Speed Up Copying and Pasting Using These Great Tricks and Shortcuts in Microsoft Excel

by Avantix Learning Team | Updated April 10, 2021

Applies to: Microsoft® Excel® 2013, 2016, 2019 and 365 (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 Excel Data Entry Tricks and Shortcuts Every User Should Know

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For the following examples, if you are dragging, clicking or double-clicking, use the left mouse button.

1. Copying and pasting using Ctrl + C and Ctrl + 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 Ctrl + C. Click the top left cell where you wish to paste and press Ctrl + V. The copied selection is saved in the Clipboard so you can continue pressing Ctrl + V in different locations if you want to make multiple copies of the selection.

2. Copying and pasting 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.

Microsoft Excel Paste Special dialog box.

Select the cells you want to copy and press Ctrl + C. Click the top left cell where you wish to paste and press Ctrl + Alt + V. The Paste Special dialog box appears. Select an option (such as Values) and click OK.

3. Copying 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. Copying 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.

Microsoft Excel Smart Tag menu to copy cells.

5. Copying 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 Ctrl and drag the border of the cell or range to a new location. Release the mouse button and then release Ctrl. 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 Ctrl + 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 Ctrl + Alt. Excel will create a copy in the new location on the other sheet.

6. Copying 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 Ctrl + ' (apostrophe) or Ctrl + D.

7.  Copying 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 Ctrl + Shift + ' (apostrophe).

8. Copying 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 Ctrl + R.

9. Copying formatting

To copy formatting from one cell to another:

  1. Click the cell with the formatting you want to copy.
  2. Click the Home tab in the Ribbon.
  3. Click the Format Painter in the Clipboard group.
  4. Click the cell to which you want to copy the formatting.

The Format Painter appears on the left in the Home tab in the Ribbon:

Microsoft Excel Format Painter in the Ribbon.

To copy formatting from one cell to many other cells:

  1. Click the cell with the formatting you want to copy.
  2. Click the Home tab in the Ribbon.
  3. Double-click the Format Painter in the Clipboard group.
  4. Click the cells to which you want to copy the formatting.
  5. Press ESC or click the Format Painter to turn it off.

10. Copying a sheet

To quickly copy a sheet, point to the sheet tab you want to copy and then press Ctrl 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 Ctrl when the copy is in the desired location.

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More resources

How to Quickly Delete Blank Rows in Excel (5 Ways)

How to Fill or Replace Blank Cells in Excel with a Value from a Cell Above

How to Use Flash Fill in Excel to Clean or Extract Data (Beginner's Guide)

How to Use Conditional Formatting in Excel to Highlight Dates Before Today (3 Ways)

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10 Timesaving Excel Tricks and Shortcuts for Copying and Pasting
Article Name
10 Timesaving Excel Tricks and Shortcuts for Copying and Pasting
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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.
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Avantix Learning

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