Top 5 Copy Paste Functions in Excel – Values, Formatting, Special and More!

Top 5 Copy Paste Functions in Excel – A Detailed Guide

The copy and paste functions in Excel save time and effort, since there’s no need to retype information that already exists.  In  this post,  I will cover and explain the different copy and paste operations that Excel offers.

There are a million reasons under the sun to copy and paste in Excel.  You may want to duplicate information in one column, another sheet or even another workbook.  Perhaps you are copying and pasting data from another source, such as MS Access, your web browser, or a PDF document.  Maybe you are moving data around within a worksheet or workbook.

Copy vs. Cut in Excel

When you select copy within Excel, you are telling the program that you would like to duplicate the information.

When you choose cut in Excel, you remove the data from where it currently exists, and place it elsewhere.

How to Copy

To begin, you must select the data that you would like to copy.  This will move the source data to the clipboard, which is a temporary holding place in the background.

Highlight the data.  To copy using the mouse, right click, and select the copy option.   You may also use the keyboard shortcut – Ctrl + c.  Click in the destination cell.

Paste Options Explained

Copy Paste Special
Copy Paste Menu in Excel

PastePaste – If you would like to paste your data as is, with no changes, right click and select this icon.

Excel ValuesPaste Values – If you’re copying a formula, but only want to paste the results, select this icon, with the numbers.

Excel Paste Formulas Paste Formula – Say you wanted to paste just a formula or set of formulas, you would choose the option with the “fx” in the icon.  Note that depending on what the formula is doing, the result may be different from the original.

Excel Transpose PastePaste and Transpose – The transpose option allows you to change the orientation of your data.  Let’s say you had four items listed vertically.  Using the transpose option would allow you to paste the items horizontally, or vice versa.

Excel Formatting PastePaste Formatting – Excel gives you the option of pasting the formatting only.  If you had some nice shading, or conditional formatting and wanted to copy that, but not modify the formula or data of the target cell or range, then paste formatting would be the option to choose.

Excel Link PastePaste Link – You can simply paste a link to, or reference to the source as a formula or formulas if you are copying multiple cells.  Hint: If you are copying only one cell, by default, the reference will be absolute.  This means that you can move the formula around, but the cell(s) it is pointing to will not change.  When copying multiple cells, the result will be relative references.