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jethro's picture

Pasting in Office 2013

This also applies to Office 2007 and 2010. Based on my original post Feb 2004 relating to Office 2003 and prior.

Most people know how to use copy and paste in Office. Or do they? Right click a selected item(s) and copy, then right click the destination and paste.

That is definitely the slow way. Keyboard people know about Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V for Copy and Paste. (or CTRL+Insert / Shift +Insert)

imageimageBut office has long had a Paste Special command that exposes a whole bunch more options for the pasting side of this command.

New Office, (2007, 2010, 2013) uses the Paste button in the ribbon to provide access (though there is still keyboard access with ALT+E+S).

Once you have something in the clipboard with the copy command, clicking the little arrow below Paste Icon in the ribbon gives you a lot more options. Each office application is slightly different  as to what you get.

Word has less options than Excel. Powerpoint and Outlook, Live Writer and Publisher etc. all use this feature differently. However each of them allow you to strip metadata (formatting etc.) from the actual text and just paste the text. This extremely useful when copying text from a web page, PDF file or some other heavily formatted document.

imageHovering your mouse over any of the icons will give you a tool tip identifying it as per the example on the right.

And clicking the Paste Special link at the bottom brings up the traditional dialog box.

Ill take you through the main ones for Excel.

  • Paste Special Formulas Use this when you want to copy a formula but don't want to change the editing on the target cell(s)
  • Paste Special Values Use this when you want to convert a selection (or single cell) from formulas or links to just the current calculated value. Full resolution of formulas to maximum decimal places will occur even if formatting doesn't show it. This is useful to cut links from external files, replace temporary formulas with actual results etc.
  • Paste Special Links Use this to quickly paste the link to an external spreadsheet by copying from that sheet and paste links into the target cell(s)
  • Paste Operation - Multiply, Add, Divide, Subtract These are very powerful tools. Try this:
    Find a selection of formulas (eg sums at the bottom of a range). Enter 0 (zero) in a blank cell then copy that cell.
    Select the range you want to alter and Paste Special Operation Multiply. (You may want to click Formulas as well so as to not change target cell(s) formatting).
    This will add to your existing formula *0 (and any required brackets) and the result will become zero. This can be used in all sorts of ways, - eg dividing numbers by 1,000 to change $ to $'000 etc.
  • Paste Special Transpose Use this to alter the orientation of a selection of cells. Copy a column and turn it into a row and vice versa.

You can also combine options from each section as per the example below.


jethro's picture

Excel Media Player, Floating Point and Shadows

Joseph Chirilov has written a series of 3 posts showing exactly how to build a fully functioning media player inside Excel.

If you want to try this then follow his step 1, step 2 and step 3. I would be interested in hearing from anybody who does that.


While we are talking about Joseph's site I want to highlight two other posts that are there.