Difference Between Paste and Paste Special in Excel

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The Paste command in Excel is an operation command that inserts data from the clipboard that you’ve already stored by copying the data from somewhere else. While pasting data in an Excel cell, you will have two options available i.e. Paste and Paste Special. In this article, you will learn the difference between the Paste and Paste Special commands in Excel with examples.


What Is Paste Command in Excel?

The Paste command is used to move or copy cell contents from the source cell to the destination cell. While inserting data in a certain cell using the Paste command, it includes cell formatting, borders, font size everything.

So if you want to transfer data either by moving or copying from the source to the destination cell, you can use the Paste command in Excel.

You can use CTRL + V as a keyboard shortcut key to apply the Paste command in a cell in Excel.


What Is Paste Special Command in Excel?

Paste Special command does pretty much the same job as the Paste command but it offers more functionalities. You can customize the pasting options while inserting data in a cell from the clipboard using this command. While pasting data in a cell using Paste Special, you can have control over the cell formatting options, border options, formulas, font size everything.

To apply the Paste Special command, you can use CTRL + ALT + V as a keyboard shortcut key.


Difference Between Paste and Paste Special Command in Excel

If you insert data into a cell from the clipboard using the Paste command, it will copy everything from the source cell to the destination cell.

To demonstrate the usage of the Paste command, let’s copy the column, Total, and paste it to another cell using the Paste command. To do that,

❶ Select the entire Total column first.

❷ Now press CTRL + C to copy it.

❸ Now select another cell to paste the copied data.

❹ Right-click on the cell and choose the Paste (P) command to paste it.

Difference Between Paste and Paste Special Command in Excel

If you do so, you will see that the copied data looks exactly the same as the source data.

Thus we can conclude that the Paste (P) command, pastes everything from the source cell to the destination cell. It includes cell formatting, font, color, etc.

Now let’s see what the Paste Special command does. To do so,

❶ Again select the entire Total column.

❷ Now hit CTRL + C to copy the selected cells.

❸ To paste the copied data using the Paste Special command, right-click on a cell.

❹ From the pop-up list, you can choose the Paste Special command.

difference between paste and paste special in excel

❺ Or you can simply press CTRL + ALT + V to apply the Paste Special command.

After that, you will see the Paste Special dialog box.

❻ From the dialog box, select your preference and hit OK to apply.


Paste Special Functionalities

The Paste Special command offers the following functionalities while pasting data from the clipboard.

Paste Options

  • All: If you select all, it will paste everything from the source cell to the destination cell such as cell formatting, font, color, etc.
  • Formulas: It only pastes the formulas used in the source cell.
  • Values: If your source cell contains formulas, selecting this option pastes only the values of the formulas.
  • Formats: Pastes only the cell formats of the source cell.
  • Comments and Notes: If your source cell contains any comments or notes, this option pastes only them excluding all others.
  • Validation: It allows us to paste only the data validation rules to the destination cell.
  • All using Source theme: Pastes only the applied theme in the source cell.
  • All except borders: It pastes all except cell borders.
  • Column widths: Pastes only the source cell’s column widths into the destination cell.
  • Formulas and number formats: It only pastes the formulas and number formats.
  • Values and number formats: Pastes only the formula values and number formats from the source cell.
  • All merging conditional formats: It pastes the conditional formatting and the cell contents from the source cells to the destination cell.

Operation Options

  • None: It simply pastes the data from the source to the destination cell. No mathematical operation is conducted.
  • Add: Adds up the data from the source cell with the destination cell contents.
  • Subtract: Subtracts the copied data from the contents of the destination cell.
  • Multiply: Contents of the source and the destination cells are multiplied and stored in the destination cell.
  • Divide: Divides the values of the destination cell by the values of the source cells.

Others Options

  • Skip blanks: Avoids the blank cells of the source cells while pasting data into the destination cell.
  • Transpose: Transforms rows into columns and columns into rows while pasting.
  • Paste Link: Creates a link between the source and the destination cell.

Read More: [Fixed!] Paste Special Not Working in Excel


Things to Remember

  • Use CTRL + V as a keyboard shortcut key for applying the Paste command.
  • Press CTRL + ALT + V to apply the Paste Special command.

Download Practice Workbook

You can download the Excel file from the following link and practice along with it.


Conclusion

To sum up, we have discussed the difference between Paste and Paste Special in Excel. You are recommended to download the practice workbook attached along with this article and practice all the methods with that. And don’t hesitate to ask any questions in the comment section below. We will try to respond to all the relevant queries ASAP.


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Mrinmoy Roy
Mrinmoy Roy

Mrinmoy Roy, a dedicated professional with a BSc in Electronics and Communication Engineering from Khulna University of Engineering & Technology, Bangladesh, brings over two years of expertise to the ExcelDemy project. As a prolific contributor, he has authored around 180 articles, showcasing his deep knowledge and passion for Microsoft Excel, Data Analysis, and VBA. His unwavering commitment to continuous learning, combined with versatile skills, renders him well-suited for roles in data management and spreadsheet solutions. He has interest... Read Full Bio

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