Copy cell data and paste attributes only

There are two ways to paste specific cell contents or attributes like a formula, format, or comment copied from another cell. You can either pick a specific paste option directly from the Paste menu or click Paste Special, and pick an option from the Paste Special box.

for paste special options, click paste on the Home tab

  1. Select the cell with the attribute you want to copy and press Ctrl+C.

    Tip:  To copy a selection to a different worksheet or workbook, click another worksheet tab or switch to another workbook.

  2. Click the upper-left cell of the paste area and use either the Paste options or the Paste Special options.

Paste menu options

Click Home > Paste and pick the specific paste option you want. For example, to paste only formatting from the copied cell, click Formatting the paste formatting button . This table shows the options available in the Paste menu:


Option name

Paste result

paste cell content


All cell contents.

Icon for pasting value an keeping source column width

Keep Source Column Widths

Copied cell content along with its column width.

Paste copied values by swithing columns to rows and vice versa.


Reorients the content of copied cells when pasting. Data in rows is pasted into columns and vice versa.

paste values with source formatting

Values & Source Formatting

Values and formatting from copied cells.

Paste link option

Paste Link

Reference to the source cells instead of the copied cell contents.

Paste copied picture


Copied image.

Paste linked picture

Linked Picture

Copied image with a link to the original cells (if you make any changes to the original cells those changes are reflected in the pasted image).

Paste Special options

To use options from the Paste Special box, click Home > Paste > Paste Special.

Keyboard Shortcut: Press Ctrl+Alt+V.

Paste Special Dialog box

In the Paste Special box, pick the attribute you want to paste.

Note:  Depending on the type of data you copied and the Paste option you picked, some other options might be grayed out.

Option name

Paste result


All cell contents and formatting.


Only comments attached to the cell.


Only the data validation settings from the copied cells.

Column widths

Only column widths.

Common Paste and Paste Special options

You can use some of the paste special options from either the Paste menu or the Paste Special box. The option names might vary a bit but they results are the same:

Icon and option name in Paste menu and Paste Special box

Paste results

Paste formatting icon Formatting

Formats in Paste Special.

Only the formatting from copied cells.

paste Values only Values

Values (visible results of formulas and not the formulas).

Paste formulas icon Formulas

Only the formulas from copied cells.

Paste formulas and number formatting option Formulas & Number Formatting

Formulas and number formats in Paste Special.

Only formulas and number formats (not text formats) from copied cells.

paster values and number formatting Values & Number Formatting

Values and number formats in Paste Special.

Only the values (not formulas) and number formats from copied cells.

Paste cell content without borders No Borders

All except borders in Paste Special.

All copied cell contents except borders.

Paste value with source formatting Keep Source Formatting

All using Source theme in Paste Special.

Cell content with the formatting from copied cells.

For more about copying an entire worksheet to another location in the same workbook or to a different workbook, see Move or copy worksheets or worksheet data.

When you’ve copied data in Excel Online, you have the following four ways to paste it:

  • With original formatting and formulas, if it’s a calculated value

  • Values and their formulas

  • Values only

  • Formatting only

Paste options

Tip:  If you aren’t able to copy or paste, click Edit Workbook > Edit in Excel Online.

To paste copied cell contents, click the cell you want to paste into and click Paste > Paste or click Ctrl+V.

Tip: You can also paste by right-clicking the cell you want to paste into and picking Paste.

Paste option that is available on the right-click menu

Paste formulas

Here’s how you can paste calculated cell values with their formulas:

  1. Click the cell where you want to paste the value you copied.

  2. Click Paste and pick Paste Formulas.

  3. Update absolute and relative references. For example, in this picture the pasted formula in cell F2 needs to be changed manually to=Average(C2,D2).

    when using the paste forumulas option adjust the references.

    Tip: For a range of cells, you’ll need to change the reference only in the first cell. Excel Online automatically updates the rest.

Paste values only

When you‘ve copied data from calculated cells, and want to only paste the values without the formulas, click the cell where you want to paste the values, and then click Paste > Paste values.

Paste formatting only

Sometimes you want to reuse formatting in cells containing other data. For example, in this picture, the formatting from cells in the Totals column is pasted into the highlighted column.

option to paste only cell formatting

Here’s how you can paste only the formatting:

  1. Select the cell or cell range that has the formatting you want to copy and press Ctrl+C.

  2. Select the cells where you want to paste the formatting, and click Paste > Paste Formatting.

Need more help?

You can always ask an expert in the Excel Tech Community, get support in the Answers community, or suggest a new feature or improvement on Excel User Voice.

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