You can master the intricate and sometimes slippery art of copying and pasting in Excel. Here’s how.
Copying and pasting in Microsoft Excel can be tricky. You may want to simply copy the contents of one cell to another. Or you may want to be selective about what you copy, choosing to copy the entire cell, just the data, just the formula, just the formatting, or a combination of items.
But for whatever reason, the copy and paste isn’t working the way you want, and you keep having to redo it until you get it right. The good news is that you can avoid many copy and paste problems in Excel. What’s the secret? Let’s check it out.
For our purposes, I’m using Excel 2016 through my Office 365 subscription. But copy and paste works the same no matter which version of Excel you use. Let’s walk through how to copy blocks of information as needed.
- Launch Excel and create a spreadsheet called Household Expenses.
- In the first row, type the following headers, one in each cell: Groceries, Electricity, Phone, Cable, Credit Card.
- In the second, third, and fourth rows, place numbers with decimal points in each cell to represent the amounts. Don’t worry about adding the dollar sign; we’ll do that in one fell swoop.
- Now, select all the cells with numbers and right-click on the selection.
- At the popup menu, click on the command to Format Cells. In the Category pane, click on the third option for Currency. Make sure the decimal points are set to 2 and that the $ appears as the symbol.
- Click OK. All the number cells should now have a $ in front.
- Place your cursor in the fifth cell of the first column.
- Click on the AutoSum icon on the Ribbon and then click OK to add the numbers in the first column.
- Right-click on the fifth cell with the total amount and then click on Copy (or just press Ctrl+C).
- Move your cursor to the fifth cell in the second column. You could just press Ctrl+V to paste the results, but one of the tricks to using copy and paste in Excel is to preview and choose the paste before you actually go through with it. Yes, you can change the paste type after you copy the data, but I find it easier to choose it beforehand.
- Right-click the cell to trigger the menu.