Speed Up Copying and Pasting Using Simple Tricks and Shortcuts in Microsoft Excel
by Avantix Learning Team | Updated June 12, 2018
Applies to: Microsoft® Excel® 2010, 2013 and 2016 (Windows)
It’s surprising how much time you can save with a few tricks and shortcuts for copying and pasting in Microsoft Excel. Here are 10 useful copy and paste shortcuts for Excel users.
Recommended article: 10 Great Excel Pivot Table Shortcuts
For the following examples, if you are dragging, clicking or double-clicking, use the left mouse button.
1. Copy and paste using Control + C and Control + V
The most popular shortcut for copying and pasting can be used in Excel and other programs as well. In Excel, select the cells you want to copy and press Control + C. Click the top left cell where you wish to paste and press Control + V. The copied selection is saved in the Clipboard so you can continue pressing Control + V in different locations if you want to make multiple copies of the selection.
2. Copy and paste using Paste Special
Paste Special is a very useful tool in Excel. Many options from Paste Special appear when you copy and then right-click a cell (such as values). However, you can also access Paste Special using your keyboard.
Select the cells you want to copy and press Control + C. Click the top left cell where you wish to paste and press Control + Alt + V. The Paste Special dialog box appears. Select an option (such as Values) and click OK.
3. Copy formulas down quickly
Instead of dragging the Fill handle on the bottom right corner of a cell to copy a formula down, select the cell with the formula you want to copy and double-click the handle on the bottom right corner. Excel will copy the formula down as long as there is data on the left.
4. Copy a date
It’s common for Excel users to drag the Fill handle on the bottom right corner of a cell to copy a date. However, if you drag the Fill handle of a cell containing a date, Excel assumes you want to generate a date series. If this occurs and you want to copy the date, click the Smart Tag that appears after you drag the Fill handle and select Copy Cells from the menu.
5. Copy using Drag and Drop
You can use Excel’s Drag and Drop pointer to copy a cell or range of cells. Simply select a cell or a range of cells and point to the border of the cell or range (not the corner). The pointer changes to the Drag and Drop pointer. Press Control and drag the border of the cell or range to a new location. Release the mouse button and then release Control. Excel will create a copy in the new location.
You can also use the Drag and Drop pointer to copy to another sheet. Select a cell or a range of cells and point to the border of the cell or range. The pointer changes to the Drag and Drop pointer. Press Control + Alt and drag the border of the cell or range to a sheet tab to activate the sheet and then drag to a new location. Release the mouse button and then release Control + Alt. Excel will create a copy in the new location on the other sheet.
6. Copy from the cell above
To copy the data or formula from the cell above, click the cell below the cell you want to copy and press Control + ‘ (apostrophe) or Control + D.
7. Copy the value only from the cell above
To copy the value only (not the formula) from the cell above, click the cell below the cell you want to copy and press Control + Shift + ‘ (apostrophe).
8. Copy from the cell to the left
To copy the data or formula from the cell to the left, click in the cell to the right of the cell and you want to copy and press Control + R.
9. Copy formatting
To copy formatting from one cell to another, click the cell with the formatting you want to copy. Click the Home tab in the Ribbon and then click the Format Painter in the Clipboard group. Click the cell to which you want to copy the formatting.
To copy formatting from one cell to many other cells, click the cell with the formatting you want to copy. Click the Home tab in the Ribbon and then double-click the Format Painter in the Clipboard group. Click each cell to which you want to copy the formatting (the cells can be on different sheets or workbooks). Press Escape when you have finished copying.
10. Copy a sheet
To quickly copy a sheet, point to the sheet tab you want to copy and then press Control and drag the sheet to the right or left of the sheet tab. A sheet icon with a plus sign appears. Release the mouse button and then release Control when the copy is in the desired location.
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