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: Can't Empty the Clipboard.

Can't Empty the Clipboard

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated August 8, 2015)

Jerry is trying to cut information from one cell and paste it into another cell. He can cut it just fine, but when he tries to paste it he gets an error message, "Cannot Empty the Clipboard." Jerry wonders what causes this error.

This has been a problem in Excel for some time. (Actually, the problem seems to crop up in several different Office applications, not just Excel.) The solutions for the problem depend upon what is causing the problem and which version of Excel you are using. As an example, here are two different articles at the Microsoft Knowledge Base that address the issue:

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/196620
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/899266

Note that the articles are focused on entirely different versions of Excel and entirely different causes. Unfortunately, Microsoft hasn't seen fit to create a "here's how to fix it" article that addresses the wider range of potential causes. There are, however, resources available on the wider Internet that address the issue. Here's a good one:

http://www.online-tech-tips.com/ms-office-tips/cannont-empty-clipboard/

You can find lots of other such resources by searching for the phrase "cannot empty the keyboard" (make sure you include the quote marks).

The underlying idea for all these potential causes and solutions is that there is some program (whether it be Terminal Services, GetRight, Flashget, RealVNC, or Quickeys) that is interfering with how Excel wants to use the Clipboard. The idea is to figure out which program it is an either stop using the program or implement some sort of workaround that is specific to that program.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (9809) 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: Can't Empty the Clipboard.

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

Automatically Determining a Due Date

When you are doing a mail merge in Word, you may need to calculate a date sometime in the future. Word doesn't include an ...

Discover More

Using the SYMBOL Field

The most common way of adding symbols to a document is to use the Symbol dialog box. There is another way, however, that can ...

Discover More

Using the Organizer to Manage AutoText

There are times you need to move your AutoText entries from one template or document to another. Use Organizer to do this ...

Discover More

Solve Real Business Problems Master business modeling and analysis techniques with Excel and transform data into bottom-line results. This hands-on, scenario-focused guide shows you how to use the latest Excel tools to integrate data from multiple tables. Check out Microsoft Excel 2013 Data Analysis and Business Modeling today!

MORE EXCELTIPS (MENU)

Searching Comments

Need to find that misplaced comment in your worksheet? It's easy to do using the Find and Replace capabilities of Excel.

Discover More

Turning Off AutoFill for a Workbook

Don't want people using your workbook to be able to use AutoFill? You can add two quick macros that disable and enable 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 for this tip:

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.

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.

Links and Sharing
Share