How to Use Clipboard in Excel? (A Complete Guide)

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In this Excel tutorial, you will come to know how to
-Enable clipboard feature while working in Excel from the Clipboard sidebar.
-Copy multiple items and then paste them one by one into different locations..
-Delete an individual clipboard item or all at once.
-Solve an issue if occurs while using the clipboard feature in Excel.

We have used Microsoft 365 while preparing this article but you can apply the methods in this article in other versions also.

Clipboard in Excel is an amazing feature that allows you to copy or cut data and paste those in different locations. You can cut or copy single or multiple items and paste them all or just some specific items using this feature. It helps users analyze and organize data in an efficient way.

Overview of Clipboard in Excel

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What is Clipboard in Excel?

The Clipboard in Excel is a temporary storage space where you can cut or copy data and paste it in different locations. With this feature, you can simply copy or cut cell values, formulas, formattings, and other items within or between workbooks, worksheets, docs, or others. By using the clipboard, you can save numerous items or by using commands like Cut, Copy, Paste, and Paste Special you can access the clipboard effectively.

Clipboard in Excel

What Are Clipboard Display Options in Excel?

At the Clipboard group, you have the option to decide how the Clipboard should be presented.

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

Options for displaying clipboard

  • Let’s have a look at how these options work.
Options Description
Show Office Clipboard Automatically. When copying something, the clipboard is automatically displayed.
Show Office Clipboard When CTRL+C Pressed Twice. When you hit CTRL+C twice, the clipboard will be displayed automatically.
Collect Without Showing Office Clipboard. Without showing the clipboard task pane, 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’s 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. This setting is on by default.

How to Enable Clipboard Shortcut in Excel?

The shortcut Ctrl+C+C can be used to copy things in the clipboard in Excel. This shortcut will enable the clipboard. Follow the steps below to learn more.

  • To enable the clipboard shortcut, go to the Home tab.
  • Click on the arrow symbol as shown in the Clipboard group.
  • A sidebar titled Clipboard will appear. Click on Options.
  • Select Show Office Clipboard When Ctrl+C Pressed Twice.

Activating shortcut option from the Clipboard

Now select a range or any cell then use keyboard shortcuts Ctrl+C+C. The selected range or cell will be copied and the Clipboard will be activated as well.

  • Let’s say, you have selected range B4:C10.
  • Now, use shortcuts Ctrl + C + C.
  • The range is now copied and it is shown in the Clipboard as well.

Copying range to clipboard using keyboard shortcuts

  • Now presume, you want to paste the copied range in a different location.
  • Let’s say, you have selected cell B11.
  • Now, at the Clipboard sidebar, click on the arrow down sign beside the copied range.
  • Click on Paste.

Pasting the Copied range from clipboard

  • And the copied range is pasted as shown.

Range is copied

How to Copy and Paste Multiple Items Using Excel Clipboard?

You can copy multiple items to the clipboard by simply selecting those holding Ctrl and then using the shortcut Ctrl+C. Or you can copy multiple items one by one using Ctrl+C. Then, from the clipboard, you can paste those copied items to your desired locations.

Let’s assume, we have a large dataset as follows. We will copy Product ID, Unit Price, and Total Sales columns and then make a new dataset using them.

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

  • Copy the following columns Product ID, Unit Price, and Total Sales one by one using the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + C.
  • In the Clipboard sidebar, those copied items will appear as follows.

Copying columns to clipboard

  • To make a new dataset using those copied items, select cell B11.
  • Paste the Product ID column as follows.

Pasting Product ID column

  • Select cell C11.
  • Paste the Unit Price column as follows.

Pasting Unit Price Column

  • Select cell D11.
  • Paste the Total Sales column as follows and the new dataset is being created.

Pasting Total Sales Column

How to Delete Items from Clipboard?

Whatever you copy in Excel is recorded in the clipboard. After copying single or multiple items, you can clear them one by one or all at once as well from the clipboard sidebar.

1. How to Clear All Contents from the Clipboard

The copied items appear in the clipboard section. Using the Clear All option from there, you can clear all contents from the clipboard.

  • Let’s say, you want to clear all contents that are copied to the Clipboard.
  • Go to the Home tab.
  • Click on the arrow symbol as shown in the Clipboard group.
  • Click on Clear All.

Apply clear all option from clipboard

  • Following this will clear all the contents from the Clipboard.

Copied items are cleared from clipboard

2. How to Delete Individual Items From the Clipboard?

Beside each copied item in the clipboard, there is an arrow down symbol from where you can delete specific items from the clipboard.

