Copy like a cat – paste like a pro : 17 excel pasting tricks you must know

Posted: September 28, 2012 by Alison in FYI, Get Educated
Tags: , , , , , , ,


Paste or Ctrl+v is probably the most effective productivity tool available to us. But how well do you know “Paste”?, do you know that there are at least 17 different variations to paste data to your excel sheets? Surprised? Well, read this post to become a master paster :)

The post is divided in to 2 parts,

    • Basic Pasting Tricks
    • Pasting while Manipulating Data

Basic Copy Pasting of Data

  1. Paste Values

    paste-values-aloneIf you want to just paste the values from copied cells, just hit ATL+E followed by S and V. Very useful when you want to strip away existing formatting and work with plain data.

  2. Paste Formats (or Format painter)

    paste-formats-only-1Like that sleek table format your colleague has made? But don’t have the time to redo it yourself, worry not, you can paste formatting (including any conditional formats) from any copied cells to new cells, just hit ALT+E S T.

  3. Paste Formulas

    If you want to copy a bunch of formulas to a new range of cells – this is very useful. Just copy the cells containing the formulas, hit ALT+E S F. You can achieve the same effect by dragging the formula cell to new range if the new range is adjacent.

  4. Paste Validations

    paste-validationsLove copy those input validations you have created but not the cell contents or anything, just press ALT+E S N. This is very useful when you created a form and would like to replicate some of the cells to another area.

  5. Adjust column widths of some cells based on other cells

    You have created a table for tracking purchases and your boss liked it. So he wanted you to create another table to track sales and you want to maintain the column widths in the new table. You dont have to move back and forth looking for column widths or anything. Instead just paste column widths from your selection. Use ALT+E S W.

  6. Grab comments only and paste them elsewhere

    paste-commentsIf you want to copy comments alone from certain cells to a new set of cells, just use ALT + E S C. This will reduce the amount of retyping you need to do.

  7. Of course you want to paste everything

    Just use CTRL+V or ALT+E+P or one of those little paste icons on the tool bar

    Manipulating with copied data while pasting

  8. Add while pasting

    paste-with-additionFor example, if you have in Row 1 – 1 2 3 as values and in Row 2 – 7 8 9 as values and you would like to add row 1 values to row 2 values to get – 8 10 12, you can do this using paste special. Just copy row 1 values and use ALT + E S D.


  9. Subtract while pasting

    Just use ALT + E S S

  10. Multiply while pasting

    Just use ALT + E S M

  11. Divide while pasting

    Just use ALT + E S I

  12. Skip blank cells while pasting

    paste-skip-blanksThis is very useful when you are pasting data from that contains lots of blank cells. Instead of using filters or some type of if()s you can simply use ALT+E S B. This will remove all the blank cells from the copied cells before pasting it. Remember you can combine this option with other types of pastes (For eg. you can skip blanks while pasting values alone or skip blanks while adding the copied cells to paste area.)

    This is wrong. Skip blanks is instead used to paste only data cells and not blanks (thus retaining any data in the paste range corresponding to the blank cells in copied range)

  13. Convert rows to columns or columns to rows while pasting data

    transpose-while-pastingFor example you have large list of values in column A and you want to move (or copy) these values to row 1 across. How would you do that? Of course you can rely on trusty paste-special to do that little job for you. Just use ALT + E S E. This will transpose copied values before pasting, thus converting rows to columns and columns to rows.

  14. Paste reference to original cells

    If you want to create references to a bulk of cells instead of copy-pasting all the values this is the option for you. Just use ALT+E S L to create an automatic reference to copied range of cells.

  15. Paste text by converting it in to columns

    This option is very useful when you are pasting data from outside. For example, if you want to paste few lines of this blog post in an excel sheet but would like to see each word in a separate cell, you can copy the content here (CTRL+C), go to your excel sheet and use CTRL+V to paste the data and then click on the paste icon that appears at the bottom of the pasted cell and select “use text import wizard” option. This will launch the mildly powerful text import wizard of excel using which you can convert copied text to columns by defining some simple parsing conditions. The default options split text into words (by using space as a delimiter). You can use this option to convert most types of text including comma separated values, fixed width values. The text import wizard dialog looks somewhat like this.

  16. Paste live data from web

    If you want to import live data from web to your worksheets, you can use Excel web queries. This is a powerful tool using which you can create worksheets that can fetch data from web (or network resources) and display in your worksheet for you to process them. You can findout more about these by learning to create a mutual fund portfolio tracker sheet.

  17. What is your favorite paste trick?

    There are many more paste tricks that are hidden in excel, like pasting live xml data to your sheets, pasting images, objects, files etc. But I am more interesting in knowing your favorite pasting hack. So tell me, what is your all time favorite paste?


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