Excel Paste Special Shortcuts That Will Save You Tons of Time


Copying and Pasting data is one of the most performed actions in Excel. There is a lot more to copy-pasting than a 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, and borders (as shown below).

Excel Paste Special Shortcuts - Copy and Paste

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 Dialog box.
    Excel Paste Special Shortcuts - From Home Tab
  • Using Keyboard Shortcut: Use the Excel Paste Special Shortcut – Alt + E + S + V.Excel Paste Special Shortcuts - Alt ESV
  • Using Right-click Menu: Right-click in the cell where you want to paste, and then select paste special.Excel Paste Special Shortcuts - Right Click

All these three options would open a Paste Special dialog box, as shown below:

Excel Paste Special Shortcuts - Dialogue Box

Also read: Copy and Paste Multiple Cells in Excel (Adjacent & Non-Adjacent)

Understanding Excel Paste Special Dialog 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 Dialog Box:

Excel Paste Special Shortcuts - Paste Options

These options enable you to paste selectively. For example, you can choose to only paste formulas, values, formats, comments, etc.

To use these, simply copy the cells, go to the cell where you want to paste it, open the paste special dialog 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.

Also read: How to Remove Cell Formatting in Excel

Operation Options in the Paste Special Dialog 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 them into billions.

One way of doing this would be to create a formula where you divide the number by 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 Dialog 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.

Also read: Remove Formulas (but Keep Data) in Excel

Additional Excel Paste Special Options

Apart from the Paste and Operation option, there are two additional options in the Excel Paste Special dialog box.

Excel Paste Special Shortcuts - Additional Options

  • Skip Blanks: This would skip copying and pasting the blanks. A practical use of this could be when you have data split into two columns, and you want to combine it in a single column. Something as shown below:Excel Paste Special Shortcuts - Skip Blanks
  • 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

  1. To Paste Values only – Alt+E+S+V + Enter.
  2. To Paste Formatting only – Alt+E+S+T + Enter.
  3. To Paste Comments only – Alt+E+S+C + Enter.
  4. To set column width the same as that of the copied cells – Alt+E+S+W + Enter.
  5. 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).

I hope these Excel Paste Special shortcuts are helpful.

While you may not remember these all, it’s a good practice to consciously use these a couple of times, and then you will know them like the back of your hand.

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Picture of Sumit Bansal
Hello there! I'm Sumit Bansal, founder of trumpexcel.com and an Excel MVP. I started this website in 2013 with a simple goal: to share my love for Excel through easy to follow tips, tutorials and videos. I'm here to help you get the best out of MS Excel to save time and boost your productivity.

19 thoughts on “Excel Paste Special Shortcuts That Will Save You Tons of Time”

  1. Why Paste Special dialogue box is not showing in onedrive, I want to paste Values in Transposed manner

  2. 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.

  3. 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

    • 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.

  4. 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


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