Copying and Pasting data is one of the most performed actions in Excel. There is a lot more to copy-pasting then simple Control + C and Control + V.
In this tutorial, you will learn all about the Excel Paste Special feature and useful Excel Paste Special Shortcuts.
What is Excel Paste Special?
What happens when you copy a cell in excel and paste it somewhere else?
It copies not only the content of the cell but also the format such as background color, font color, borders(as shown below).
But what if you want to copy only the cell contents and not the formatting, or only the formatting and not the values, or only the formula within it?
You can’t do that with a simple copy paste but you can do that using Excel Paste Special functionality in Excel.
Accessing Excel Paste Special Options?
There are a couple of ways you can access the Excel Paste Special features.
The first step is to copy the cells that you want to paste. Once you copy it, here are three different ways to access paste special in Excel:
- Using the Ribbon: Go to Home –> Clipboard –> Paste –> Paste Special. This will open the Excel Paste Special Dialogue box.
- Using Keyboard Shortcut: Use the Excel Paste Special Shortcut – Alt + E + S + V.
- Using Right-click Menu: Right Click in the cell where you want to paste, and then select paste special.
All these three options would open a Paste Special dialogue box, as shown below:
Understanding Excel Paste Special Dialogue Box
It could be overwhelming to see so many options for something as simple as copying and pasting in Excel. However, when you go through these, it makes a lot of sense to have these options available.
If you have a good grip on these Excel Paste Special options, it can save you a lot of time (and you know time is money!).
So let’s learn more about these options:
Paste Options in the Paste Special Dialogue Box:
These options enable you to paste selectively. For example, you can choose to only paste formulas, or values, or formats, or comments, etc.
To use these, simply copy the cells, go the cell where you want to paste it, open the paste special dialogue box, and select the desired option.
For example, suppose you have a data set where you have formatted the data using borders and fill colors. If you want to copy only the values, copy the data, go to the destination cell where you want the data to be copied, open the Excel Paste Special dialog box, and select Values. This will only copy the data and not the formatting.
Operation Options in the Paste Special Dialogue Box:
Operations options give you a quick way to perform the given operations without applying a formula or directly changing the cell contents.
For example, let’s say you have some numbers that are in millions, and you want to convert it into billions. One way of doing this would be to create a formula where you divide the number with 1000.
Here is a better way:
- In an empty cell, enter 1000.
- Select this cell and copy it (Control + C).
- Select the cells that you want to convert from million to billion.
- Open the Paste Special Dialogue box and select the Divide option.
That’s it! It will convert the numbers into billions.
In a similar way, you can use other operations as well – Add, Subtract, or Multiply using Paste Special.
Additional Excel Paste Special Options
Apart from the Paste and Operation option, there are two additional options in the Excel Paste Special dialogue box.
- Skip Blanks: This would skip copying and pasting the blanks. A practical use if this could be when you have data split into 2 columns and you want to combine it in a single column. Something as shown below:
- Transpose: As the name suggests, if this is checked, it transposes the data when you paste it.
Excel Paste Special Shortcuts
If you start using Excel Paste Special when you copy and paste data in Excel, knowing a couple of keyboard shortcuts will save you a lot of time.
Here is the list of the shortcuts
- To Paste Values only – Alt+E+S+V + Enter.
- To Paste Formatting only – Alt+E+S+T + Enter.
- To Paste Comments only – Alt+E+S+C + Enter.
- To set column width the same as that of the copied cells – Alt+E+S+W + Enter.
- To copy but in a transposed manner – Alt+E+S+*+E+ Enter (striking that extra ‘E’ at the end checks the transpose option. The * indicates that you can use it with any of the above-mentioned shortcuts. So for example, to copy values in a transposed manner you would use Alt ESVE + Enter).
Hope these Excel Paste Special shortcuts are helpful.
While you may not remember these all, it’s a good practice to consciously use these for a couple of times and then you will know these like the back of your hand.
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19 thoughts on “Excel Paste Special Shortcuts That Will Save You Tons of Time”
Why Paste Special dialogue box is not showing in onedrive, I want to paste Values in Transposed manner
i am copying a lot of data from other software to excel. So basically i am pasting data to cell so i copied the data from other software a text data then i click on excel cell and now i have to press Ctrl+V which i don’t want to do that can i eliminate this step i mean can it be paste automatically if somehow i could do some trick in it please help i am a basic excel user.
This is very suitable for those who wants to learn about excel.And very easy for New.
U R keeping me amazed!! Always.
good tips to save time and labour
I use Ctrl+Alt+V to display the paste special pop up. I use 2007 & 2010 .
Yes very comfort to use this keys to while working and save time.
If i want to copy comments and formats at the same time without the contents of the cell what should i do? from the menu Paste Special Options i can choose only one comments or formats but i want to copy both. Thank you for your previous answer. I am using excel 2010
Hey Chris.. You’ll have to paste twice. So copy just once and while pasting, use Comments the first time and format the second time.
thank you again
If you want to copy comments and formats whithout anything else what should i do?
Copy the cell and when pasting, you can only paste the comments and formatting. To do this, copy the cell, go to the destination cell and use the keyboard shortcut ALT + E + S. It will open the Paste Special dialog box. There you can first select Comments and then select Formats.
Thank you i will try it
This may work but it still a lot more than what I had to do in the past. For copying values only I just would use CTRL-SHIFT-V, so much faster that all those button presses and enter; or pop-up clicks.
Does it work in Excel? I tested and it doesn’t for me (I am using Windows). I use this shortcut when working in Chrome though
Superb.. very helpful
Thank you! Great tips!
Good tricks to save time
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