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Copy and paste in Excel

Contrary to what you might think copy and paste functionality is one of the key skills in your Excel toolbox. If you have ever accidentally messed up your workbook it’s probably due to copy and paste missusage. It’s possible to paste only specific components of you data such as formulas, values or formattings. Other useful feature are paste as picture and paste as links.


  1. Write “Copy this” to one cell and “Delete this” to another. Then copy the cell that says “Copy this” but don’t paste it yet. Now delete the contents of the cell that says “Delete this”. Now try to paste the data in any cell. Can you make it?

  2. Try to cut data by CTRL and X combination or from the menu after right clicking a cell. Can you use any of the introduced paste methods such as paste as values or paste as formulas?

  3. Find a paste method that allows you to preserve the column width of the original copied area.

See the answer

  1. The paste fails if you modify any cell after the copy operation. I don’t know the reason for this behaviour.

  2. Paste special methods only work for copied data.

  3. The option can be found from Paste special window.

Lecture materials

Lecture 4 - Copy and paste in Excel

Video tutorial