHIFT + Right mouse button on that entity. The cursor does not change to indicate that a copy is underway. To paste the settings to an entity, use SHIFT + Left mouse button on that entity.

If the destination is the same entity type as the source, or is an upgradable version of it, the setting being copied are generally pretty obvious. Virtually every setting that is accessible from the entity's specific dialog box can be copied in this fashion. Everything from splitter filters to inserter stack limits, from cargo wagon filters to locomotive train schedules can be copied. Circuit and logistics network settings and conditions specific to that kind of entity are also part of such copies.

There are certain special cases of entity setting copy-pasting for particular uses. For example, for any building that produces a product based on a recipe, the recipe can be copied to a requester chest. This will automatically set the requests in the chest to request enough input materials for that recipe to make that machine run for 30 seconds.