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Chapter 4. Edit > Edit Paste Special

Edit Paste Special

The Edit Paste Special command also pastes the selected contents of the clipboard in a specified worksheet location. Use this option for copying formats from one location to another or for switching the contents of a row to a column. Keep in mind that if the Windows Clipboard is active, the Paste Special option only pastes the last item copied to the clipboard. The paste selections are specified on the Paste Special dialog shown in Figure 4-3.

Figure 4-3. Paste Special dialog

Select the option in the Paste section that indicates how you want to paste the selected information into the worksheet. If you select the All radio button, the entire contents of the selected cells will be pasted into the new location, just like selecting Edit Paste. This includes not only the value of the cell, but also any formatting, comments, or data validation that have been applied to the cells.

If you indicate that you want to paste only the comments, data validation, or formats, the existing values in the cells where you are pasting will not be modified. If you paste the formulas, the values will only change if a formula is pasted in the cell. For example, if you copy cells A1 through A4 and cell A4 contains a formula, when you paste into cells B1 through B4 only the value in B4 will change.

If you select the Values radio button, only the values of the selected cells are pasted into the new cells. Any formulas, comments, etc., will not be copied. For example, if you copied cells A1-A5 and A5 contains a formula that calculates the sum of A1-A4 only the value, not the formula, in A5 will be pasted.

The Column Widths radio button does not affect any values in the cells. It changes the column widths of the selected cells to match the widths of the copied cells.

If desired, you can perform a mathematical operation on the pasted information by selecting one of the radio buttons in the Operation section, as outlined in Table 4-1.

Table 4-1. Edit Paste Special Operation Options
Option Description
Multiply Multiplies the pasted data by the existing data.
Add Adds the pasted data to the existing data.
Divide Divides the existing data by the pasted data.
Subtract Subtracts the existing data by the pasted data.

Figure 4-4 provides an example of each of the Operation options on the Paste Special dialog. Column A shows the values that are being pasted. Column B indicates the contents of columns C-F prior to the selection of the corresponding operation on the Paste Special dialog. For example, if cells A1-A9 are pasted into Column C and the Multiply operator is selected, cell A1 is multiplied by C1 and the result is placed in C1; this is repeated for all cells in the selected range.

Figure 4-4. Paste Special Operation options

You can transpose the pasted data from row to column, or vice versa, by selecting the Transpose checkbox. For example, if you copy cells A1-A4 and select to paste in cell B1, the values will be pasted in B1, C1, D1, and E1.

If you don't want to paste blank values into the pasting range, select the Skip Blanks option. When Skip Blanks is selected, Excel does not paste a blank value into another cell; the cell maintains its original value. For example, in Figure 4-4, if cell A4 had been blank and the Skip Blanks option was selected, when A4 was pasted into cell B4 the cell would have retained its original value of 6.

Using the Paste Link Button

Select the Paste Link button if you want to paste the data as a link to the original location. The values of the original cells are pasted in the location with links back to the previous cells. If the values of the previous cell change, the corrections are reflected in the pasted cells. This is similar to the Edit Paste as Hyperlink command. The only difference is that the values display with this command and the links display with the Edit Paste as Hyperlink command.

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