How to Use the Clipboard in Excel – A Complete Guide

This is an overview.

Overview of Clipboard in Excel

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What is Clipboard in Excel?

The Clipboard is a temporary storage space in which you can cut or copy data and paste it in different locations. You can copy or cut cell values, formulas, formatting, and other items within or between workbooks, worksheets, docs, or others.

Clipboard in Excel

What Are the Clipboard Display Options in Excel?

In the Clipboard group, you can decide how the Clipboard is presented:

  • Go to the Home tab.
  • Click the arrow symbol in the clipboard group.
  • Click Options.
  • You will find different options that you can display in the Clipboard.

Options for displaying clipboard


Options Description
Show Office Clipboard Automatically. When copying something, the clipboard is automatically displayed.
Show Office Clipboard When CTRL+C Pressed Twice. When you press CTRL+C twice, the clipboard will be displayed automatically.
Collect Without Showing Office Clipboard. Without showing the clipboard task pane, it automatically copies objects to the Office clipboard.
Show Office Clipboard Icon on Taskbar. When the clipboard is active, the clipboard icon is visible in the system taskbar status area. By default, this setting is enabled.
Show Status Near Taskbar When Copying. When copying items to the clipboard, the notification “Collecting Items” is displayed by default.

How to Enable a Clipboard Shortcut in Excel?

The shortcut Ctrl+C+C can be used to copy.

  • To enable the clipboard shortcut, go to the Home tab.
  • Click the arrow symbol in the Clipboard group.
  • In Clipboard, click Options.
  • Select Show Office Clipboard When Ctrl+C Pressed Twice.

Activating shortcut option from the Clipboard

Select a range or any cell and press Ctrl+C+C. The selected range or cell will be copied and the Clipboard will be activated:

  • Select B4:C10.
  • Press Ctrl + C + C.
  • The range is copied and it is shown in the Clipboard.

Copying range to clipboard using keyboard shortcuts

To paste the copied range in a different location.

  • Select B11.
  • In the Clipboard sidebar, click the arrow down sign beside the copied range.
  • Click Paste.

Pasting the Copied range from clipboard

The copied range is pasted.

Range is copied

How to Copy and Paste Multiple Items Using the Excel Clipboard?

You can copy multiple items by selecting them holding Ctrl and pressing Ctrl+C.

You can paste the copied items in a selected location.

In the dataset below, copy Product ID, Unit Price, and Total Sales to create a new dataset.

Dataset to elaborate how to copy and paste multiple items using Excel clipboard

  • Copy the columns Product ID, Unit Price, and Total Sales one by one pressing Ctrl + C.
  • In the Clipboard sidebar, the copied items will be displayed:

Copying columns to clipboard

  • To create a new dataset, select B11.
  • Paste the Product ID column.

Pasting Product ID column

  • Select C11.
  • Paste the Unit Price column.

Pasting Unit Price Column

  • Select D11.
  • Paste the Total Sales column.

Pasting Total Sales Column

How to Delete Items from Clipboard?

1. How to Clear All Content from the Clipboard

The copied items appear in the clipboard section. Use the Clear All option to clear content:

  • Go to the Home tab.
  • Click the arrow symbol in the Clipboard group.
  • Click Clear All.

Apply clear all option from clipboard

This is the output.

Copied items are cleared from clipboard

2. How to Delete Individual Items From the Clipboard?

You want to clear the Total Sales column:

  • Click the arrow symbol beside Total Sales.
  • Click Delete.

Deleting a specific item from clipboard

This is the output.

Specified item is deleted

3. How to Clear the Clipboard Using a Shortcut?

Press Alt + H + F + O to activate the clipboard. Clear all content or specific items.

Clearing clipboard using Keyboard Shortcut

What to Do When the Excel Clipboard Is Not Working?


1. Activating the Live Preview Feature

  • Go to the File tab.

Clicking on File tab

  • Click Options.

Clicking on Options

  • Go to General.
  • Check Enable Live Preview in User Interface options.
  • Click OK.

Marking Enable Live Preview option

2. Clearing the Excel Clipboard

  • Go to the Home tab.
  • Click the arrow sign in the Clipboard section.
  • Click Clear All.

Use of clear all option

  • The clipboard bar will show the following message:

Clipboard is empty after clicking on clear all option


3. Activating/Deactivating the Clipboard in Excel

  • Go to the Home tab.
  • Click the arrow symbol in the Clipboard group.
  • Select Options.
  • Activate or deactivate the clipboard.

Options for activating or deactivating the clipboard


4. Check Activated Add-ins

  • Click the File tab.

Clicking on File tab

  • Click Options.

Clicking on options

  • Go to Add-ins.
  • You can see the activated add-ins in Active Application Add-ins.
  • Click Go to deactivate the activated add-ins.

Clicking on Go from Add-ins menu

  • The Add-ins dialog box is displayed:

Add-ins dialog box

  • Uncheck add-ins and click OK.

Unmarking add-ins

5. Reinstalling Microsoft Excel

  • Go to the Control Panel.
  • Click Programs and Features.

Clicking on Programs and Features from Control Panel in Windows 11

  • Right-click Microsoft 365 (here).
  • Click Uninstall.

Uninstalling Microsoft Office

Reinstall Microsoft Office and the Clipboard will work.

Clipboard in Excel: Knowledge Hub

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Raiyan Zaman Adrey
Raiyan Zaman Adrey

Raiyan Zaman Adrey, armed with a BSc in Civil Engineering from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, efficiently combines engineering skills with a passion for Excel. In his role as an Excel & VBA Content Developer at ExcelDemy, he not only tackles complex issues but also demonstrates an enthusiastic mindset, efficiently managing critical situations with patience, showcasing his commitment to excellence. He is interested in C, C++, C#, JavaScript, Python, Microsoft Office, AutoCAD, Adobe Illustrator, Data Entry, and... Read Full Bio

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