Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Relocating the Data: Copying and Moving
Click the destination cell—the cell to which you want to copy, and
Click the Paste button to the left of the Copy button in the Clipboard group, or
Ctrl-V (yes, there are other paste options, but we’re in introductory mode). O r—
and this option is exceedingly easy to overlook—press Enter. The item is
Note as well, however, that even though you’ve done your job, the marching ants continue to troop
around the cell border—at least if you click Copy or press Ctrl-V (but not if you press Enter). That’s not a
cue for an exterminator, but rather an indicator to the effect that you can paste the cell again to other
cells, with repeated pastes. When you want to turn the process off, just click the Esc key, and the ants
recede. Note that if you paste with Enter, the ants immediately disappear. How about copying a range of
cells? This time:
1. Select the range and release the mouse (or keys, if you’re pressing).
2. Click Copy.
3. Click the first of the destination cells only. That is, if for example you want to
copy cells H2:H5 to say, J6:J9, click J6 only . Excel is smart enough to know that if
you’re copying four cells you’re pasting four, and it merely needs you to tell it
where the new destination starts .
4. Execute one of the Paste options described above.
Note that when you paste a copied range Excel preserves the orientation of the cells in question.
That is, if you copy a column of cells, Paste will always paste these in columnar fashion, and a copied row
will always paste as a row (yes, you can paste a column into a row orientation and vice versa if you want
to, but that’s for a bit later).
And what of moving data? That’s what we really mean by cutting and pasting, and the process is
1. Select the cell or cells you want to move.
2. Click the Cut button directly above the Copy button, or its equivalent, Ctrl-X.
The marching ants do their thing, but note that the cell contents don’t
disappear, even though you’ve apparently cut them
3. Again, select the first destination cell.
4. Click Paste, or one of its equivalents, including Enter. You’re done. (Note:
moving a cell containing a formula will not change any of its cell references, a
point to remember when we discuss relative cell addressing in a later chapter.)
Note that with Cut and Paste the marching ants retreat after one Paste. That’s because, well, what’s
the alternative? The data have been cut and moved elsewhere; granting users another Paste means
they’d want to move the data again immediately—a not terribly likely prospect.
There’s an alternative way to move (and copy) data in cells, though this one requires a bit of
delicacy. Select the range you want to move and rest your mouse anywhere along the range’s perimeter,
until you see a pair of double-sided arrows. Then click and drag the range to its new destination, and
release the mouse. If you do the same thing while holding the Ctrl key down, you can copy the range.
These techniques are fairly easy to mess up, though; releasing the mouse too soon will let the data down
in the wrong place.
Now there’s still another way to copy cell contents, this one also mouse-powered, and it works like
this: We’ll start with a number in one cell. Click the cell and slide your mouse atop the lower-right corner
of the cell pointer border, where you’ll notice a small square lodged in the corner, like a dimple. When
you roll the mouse over that little shape, your indicator should remake itself into a slender black cross, as