SOLVED

Copy/paste no longer working in Excel

Occasional Contributor

Sometime in the last few months the copy/paste function within Excel (Office 365 version) stopped working for me.  I have updated Windows and all Office apps to the latest version but that hasn't fixed the problem.  I've also run the Office 365 

 

The symptom is very strange.  When I hit Ctrl-C (or use the drop-down menus) on a cell in Excel the dashed lines that surround a cell selected for copying show up very briefly but immediately disappear.  If I go to another cell and paste it just puts a open parenthesis "(" in the cell.  Using Ctrl-X to cut exhibits similar behavior.

 

If I repeatedly hit Ctrl-C it will occasionally work (the dashed lines remain and I can paste) but it typically takes 15-20 tries before it will work and if I try again it will fail.  This only seems to affect me when I try to copy cells.  If I select a cell and then edit the cell and manually select the content of the cell I can copy and paste with no issue.  It also appears to only be an issue when a cell is not empty.  If I select an empty cell I can copy/paste just fine.  If I select a cell that has been highlighted but has no content that also works properly.  It's only when there's text or a formula in the cell that this is an issue.

 

This only affects Excel, I haven't observed the issue in any other app.

 

Any ideas?

101 Replies

I hope they can fix this but in the mean time this was my work around:

 

1.  Make Clipboard visible under Home tab

2.  Highlight what you would like to copy / paste and you will see it show up in clipboard

3.  Select the cell where you want the info to be pasted on 

4.  don't press Ctrl+V, instead press the actual item on the clipboard menu and the items will be pasted on the selected cell. Note: it will be pasted without formats. 

 

Again if someone else can figure out this issue that would be great, but in the mean time these steps have worked every time. 

 

Thanks

I had this very same problem. I tried to copy and paste from a word document onto excel but wouldn’t work. Right clicking also didnt work as the drop down only appeared for less than a second and disappeared again. So I opened the clipboard and saw that i had 24 items of the same one in the clipboard. Tried to Clear All but to no avail.

Anyway, i did this. I clicked on an empty cell. And on the keyboard, i pressed Escape. And that fixed it. That’s it! And i almost bought a new computer! Glad I didn’t! Phew!

This worked for me-going to the clipboard. Thank you!

I've had similar issues in the desktop version of Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2010.  I first noticed that Excel would not drag-and-drop from cell to cell. I couldn't paste in, any capacity, within a workbook either. However, I could copy from Excel and Paste to another program(BluBeam/Adobe), just not another Office program. Which lead me to discover the problem existed across all the Office programs I had open.

 

I closed ALL Microsoft Office programs and re-opened them and the copy-paste functionality returned for all of them.

I've just come across this issue in Excel on a colleague's computer, running Windows10.

What we found as a workaround was that selecting the required range, holding Ctrl and dragging the entire frame from workbook A to workbook B successfully copied the range. It helped that we were working on a dual screen.

Normal copy & paste, using either Ctrl+C/Ctrl+V or right click did not work. As soon as we clicked on workbook B, the dotted lines from workbook A disappeared and the paste function reverted to pasting some text that had been copied elsewhere earlier in the day.

I'm on the same boat as jervis. every time I do Ctrl+C, the Ctrl+V result is always opening parentheses "(". The funny thing is that it also happened on LibreOffice Calc. So I suspect it's not MS Excel problem.

Clearing the Clipboard content sometimes helped, but not all the time.

Any clue?

Whoa. Looks like this issue is going on since last October, with no resolution offered from Microsoft! I have the same problem. So far I was dealing with the annoying "There is a problem with the Clipboard..." message -- even if Excel 2016 was the only open program on my Windows 10 Pro PC at that time. Today, I find that even drag-and-drop copying is not working as expected. To be sure, the drag and drop works, but the selection and the cursor become non-responsive for several seconds. The only way I can get them to respond seems to be either click on another Excel file, or click on the Preview in the taskbar to get back to the same file.

