Feedback by UserVoice

How can we improve Excel for Windows (Desktop Application)?

Remove the pointless message “There's a problem with the clipboard, but you can still paste your content within this workbook."

The message shows up if you run in the background a program that keeps a peek into the clipboard, as for example the "Skype web plugin" and other telephone programs. A possible cause can also be the software "Audials".

You can find a thread with lots of complaints and a few flimsy justifications and non-answers here:

The message shows up with Ctrl+C, Ctrl+X, using the Format Painter and only taking whole cells. It does not show up if you copy a part of a cell content.

Contrary to some Microsoft officials’ posts, the error message shows up multiple times per Excel session. Usually it shows up at the second Ctrl+C after opening an Excel instance, sometimes on the third Ctrl+C and rarely on the first Ctrl+C. And after that randomly every few usages of Ctrl+C. That can be several hundred times a day!
Not everyone is lucky as I am to identify the cause (telephone) and be also able to switch off its feature "clipboard surveillance".

There is no reasonable reason for this message at all.
1. The message is incorrect in 100% of the cases. The copying operations in Excel are not affected by the access of any third-party program to the clipboard. After clicking the message away, all insertion processes in 100% of the cases worked absolutely as expected and error-free. I've tested this with many different contents (formulas, validations, formatting, connected cells, etc.), from and into Excel.
2. The message is pointless in 100% of the cases, because it shows neither causes nor solutions. Just as helpful as a message "There's a light on in the basement."
3. If there was any case where the access of a third-party program to the cache was actually an impairment to the copying process in Excel, one would notice this anyway by missing the insertion. But the message would be as well unnecessary because it only would have reported the obvious and does not reveal any causes or solutions.
4. If the access of any third-party program on the clipboard would actually be a problem, then why don't you also ‘protect’ Word, Outlook, PowerPoint, etc.?
This problem is discussed and complained in forums for about 4 years (since Excel 2013). Why don’t you comment out that one line of code, that calls the message? Or add a code bracket, issuing automatically “User has clicked OK”. No big work, I assume.

107 votes
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    UweC shared this idea  ·   ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →


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      • jkbj commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Hi Granite,

        Great find on that thread.

        To post what the microsoft engineer said "as the fix".


        I have an update on this error dialog: “There's a problem with the clipboard, but you can still paste your content within this workbook."

        When Excel shows this dialog after a copy (CTRL+C) action, it means that another app has a lock on the system clipboard. In this situation you can still paste within Excel. However you cannot paste to another app like Word or Outlook which uses the clipboard.

        Last year we made some improvements to Office365 users so that this error message only shows once per Excel instance. This is based on customer feedback - the design change prevents it popping up multiple successive times when the clipboard is locked. We have also considered never showing the error dialog, but there was user feedback that this message is informative and helpful in some cases.

        We hope this helps shed some light on this error message. For any design suggestions or new ideas on improving the Excel copy-paste experience, please post to Excel UserVoice."

        Well Mike Maxey I would love to find ONE single person that thinks that message is useful.

        However i do have an easy fix (and i can see why MS engineers are engineers not people that think about things and how they can be best implemented)

        For those that really do think the message is useful we could create a tick box on the message that says "never show again".

        For normal people, if you click never show again it never shows the message again, for those that actually want the message for some weird reason, they need carry on as they were doing before and nothing changes for them.

        What a simple easy fix, i guess thats why we need to suggest it and it hasn't been implemented.

        It is a shame that the MS Engineer will never see this message :(

      • GraniteStateColin commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Another Microsoft thread with 24 pages of comments on this issue:

        I love the suggestion by the original poster: just block the pop-up message. Even if there really were a Clipboard problem, we don't need that error message, and the annoyance level vastly exceeds the value of the message (which is always wrong in my case).

      • GraniteStateColin commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I only see the message on Drag and Drop within Excel, so maybe that's a different problem, but like others here, there is no actual error, just the annoying message. After hitting OK, the drop of cells works fine. I can copy and paste between Excel and other apps, so the message is not even correct. I even tried dragging from Excel to Word, to see if there was indeed a problem with the Clipboard outside of the workbook limited to Drag and Drop (because that's the only action that causes the error message for me) -- nope, that worked perfectly too.

        This same problem occurs for me across multiple computers, none exhibiting any other app problems aside from this bug in Excel.

        But for those who are complaining that MS still hasn't fixed, get more people to vote for this issue. Based on the numbers, it looks like there aren't very many of us with this problem, so it's understandable MS is prioritizing other issues over this. Also vote in the MS Feedback Hub that's built into Windows 10.

      • Myles commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Logmein solved it for you? what about the other 99% of

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        In my case, the error message was being caused by LogMeIn also using the clipboard at the same time. Shutting down LogMeIn solved the problem.

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        How about a simple solution Microsoft... a simple box that says "Do not show me this message again". Once and done. Then any idiot that still wants this time consuming, stupid, do nothing message can still get it. Should be pretty easy!!

      • UweHa commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Great job, Microsoft.
        Bug still not fixed 2 years after posting it here.

        And 6 years after being first mentioned in different forums around the web.

      • Stan commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        This is indeed an annoying message, since you have to respond to it when it pops up. I get it when doing cut and pastes in Excel very often, but not consistently. If I am working in an Excel worksheet and doing multiple cut and pastes, it will pop up about half the time or more.

        I don't like the fix about disabling Live Preview, because I use, and like, that function a lot.

        I want a real fix to the problem!

        Oh, and just FYI: I'm on Windows 10 and Office 365. I keep both updated at all times.

      • Myles commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Dear Pete,

        We are sorry to inform you but right now Microsoft are too busy adding Emojis to windows 10 so they are unable to fix this problem at this time.

        Thank you for your patience.

      • Pete commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Earth calling planet Microsoft.... Oh forget it, go do wondrous deeds.

        Thank God for helpful people who know more than me - thanks for sharing tip about disabling 'Enable live preview'

      • Myles commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        a year and a half later and the bug still exists?
        Bloody **** MS how incompetent are you?

      • Paul Christian commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        This bug really slows productivity. Moving to python to do any manipulations in the future. Fix the bug MS!

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I launched something. Let's see if MS still will refuse to take actions when several ten thousand licences are at stake.

      • blue mountain commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I also want this removed since it halts long power query updates until I come back from my lunch break and click OK, only to see the power query update barely started. :(

      • Peter commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        David H absolutely knocked this out of the park. Perfect response.

      • David H commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        The thing I don't understand, is literally NO OTHER PROGRAM has problems with this. It's ONLY EXCEL. Microsoft, doesn't that tell you something? FIX YOUR PROBLEM. Every fifth or so copy I get this message and it's so pointless because if some other program is locking the clipboard, just try a few times until they release the clipboard. It's really not difficult. Why do I have to deal with YOUR INCOMPETENCE?? FFS...

      • John commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Beyond Compare was the culprit for me too! Thanks so much Adam!!

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