How to Copy and Paste in Excel – Step-By-Step (2024)

Copy/pasting is something we have all known for ages now. But there’s so much more to the dynamic copy-paste tool of Excel than simple copying/pasting of values.

And the guide below will show you how resourceful the copy-and-paste tool of Excel can be. So let’s dive right in👇

Hold on! Download our sample workbook here to tag along with the guide.

How to copy and paste into Excel

Unlike any other spreadsheet program, Excel offers a huge variety of options for copying/pasting data.

You can paste anything – formulas, formatting, values, transposed values, and whatnot🖌

And the best part is that you can access a single option from multiple places, offering extra ease of use. So how do you copy and paste values in Excel? Let’s see below

Generally, there are three 3️⃣ ways in which you can copy/paste your data once you select a cell.

1. The clipboard group

The Clipboard section contains all the functions you need to copy and paste values in Excel. It sits in the Home tab of the ribbon.

The Paste function in Clipboard Section.

You can use the Scissors option to cut data and the Two Sheets option to copy the data✂

The Clipboard icon is the paste button that holds all the copied data. The Paint Brush icon below is known as the Format Painter, which lets you copy the formatting🖌

And the options don’t just end here – Click on the arrow in the bottom right corner to view more copy/paste options.

2. The right-click menu

You can access the context menu by right-clicking the cell you want to copy. The dropdown list will show you a bunch of options.

Choosing the Copy option from Context Menu.

Select Copy to make a copy of the selected cell in the clipboard. Once you copy a cell, a continuously moving border will enclose it.

Pro Tip!

You can also use CTRL + C to copy the data. It is the most common keyboard shortcut used in Excel and is very efficient.

Simply select the cell and press CTRL + C.

Then, select the destined cell and press CTRL + V to paste the copied contents into it 🥂

After you’ve copied the cell, navigate to the destination cell and paste it.

To paste the cell contents, right-click on the destination cell. From the context menu, select the option “Paste”📃

Choosing the Paste option from Context Menu.

3. The CTRL button

This method is quite similar to using CTRL + C, but not many people know it🤔

  1. Select the cell.
  2. Press the CTRL key.
  3. Hover over the cell until the plus sign appears.
  4. Hold and drag the cell to a new location.
  5. You get an exact copy of your original cell in the new location.

How to copy formulas only in Excel

So now we know the basics of copy-pasting in Excel.

But do you know how to copy and paste only formulas in Excel? We do it using a trick.

Let’s see an example below.

The data set we use below shows if the given condition is true or false.

Data set showing True and False values.

The function running behind these boolean values is the AND function. You can access it from the Formulas Tab 💻

The AND formula

Now let’s say we want to add another row at the bottom and copy the formula above it.

Copying formula to a new row

An easy way is to:

  1. Copy the formula above by selecting any cell that contains the formula and press CTRL + C.
  2. Right-click the cell where you want to paste the formula. A dropdown list will appear with the paste section like this ⏬
Choosing the paste options
  1. Click on the Paste Special commands option.
  2. From the Paste Special menu, select the Formulas and Number formatting option (hovering over the icons shows their names).

The formula will be pasted into the new cell, and the cell references will adapt accordingly.

Pasting the formula.

Similarly, if you want to copy the formula to multiple cells, you can do it using the Paste Special dialog box 💭

Launch the Paste Special Dialog box using the shortcut keys Alt + E + S.

Kasper Langmann, Microsoft Office Specialist
Multiple cell pasting options.

Simply select the Paste option you want to apply on the cell while pasting data. And since we are dealing with formulas, we will select the option “Formulas”.

How to make a copy of an Excel sheet

Making a copy of an Excel sheet may seem difficult with no options visible on the face of the worksheet. But believe us, it is just a click away.

Sheet 1 on the Sheet Tab.

Say, we want to make a copy of Sheet 1🧾

There are two ways to do this. First, use the right-click menu, and second, use the CTRL key.

The right-click context menu:

  1. Select the sheet you want to copy.
  2. Right-click the sheet and select the Move or Copy option.
Selecting copy option.
  1. You will see a pop-up asking for the location and whether you want to create a copy.
Creating a copy.
  1. Check the option to Create a Copy.

