Move or copy cells and cell contents

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Using the Cut, Copy, and Paste commands in Microsoft Excel, you can move or copy entire cells or their contents. You can also copy specific contents or attributes from the cells. For example, you can copy the resulting value of a formula without copying the formula itself, or you can copy only the formula.

 Note   Excel displays an animated moving border around cells that have been cut or copied. To cancel a moving border, press ESC.

What do you want to do?

Move or copy entire cells

Move or copy entire cells by using the mouse

Insert moved or copied cells between existing cells

Copy visible cells only

Prevent copied blank cells from replacing data

Move or copy the contents of a cell

Copy cell values, cell formats, or formulas only

Move or copy entire cells

When you move or copy a cell, Excel moves or copies the entire cell, including formulas and their resulting values, comments, and cell formats.

  1. Select the cells that you want to move or copy.

How to select cells

To select Do this
A single cell Click the cell, or press the arrow keys to move to the cell.
A range (range: Two or more cells on a sheet. The cells in a range can be adjacent or nonadjacent.) of cells Click the first cell of the range, and then drag to the last cell.
A large range of cells Click the first cell in the range, and then hold down SHIFT while you click the last cell in the range. You can scroll to make the last cell visible.
All cells on a worksheet

Click the Select All button.

Select All button

Nonadjacent cells or cell ranges Select the first cell or range of cells, and then hold down CTRL while you select the other cells or ranges.
More or fewer cells than the active selection Hold down SHIFT while you click the last cell that you want to include in the new selection. The rectangular range between the active cell (active cell: The selected cell in which data is entered when you begin typing. Only one cell is active at a time. The active cell is bounded by a heavy border.) and the cell that you click becomes the new selection.

 Note   To cancel a selection of cells, click any cell on the worksheet.

  1. Do one of the following:
  2. Select the upper-left cell of the paste area (paste area: The target destination for data that's been cut or copied by using the Office Clipboard.).

Tip    To move or copy a selection to a different worksheet or workbook, click another worksheet tab or switch to another workbook, and then select the upper-left cell of the paste area.

  1. Click Paste Button image on the Standard toolbar, or press CTRL+V.


 Notes 

  • To choose specific options when you paste cells, you can click the arrow next to Paste Button image on the Standard toolbar, and then click the option that you want.
  • By default, Excel displays the Paste Options button on the worksheet to provide you with special options when you paste cells, such as Keep Source Formatting and Match Destination Formatting. If you don't want to display this button every time you paste cells, you can turn this option off. On the Tools menu, click Options. On the Edit tab, clear the Show Paste Options buttons check box.
  • Excel replaces existing data in the paste area when you move cells.
  • When you copy cells, cell references are automatically adjusted. When you move cells, however, cell references are not adjusted, and the contents of those cells and of any cells that point to them may be displayed as reference errors. In this case, you'll need to adjust the references manually.
  • If the selected copy area (copy area: The cells that you copy when you want to paste data into another location. After you copy cells, a moving border appears around them to indicate that they've been copied.) includes hidden cells, Excel also copies the hidden cells. You may need to temporarily unhide cells that you don't want to include when you copy information.

If the paste area contains hidden rows or columns, you might need to unhide the paste area to see all of the copied cells.

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Move or copy entire cells by using the mouse

By default, drag-and-drop editing is turned on so that you can use the mouse to move and copy cells.

  1. Select the cells or range (range: Two or more cells on a sheet. The cells in a range can be adjacent or nonadjacent.) of cells that you want to move or copy.

How to select cells

To select Do this
A single cell Click the cell, or press the arrow keys to move to the cell.
A range (range: Two or more cells on a sheet. The cells in a range can be adjacent or nonadjacent.) of cells Click the first cell of the range, and then drag to the last cell.
A large range of cells Click the first cell in the range, and then hold down SHIFT while you click the last cell in the range. You can scroll to make the last cell visible.
All cells on a worksheet

Click the Select All button.

Select All button

Nonadjacent cells or cell ranges Select the first cell or range of cells, and then hold down CTRL while you select the other cells or ranges.
More or fewer cells than the active selection Hold down SHIFT while you click the last cell that you want to include in the new selection. The rectangular range between the active cell (active cell: The selected cell in which data is entered when you begin typing. Only one cell is active at a time. The active cell is bounded by a heavy border.) and the cell that you click becomes the new selection.
  1. Do one of the following:
    • To move a cell or range of cells, point to the border of the selection. When the pointer becomes a move pointer Move pointer, drag the cell or range of cells to another location.
    • To copy a cell or range of cells, hold down CTRL while you point to the border of the selection. When the pointer becomes a copy pointer Copy pointer, drag the cell or range of cells to another location.


 Notes 

If the paste area contains hidden rows or columns, you might need to unhide the paste area to see all of the copied cells.