  • Let’s say, you want to clear just one or two or some specific items from the Clipboard but not everything.
  • Activate the clipboard sidebar like previously from the Home tab.
  • Suppose, you want to clear the Total Sales column copied to the Clipboard.
  • So, click on the arrow symbol as shown beside the Total Sales copied item.
  • Click on Delete.

Deleting a specific item from clipboard

  • Following this will delete that selected item only.

Specified item is deleted

3. How to Clear Clipboard Using Shortcut?

Using keyboard shortcuts Alt + H + F + O, you can activate the clipboard. Then from there, you can clear all contents or clear only specific items as you want.

Clearing clipboard using Keyboard Shortcut


You have to follow the exact sequence: Alt + H + F + O.

What to Do When Excel Clipboard Is Not Working?

Sometimes, you may face a problem like Excel’s clipboard not working after copying something. Maybe an error message appears on your screen. Don’t worry as you have simple solutions for that. Depending on the cause, you can try activating the live preview feature, clearing the clipboard, re-activating the clipboard, etc.

1. Activating Live Preview Feature

If you face any clipboard issues, you may try solving them by activating the Live Preview feature. You can enable this feature from the Excel Options which you will find at the File tab.

  • Go to the File tab.

Clicking on File tab

  • Click on Options.

Clicking on Options

  • Go to the General menu.
  • Mark the Enable Live Preview option under the User Interface options.
  • Click on OK.

Marking Enable Live Preview option

2. Clearing Excel Clipboard

Often the clipboard won’t work if a large number of items are copied to it. So try clearing your clipboard to solve issues. You can use the Clear All feature we mentioned in the deleting section of the article.

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

Use of clear all option

  • The clipboard bar will show the following message now.

Clipboard is empty after clicking on clear all option

Try using the clipboard feature again.

3. Activating/Deactivating Clipboard in Excel

Your clipboard should be working if you have tried the previous two solutions. But if you still face issues like before, try activating or deactivating the Clipboard.

  • Go to the Home tab.
  • Click on the arrow symbol in the Clipboard group.
  • Select Options.
  • From there, you can activate or deactivate the clipboard.

Options for activating or deactivating the clipboard

Let’s have a look at the previous section for details.

4. Check Activated Add-ins

Sometimes, some activated add-ins to your Excel can result in an issue with the clipboard. Check for the add-in that is creating the issue from the Add-ins menu in the Excel Options.

  • Click on the File tab.

Clicking on File tab

  • Click on Options.

Clicking on options

  • Go to the Add-ins menu.
  • You can see the activated add-ins in the Active Application Add-ins section as follows.
  • Now, click on Go to deactivate the activated add-ins to solve the Clipboard issue.

Clicking on Go from Add-ins menu

  • A dialog box titled Add-ins will appear on your screen as follows.

Add-ins dialog box

  • Unmark the add-ins and click on OK.
  • Now check whether the Clipboard is working or not.

Unmarking add-ins

5. Reinstalling Microsoft Excel

If any of the solutions above don’t fix the problem of Clipboard, you may need to reinstall Microsoft Excel. First, you have to uninstall the currently installed Microsoft Office on your PC. If you are using Windows 11 on your PC, you may follow the below procedure.

  • Go to the Control Panel of your computer.
  • Click on Programs and Features.

Clicking on Programs and Features from Control Panel in Windows 11

  • Right-click on Microsoft 365 (In this PC, Microsoft 365 is installed. There can be other versions of Microsoft Office installed on your computer).
  • Click on Uninstall.

Uninstalling Microsoft Office

Now reinstall Microsoft Office and surely this time the Clipboard will work.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the function of clipboard?

The function of the Clipboard is to allow you to quickly paste data that has been copied or cut into another location in the same worksheet or into a different workbook by temporarily storing it there.

2. How do I open clipboard?

You can open the Clipboard by following these steps:

  • Go to the Home
  • Click on the arrow symbol in the Clipboard

Or, you can use keyboard shortcuts as well. Use Alt + H + F + O. Must follow the sequence.

3. How do I add a clipboard in Excel?

The Cut, Copy, and Paste commands in Excel provide you access to the Clipboard feature. Excel already has a built-in Clipboard, so there is no need to add a new one.


Clipboard in Excel works as a temporary data storage, allowing users to cut or copy data from one place and paste it into another. It’s an amazing feature that provides a simple way to transfer cells, formulas, formatting, and objects across workbooks and worksheets as well as inside them.

In this article, we have learned different types of operations in Excel using its built-in clipboard feature. We have covered how to enable the clipboard shortcut, clipboard display options, delete items from the clipboard, and some fixes if the clipboard is not working. Hope, you have found whatever you were looking for.

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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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