Paste options

By default when you copy (or cut) and paste in Excel, everything in the source cell or range - data, formatting, formulas, validation, comments - is pasted to the destination cell(s). This is what happens when you press CTRL+V to paste. Since that might not be what you want, you have many other paste options, depending on what you copy.

For example, you might want to paste the contents of a cell but not its formatting. Or maybe you want to transpose the pasted data from rows to columns. Or, you might need to paste the result of a formula instead of the formula itself.

Important: When you copy and paste formulas, you might need to fix cell references. However, references are not changed when you cut and paste formulas.

Fill handle

Paste menu options (on the ribbon)

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:

Icon

Option name

What is Pasted

paste cell content

Paste

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.

Transpose

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

Button image

Formulas

Formula(s), without formatting or comments.

Button image

Values

Formula results, without formatting or comments.

the paste formatting button

Formatting

Only the formatting from the copied cells.

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

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

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.

Paste option

Action

All

Pastes all cell contents and formatting of the copied data.

Formulas

Pastes only the formulas of the copied data as entered in the formula bar.

Values

Pastes only the values of the copied data as displayed in the cells.

Formats

Pastes only cell formatting of the copied data.

Comments and Notes

Pastes only comments and notes attached to the copied cell.

Validation

Pastes data validation rules for the copied cells to the paste area.

All using Source theme

Pastes all cell contents in the document theme formatting that is applied to the copied data.

All except borders

Pastes all cell contents and formatting applied to the copied cell except borders.

Column widths

Pastes the width of one copied column or range of columns to another column or range of columns.

Formulas and number formats

Pastes only formulas and all number formatting options from the copied cells.

Values and number formats

Pastes only values and all number formatting options from the copied cells.

All merging conditional formats

Pastes the contents and conditional formatting options from the copied cells.

You can also specify a mathematical operation to apply to the copied data.

Operation

Action

None

Specifies that no mathematical operation will be applied to the copied data.

Add

Adds the copied data to the data in the destination cell or range of cells.

Subtract

Subtracts the copied data from the data in the destination cell or range of cells.

Multiply

Multiplies the copied data with the data in the destination cell or range of cells.

Divide

Divides the copied data by the data in the destination cell or range of cells.

Other options

Action

Skip blanks

Avoids replacing values in your paste area when blank cells occur in the copy area when you select this check box.

Transpose

Changes columns of copied data to rows and vice versa when you select this check box.

Paste Link

Click to create a link to the copied cell(s).

Verify and fix cell references in a pasted formula

Note: Cell references are automatically adjusted when you cut (not copy) and paste formulas.

After you paste a copied formula, you should verify that all cell references are correct in the new location. The cell references may have changed based on the reference type (absolute, relative, or mixed) used in the formula.

Formula being copied from A1, to two cells down and to the right
 

For example, if you copy a formula in cell A1 and paste it two cells down and to the right (C3), cell references in the pasted formula will change as follows:

This reference:

Changes to:

$A$1 (absolute column and absolute row)

$A$1

A$1 (relative column and absolute row)

C$1

$A1 (absolute column and relative row)

$A3

A1 (relative column and relative row)

C3


If cell references in the formula don’t give you the result you want, try switching to different reference types:

  1. Select the cell containing the formula.

  2. In the formula bar Button image , select the reference you want to change.

  3. Press F4 to switch between the reference combinations, and choose the one you want.

For more information about cell references, see Overview of formulas.

When you copy in Excel for the web, you can pick paste options in the destination cells.

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

Icon

Option name

What is Pasted

paste cell content

Paste

All cell contents.

Button image

Paste Formulas

Formula(s), without formatting.

Button image

Paste Values

Formula results, without formatting.

the paste formatting button

Paste Formatting

Only the formatting from the copied cells.

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

Paste Transpose

All cell content, but reorients the content when pasting. Data in rows is pasted into columns and vice versa.

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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