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Insert moved or copied cells between existing cells

  1. Select the cell or range (range: Two or more cells on a sheet. The cells in a range can be adjacent or nonadjacent.) of cells that contains the data that you want to move or copy.
  2. Do one of the following:
    • To move the selection, click Cut Button image on the Standard toolbar, or press CTRL+X.
    • To copy the selection, click Copy Button image on the Standard toolbar, or press CTRL+C.
  3. Select the upper-left cell of the paste area (paste area: The target destination for data that's been cut or copied by using the Office Clipboard.).

Tip    To move or copy a selection to a different worksheet or workbook, click another worksheet tab or switch to another workbook, and then select the upper-left cell of the paste area.

  1. On the Insert menu, click Cut Cells or Copied Cells.
  2. In the Insert Paste dialog box, click the direction in which you want to shift the surrounding cells.

 Note   If you insert entire rows or columns, the surrounding rows and columns are shifted down and to the left.

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Copy visible cells only

If some cells, rows, or columns on your worksheet are not displayed, you have the option of copying all cells or only the visible cells. For example, you can choose to copy only the displayed summary data on an outlined (outline: Worksheet data in which rows or columns of detail data are grouped so that you can create summary reports. The outline can summarize either an entire worksheet or a selected portion of it.) worksheet.

  1. Select the cells that you want to copy.
  2. On the Edit menu, click Go To.
  3. In the Go To dialog box, click Special.
  4. In the Go To Special dialog box, click Visible cells only, and then click OK.
  5. Click Copy Button image on the Standard toolbar (toolbar: A bar with buttons and options that you use to carry out commands. To display a toolbar, press ALT and then SHIFT+F10.), or press CTRL+C.
  6. Select the upper-left cell of the paste area (paste area: The target destination for data that's been cut or copied by using the Office Clipboard.).

Tip    To move or copy a selection to a different worksheet or workbook, click another worksheet tab or switch to another workbook, and then select the upper-left cell of the paste area.

  1. Click Paste Button image on the Standard toolbar, or press CTRL+V.


 Notes 

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Prevent copied blank cells from replacing data

  1. Select the range (range: Two or more cells on a sheet. The cells in a range can be adjacent or nonadjacent.) of cells that contains blank cells.
  2. Click Copy Button image on the Standard toolbar, or press CTRL+C.
  3. Select the upper-left cell of the paste area (paste area: The target destination for data that's been cut or copied by using the Office Clipboard.).
  4. Click the arrow to the right of Paste Button image on the Standard toolbar, and then click Paste Special.
  5. Select the Skip blanks check box.

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Move or copy the contents of a cell

  1. Double-click the cell that contains the data you want to move or copy.

 Note   By default, you can edit and select cell data directly in the cell by double-clicking it, but you can also edit and select cell data in the formula bar (formula bar: A bar at the top of the Excel window that you use to enter or edit values or formulas in cells or charts. Displays the constant value or formula stored in the active cell.).

  1. In the cell, select the characters that you want to move or copy.
  2. Do one of the following:
    • To move the selection, click Cut Button image on the Standard toolbar, or press CTRL+X.
    • To copy the selection, click Copy Button image on the Standard toolbar, or press CTRL+C.
  3. In the cell, click where you want to paste the characters, or double-click another cell to move or copy the data.
  4. Click Paste Button image on the Standard toolbar, or press CTRL+V.
  5. Press ENTER.

Note When you double-click a cell or press F2 to edit the active cell, the arrow keys work only within that cell. To use the arrow keys to move to another cell, first press ENTER to complete your editing changes to the active cell.

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Copy cell values, cell formats, or formulas only

When you paste copied data, you can do any of the following:

  • Convert any formulas in the cell to the calculated values without overwriting the existing formatting.
  • Paste only the cell formatting, such as font color or fill color (and not the contents of the cells).
  • Paste only the formulas (and not the calculated values).
  1. Select the cell or range of cells that contains the values, cell formats, or formulas that you want to copy.
  2. Click Copy Button image on the Standard toolbar (toolbar: A bar with buttons and options that you use to carry out commands. To display a toolbar, press ALT and then SHIFT+F10.).
  3. Select the upper-left cell of the paste area (paste area: The target destination for data that's been cut or copied by using the Office Clipboard.) or the cell where you want to paste the value, cell format, or formula.
  4. Click the arrow to the right of Paste Button image on the Standard toolbar, and then do one of the following:
    • To paste values only, click Values.
    • To paste cell formats only, click Paste Special, and then, in the Paste Special dialog box, click Formats.
    • To paste formulas only, click Formulas.

 Note   If the copied formulas contain relative cell references, Excel adjusts the references (and the relative parts of mixed cell references) in the duplicate formulas. For example, suppose that cell B8 contains the formula =SUM(B1:B7). If you copy the formula to cell C8, the duplicate formula refers to the corresponding cells in that column: =SUM(C1:C7). If the copied formulas contain absolute cell references (absolute cell reference: In a formula, the exact address of a cell, regardless of the position of the cell that contains the formula. An absolute cell reference takes the form $A$1.), the references in the duplicate formulas are not changed. If you don't get the results that you want, you can also change the references in the original formulas to either relative or absolute cell references and then recopy the cells.

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Applies to:
Excel 2003