What happens if you don’t check the option to create a copy🤔

Excel will remove the sheet from the present workbook. And move it to the destination workbook.

Kasper Langmann, Microsoft Office Specialist
  1. Choose the pasting location from the To Book option.
  2. Click Ok.
The new worksheet appears.
  1. The subject worksheet appears in the chosen location💪

Using the CTRL key:

To copy a sheet using the Control key, follow the steps below:

  1. Select the sheet.
  2. Press the CTRL key.
  3. Drag the sheet to a new location to make its copy.

We have created a copy of Sheet 1 in the same book.

Copy of sheet created using CTRL.
  1. A new file, Sheet 1 (2), appears on the Sheet tab.

Copy values not formula

It’s time we see how to copy only the values in Excel and not the underlying formulas.

From the dataset below, let’s copy the cell values only 🔢

Copying the values.

To copy cell values, follow the steps below:

  1. Select the cell or the range of cells whose value is to be copied.
  2. Press Ctrl + C to copy the cell values.
  3. Go to the blank cells where you want to paste the selected range.
  4. Right-click the first cell and open the Paste Special dialog box.
  5. From the Paste Special options, select the Values option.

This tells Excel to paste the values of the copied cells only 🌟

Selecting the Values option.
  1. Click Okay. And there you go!
Excel pastes the values only

Values from the copied range appear in all the cells selected.

Note that Excel has pasted the exact values only. You can select the cell and view the formula bar to see that the values have no formulas to them.

Had you pasted them simply, Excel would have copied and adapted the formula of the copied cells for the destination cells as follows 😵

Excel pastes and adapts the formula

Shortcut to paste values

Oh, and there’s a very efficient shortcut to paste values in Excel too 💪

  1. Select the values to be copied.
  2. Press CTRL + C to copy them.
  3. Go to the destination cells to paste values. Select the first cell of the destination cell range.
  4. Press CTRL + Alt + V.
  5. Press V.
Using shortcut to select values option.
  1. Select Ok.
  2. You’d have the cell values pasted in Excel without any cursor movement 🖱

How to copy formatting

We have so far seen how to copy and paste formulas and values. Let’s now have a look at the copy-pasting of formatting.

Hint: It’s done the same way as formulas and values are copied/pasted✌

We are using the same data set for this example. And we want to paste the existing formatting to the new cells below.

Selecting cells to apply formatting.

To do so:

  1. Select the cells with the source formatting (the formatting that you want to copy) to copy them.
  2. Once copied, select the cell (or cells) where you want to paste the cell formatting🖱
  3. You can use the context menu to open the Paste Special dialog box and choose Formatting. Or press CTRL + Alt + V and then T to paste the formatting only.

The results look like this:

Pasting the formatting.

Note how Excel has pasted the format (including the font style and the font size) to the destined cells.

There is yet another way to copy cell formatting in Microsoft Excel – by using the Format Painter. We bet you didn’t see that coming😎

All you need to do is select the cells containing the source formatting. And click the Paintbrush icon on the ribbon to activate the Format Painter

Using the Format Painter to paste formatting.

With the format painter activated, select the cells where you want to paste the formatting.

And tada! The new cells are formatted like the source formatting.

Formatting pasted.

Pro Tip!

If you want to paste the formatting to a single cell or a range of adjacent cells only, click on the format painter once. In this case, the format painter will deactivate after painting the format once.

But, if you want to apply the source formatting to multiple non-adjacent cells, double-press the Format Painter icon. Now the format painter will stay active until you manually deactivate it 🎨

That’s it – Now what?

In this article, we learned how to copy and paste values and formulas in Excel. We also saw how we could paste cell formatting to a range of cells in a few easy steps.

And even though this article covers most of the aspects of the copy-paste tool in Excel, there’s still so much to learn.

Like the three most important functions of Excel. The VLOOKUP, IF, and SUMIF functions.

To learn these functions (and more!), enroll in my 30-minute free email course today.

Other resources

If you like this article, we bet you will love our other articles!

Some of these include guides on Conditional FormattingFormat Painter, and Number Formatting in Excel.