Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Excel 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Excel, click here: Moving and Copying Cells.

Moving and Copying Cells

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated November 3, 2012)

Moving and copying cells is a very common procedure when you are developing or editing your worksheets. Excel refers to moving by a different term, however. It is called cutting, which implies that you cut the information from one place and put it in another. Copying differs from cutting in that copying does not disturb the original cells; cutting clears them.

Whether you are cutting or copying, these operations involve the use of the Clipboard, a temporary storage area that is built into Windows. To cut or copy information, you must first select the cells you want to affect. Then do one of the following:

  • To cut cells, just press Ctrl+X; this shortcut will work in all versions of Excel. If you don't want to use the shortcut, then you could right-click the selection and choose Cut from the Context menu. You can also choose Cut from the Edit menu or click on the Cut tool on the toolbar.
  • To copy the cells, just press Ctrl+C or Ctrl+Insert.; these shortcuts should work in all versions of Excel. You can also right-click the selection and choose Copy from the Context menu. Another option is to choose Copy from the Edit menu or click on the Copy tool on the toolbar.

    Once you have done one of these, you can use the Paste or Paste Special commands to place your information elsewhere. Pasting functions the same as in other Windows programs; it places the contents of the Clipboard at the current cursor location. In the case of Excel, the information is placed in your worksheet beginning with the currently selected cell. You can paste the Clipboard contents by choosing Paste from the Edit menu, pressing Ctrl+V, right-clicking a cell and choosing Paste from the Context menu, choosing Paste from the Edit menu, or clicking the Paste tool on the toolbar.

    Within Excel there is another pasting option available. This option, called Paste Special, is rather unique. It allows you to specify how Excel should paste the information in the Clipboard. When you choose it, you will see the Paste Special dialog box. (See Figure 1.) The settings in the dialog box control which portion of the information in the Clipboard you want pasted, as well as what operations you want taken on the information being pasted.

    Figure 1. The Paste Special dialog box.

    To display the dialog box choose Paste Special from the Edit menu.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2115) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Excel (Excel 2007 and later) here: Moving and Copying Cells.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Understanding Variables

Variables are used quite frequently in programming, and VBA programming is no exception. Each variable can have a data type ...

Discover More

Printing a List of Custom Styles

You can add any number of styles to your document in order to define how you want your text to appear. If you later want to ...

Discover More

Selective Summing

If you want to add up the contents of a range of cells based on what is contained in a different range of cells, you need the ...

Discover More

Program Successfully in Excel! John Walkenbach's name is synonymous with excellence in deciphering complex technical topics. With this comprehensive guide, "Mr. Spreadsheet" shows how to maximize your Excel experience using professional spreadsheet application development tips from his own personal bookshelf. Check out Excel 2013 Power Programming with VBA today!

More ExcelTips (menu)

Cell Movement After Enter

What happens when you press Enter in a cell depends on how you have Excel configured. Here's the way you can control the ...

Discover More

Selecting Formulas

Want to select only the formulas in your worksheet? It's easy to do using the Go To Special dialog box.

Discover More

Finding Unknown Links

There are several things to try when finding unknown links in Excel.

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 9 + 4?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the menu interface (Excel 97, Excel 2000, Excel 2002, or Excel 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.