The repair of Office programs did not work at all, and so far on my computer, this weird issue is restricted to Excel 2016 only (Version 1805; Build 9330.2087 Click-to-run).

I was having the same issue and found the below fix that worked for me, 2nd post from Gary McMaster.

 

https://www.mrexcel.com/forum/excel-questions/448364-lost-right-click-cut-copy-paste.html

This did it for me, Im glad it was simple. Click on empty Cell and press ESC a few times and try again. 


@Pg. Hj. Sahril PB wrote:
I had this very same problem. I tried to copy and paste from a word document onto excel but wouldn’t work. Right clicking also didnt work as the drop down only appeared for less than a second and disappeared again. So I opened the clipboard and saw that i had 24 items of the same one in the clipboard. Tried to Clear All but to no avail.

Anyway, i did this. I clicked on an empty cell. And on the keyboard, i pressed Escape. And that fixed it. That’s it! And i almost bought a new computer! Glad I didn’t! Phew!

 

Amazing. This worked for me. I had the copy and paste problem starting just recently. I open a blank excel file, type something in a cell, copy and then try to paste the cell elsewhere on the same sheet. After a few seconds excel is gone, closed down. I tried many of the solutions offered but nothing works. I even uninstalled office and reinstalled it. Same problem. I was skeptical whether this would work but after opening a blank TextPad file, typing something in it, then selecting it and pasting it twice back in the same file, the excel file was able to copy and paste. Does this show the problem has something to do with the clipboard?

 

Now when I try to duplicate it, it doesn't work any more. So strange.

I my case Excel opens my workbook with multiple sheets selected by default.

When i selected a range of cells, Excel copies the same range on multiple sheets.

Excel will not let you paste these cells into a single sheet.

Deselecting the other sheets solved it for me.

I contacted Office 365 Support and they said.....

In the recent Office 365 builds of Office they have removed this functionality of pasting multiple times with the "Enter" key. The only way to do this is using Ctrl+V.

The Ctrl A, Ctrl C, then Ctrl V worked for me!!! Thx so much.

 

The Ctrl A, Ctrl C, then Ctrl V worked for me!!! Thx so much.

I am sorry, but this guidance is so unhelpful it is kind of unbelievable. Of course Ctrl+A, C, V worked for you -- because you are not experiencing the issue!!

 

Suggest the moderator delete these duplicate responses.

Copy and paste does not work in my excel either!   Hint: the copied cell has text with greek letters inserted via the windows character map.

Hi

 

I have only experienced this issue (and many others) since  the company moved to Win 10-  Office 365 - Office 2016

I have to say since we have made this move, i have more issues than i have ever experienced going right back to win 3.1, and before.

The only solution I have found the works is save the file close it & open again.

I raised this isse with our retained IT maintanance  company have been unable to succesfully find a solution.

It obviously something wrong with excel in its latest version.

 

Just a note

One of my other laptops I have left with, win 7 in & the previous office, I as yet have not experienced this issue, ever.

p.s. since i rolled the last windows 10 update back, due to it interefering with Photoshop I experience "cant copy & paste" a lot less!

 

Regards

Clearing the clipboard seems to work for me and other colleagues when encountering this problem. From the Home tab, click the little breakout icon next to "Clipboard" (underneath Format Painter), then click Clear All in the Clipboard window.

Excel is basically unusable for me for well over a year now as I have to *really* need to process data by saving into a file instead of copy+pasting it. I didn't realize it was such a widespread issue and if Microsoft isn't fixing it then I'm afraid I'll just have to ask for money back... it's just ridiculous - every time I want to paste I need to:

 

1. Open new blank spreadsheet

2. Only then copy from the other app

3. Paste into blank spreadsheet

 

This is a one time thing - next copy+paste - new spreadsheet is needed...

I am only trying to copy and paste from Notepad and Notepad++ and it's not working.  When I paste from Notepad to other programs (Word, Browser, etc.) it works fine, it only happens in Excel.