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 May 31, 2017)

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

Turning Off Capital Corrections

If you type two capital letters at the beginning of a word, Word assumes that you made a typing error and will attempt to ...

Discover More

Continuing Macro Lines

Program a macro, and you can easily find that some lines get very long. If you want to shorten the lines so they are more ...

Discover More

Adding Comments to Protected Worksheets

When you protect a worksheet, Excel stops users from editing or otherwise making changes to the data in the worksheet. If you ...

Discover More

Excel Smarts for Beginners! Featuring the friendly and trusted For Dummies style, this popular guide shows beginners how to get up and running with Excel while also helping more experienced users get comfortable with the newest features. Check out Excel 2013 For Dummies today!

More ExcelTips (menu)

Understanding Names

Excel provides the ability to define names that refer to cells or ranges of cells. These can then be used in your formulas to ...

Discover More

Zooming In On Your Worksheet

If you have trouble seeing the information presented in a worksheet, you can use Excel's zooming capabilities to ease the ...

Discover More

Automatically Moving from Cell to Cell when Entering Data

As you enter data in a worksheet, you may want to have Excel automatically move from cell to cell based on the length of what ...

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. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. 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 two less than 2?

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.