Excel Copy, wait for it… Paste!

August 30th, 2017



If you are lucky enough to be using Excel 2016 through an Office 365 subscription, Microsoft are introducing new features monthly. Many of these will only affect a small number of users but some could be used by almost every user.

The one I’m going to tell you about is an improvement to an everyday operation.  If you are using an older version of Excel read on to the end where I’ll explain, that you too, can do this if you are prepared to give up a little bit of screen space.

Excel – Before you ‘Paste’

Until May 2017, if you copied data (range of cells, columns, rows etc.) then your next action had to be paste or your copied data was dropped.  Now in Microsoft Excel 2016 “you can copy your cells, and before you paste, you can still do other tasks like typing or inserting cells.”

Excel Insert

Notice on the screen shot above Insert Cut Cells and Insert are both available.

Once you have finished pasting press the Esc key (in the top left-hand corner of the keyboard) to remove the moving border from your selection.

Excel Clipboard dialog box launcher

For those of you on another version of Excel you can achieve the same end by opening the Clipboard before you copy.  To open the Clipboard, click the arrow in the bottom right hand corner of the Clipboard group on the Home tab.

The Clipboard will open on the left-hand side of the screen.

In addition to being able to paste your copied data at any time you can save multiple copied ranges and even copy between different Microsoft applications such as Word and PowerPoint.

Excel Copy, wait for it… Paste!

Did you notice the keyboard commands for Copy, Cut and Paste in the picture above?  Ctrl and C to Copy makes good sense but unfortunately Paste isn’t Ctrl and P (Print got there first), Cut can’t be Ctrl and C too. A good way to remember the last 2 is that they are either side of C on a standard QWERTY keyboard.


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