Supercharge Your Cut and Paste: Popular Methods, Shortcuts and 2 Smarter Approaches

AUTHOR:  JASON MORRELL 

Jason Morrell

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Cut and Paste (and Copy and Paste) are in most people's repertoires.

Being able to copy data or move data from one place to another is one of the fundamental skills that you need in Excel as well as any other program you use. 

In this post I'll show you how to cut and paste or copy and paste, using some popular methods and shortcuts.

Then you'll discover some really smart tools to achieve this faster.

Let's begin.

1. Popular ways to copy, cut and paste

To MOVE the contents of a cell or range of cells, the data is cut from its original location and pasted into a new location.

To COPY the contents of a cell or range of cells, the data is copied from its original location and pasted into a new location.

There are a number of techniques available to Cut, Copy and Paste.

To CUT:

1.  Press Ctrl X or

2.  Click the CUT icon (looks like the scissors) or

3.  Right-click and choose Cut.

Cut and paste: First, cut the cell(s) from their current location

To COPY:

1.  Press Ctrl C or

2.  Click the COPY icon or

3.  Right-click and choose Copy.

Copy and paste: First, copy the cell(s) from their current location

To PASTE:

1.  Press Ctrl V or

2.  Click the large PASTE icon or

3.  Right-click and choose Paste.

Cut and paste: Then paste the cut or copied selection to the new location

2. Move or copy data using Drag-and-Drop

To MOVE cell contents:

1.  Select a cell or range of cells.

2.  Move the mouse pointer over the border of the selection. The pointer will change to a four-headed arrow.

3.  Drag the selection by the border to a new location and release the button.

Moving and copying data using drag and drop

To COPY cell contents

1.  Move the mouse pointer over the border of the selection. The pointer will change to a four-headed arrow.

2.  Hold down Ctrl.

3.  With Ctrl pressed, drag the selection by the border to a new location then release the button.

3. The Office Clipboard

The Windows clipboard has been around since the first fax machine was installed on the ark. When an item is cut or copied it is added to the Windows clipboard. The clipboard can only hold one item, so if a second item is cut or copied it overwrites the first.

The Office clipboard improves the cut/copy/paste capabilities. After the Office Clipboard is switched on, cut or copied selections are added successively to the Office clipboard, for up to 24 items. Individual items or the entire collection may be pasted on demand. As its name suggests, the clipboard is available to all Office applications. Therefore, a selection added from, say, Word can be used within Excel.

To switch on the Office Clipboard:

1.  Select the Home ribbon.

2.  Click the launcher at the bottom-right corner of the Clipboard group.

The clipboard is now displayed on the left side of the screen.

Cut and paste supersized: Switch on the Office Clipboard

3.  Select an item of text, a cell, a range of cells,  a picture or anything else you want to use.

4.  Copy or cut the selected item(s). These are added to the Office Clipboard.

The Office Clipboard can hold up to 24 items (cells, cell ranges, images, tables, anything really)

5.  To paste an item from the clipboard:

  • Select a destination cell.
  • In the Office Clipboard pane, click the item you want to paste.

6.  To remove an item from the clipboard:

  • Hover over the clipboard item.
  • Click the drop-down arrow and click Delete

7.  To use the Office Clipboard as a collection tool and paste everything:

  • Select a cell.
  • Click Paste All at the top of the clipboard.

8.  To wipe the clipboard clean:

  • Click Clear All to wipe the clipboard clean.

4. Cut and paste and more: Key takeaways

  • Cut and Paste method 1: Use the icons on the Home ribbon
  • Cut and Paste method 2: Right-click and choose Cut, Copy or Paste on the context menu
  • Cut and Paste method 3: Use the shortcut keys (Ctrl X to cut, Ctrl C to copy, Ctrl V to paste)
  • Cut and Paste method 4: Drag and Drop
  • The Windows clipboard can store 1 item.
  • The Office clipboard holds up to 24 items and can be used as a common library across the entire Microsoft Office suite. To switch it on, click the launcher button in the Clipboard group on the Home ribbon.

Please feel free to post any questions you have into the comments below. And before you leave this page, I want to give you one quick little action item! 

ACTION ITEM: Comment below with ONE thing you picked up from this post and share how it has helped, or will help, you. It's good to share your successes because it encourages others and provides an instant boost.

Enjoy the rest of your day!

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About Jason Morrell

About the author

Jason Morrell


Jason loves to simplify the hard stuff, cut the fluff and share what actually works. Things that make a difference. Things that slash hours from your daily work tasks. He runs a software training business in Queensland, Australia, lives on the Gold Coast with his wife and 4 kids and often talks about himself in the third person!

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