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

Maintain copied data on the clipboard even if the "dancing ants" aren't shown around the copied range (Copy-paste clipboard persistence)

If I copy [ctrl-c] a cell, then type in another cell, then try pasting, no result. No paste. It would be nice if Excel would maintain the copied data on the clipboard even after the dancing ants no longer appeared, so that I could paste that data.

(2015-11-05 Dan [MS] - updated idea title and description to be clearer)

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Jamie8848 shared this idea  ·   ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →

Starting with the Excel release available in June, Excel “Keeps” your copy longer. You can Copy your cells, and before you paste, you can still do other tasks like typing or inserting cells.

Based on customer feedback, the dotted “Marquee” stay active for much longer so that you can type, add formatting or many other things before the paste operation. We also made both the “Insert” and “Insert Copied Cells” commands available after the copy operation. Now, if you are copying data to another worksheet, only to realize you need more room, you can insert a variable number of cells and then paste without having to re-copy the original range!

If you want the Marquee to disappear, you can use the ENTER key to perform the paste operation, or after the paste, you can press the ESC key to cancel the copy.


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  • SEUMAS MACLAREN commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I think there is some confusion here. Leigh said " that selection stays highlighted, even after a paste and editing other cells, the original COPY selection remains lit with the Ants marching". This is not the case for a standard installation of 2007, 2013, or 2016. Whatever cell in the workbook one copies, as soon as anything is done (selecting to edit a cell for example) the buffer is lost.

    Some of us want to see the cell-paste buffer for Excel maintained until next overwritten.
    Some of us would want to see the cell text only paste buffer (however that is handled) also follow the same rules. A configurable option to use 'default buffer behaviour' (as now) is probably the safe option to create. Those of us who want this new long-like buffer can then undo that check-box.

  • Rich commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I agree with Warren Ashton, PL, and Shannon. Please give us the option to turn this off. During the last 20 years of using Excel, I thought clearing the clipboard was a nice feature designed to avoid inadvertent pasting of data or formulae. Users were always able to paste multiple times if they (1) didn't edit a cell between pastings or (2) copied the cell contents rather than the cell.

  • Warren Ashton commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    PLEASE change this feature to eliminate the persistent highlighting of copied cells or give an easy way to turn this feature off. It's SO distracting and adds multiple clicks to what should be a quick copy/paste process. This is terrible for power users and light users alike. Change it please!

  • PL commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    For god's sake, we at least need a flag so we can turn this option off. Nice try, but what a terrible move.

  • Shawn commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I agree with Shannon. This new feature is a nightmare for many of us. At least give us the option to turn this feature on or off. I have had to create a macro in my personal.xlsb to clear the cutcopymode after each paste event to get around this.

  • Shannon commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I understand people's frustrations with losing copied data that they want to paste multiple times, but since this issue has been seemingly "fixed" and the dancing ants never seem to go away now, it's been super frustrating to have ESC out of the dancing ants every. single. time. And it seems to be slowing down the program - scrolling is now choppy, switching between tabs is slower, etc. Is there a copy/cut option that allows you to opt out of this feature?

  • Ed Hansberry commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I hope it the feature to try soon isn't the one in the Fast Ring right now. Causes issues with PowerQuery queries that are loaded to excel sheets.

  • Leigh commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I agree that the data should be maintained on the clipboard to enable multiple pasting instances. That should remain until a new CtrlCopy is done or you hit ESC) HOWEVER, that Ants marching does not need to remain selected forever! In excel now, when I copy... that selection stays highlighted, even after a paste and editing other cells, the original COPY selection remains lit with the Ants marching. This is distracting for most users that want to Cut/Paste and continue on making other changes, they don't need to have their copy selection highlighted forever.

  • SEUMAS MACLAREN commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    This item would, I imagine, be related to the repeat action / undo action options. I admit I cannot for the life of me work out how to make the repeat action (paste and other cell / row changes) work consistently. I may be at fault, but i don't think Repeat is available for many actions, and I cannot work out why. (Dear admin - I shall create another request for Repeat action, but do tell me off and remove it, if it is I who just can't use the software!]. Thanks for listening MassiveSoft!

  • SEUMAS MACLAREN commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I am so pleased to be able to feedback re. Office Nice to Have's and Naughties to Report!!
    This requested correction to copy and paste (as well as the user document buffer settings) is so much needed. Hooray!! Great news indeed! Can we please have this as an update Office patch (release notes isssued with it) rather than having to pay for it in some version un the future? I shall bet my last dollar that no user is going to complain of having a checkbox to unset/set in the settings for "Remember Copy/Paste buffer data until Copy buffer is emptied using 'Purge Copy buffer.' " The current behaviour has always been odd.

  • Jarad commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    YES. Why should the user lose the copied data because they clicked something? I NEVER understood this design decision.

  • Steve Ward commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Excel for Mac also exhibits this odd behaviour which I can't believe is intentional. I've seen some workarounds including Have also posted here but the Mac thread isn't receiving as much attention as this one.

  • Bob Jones, AKA Cybertaz commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    The former behavior needs to be restored in the Mac version of Excel as well. Somewhere along the line it was suggested that you use the Clipboard Task Pane which has not been provided for Mac users who also have suffered the loss of the Scrapbook. The use of neither, however, should be necessary.

    It's utterly ridiculous that when you copy anything then type something before pasting that the content of the clipboard is lost. I know of no other program - Microsoft or otherwise - that exhibits this behavior.

  • Jason commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    This is actually multiple issues, many of which appear to be that the copied range (dancing ants) is cleared when performing other actions in a workbook.

    1) When cells are copied the right click menu should have BOTH "Insert..." and "Insert Copied Cells..." because using Insert Row from the Ribbon clears the clipboard
    2) Insert Row should not clear the copy selection
    3) Clearing a filter should not clear the copy selection
    4) Function ___ should not clear the copy selection

    The issue I have is that I will usually copy a value from a pivot table to then go browse over to the underlying data intending to filter with the copied value. That underlying data is sometimes ALREADY filtered, and when I clear the filter, it clears my copied range.

    I'm happy with how cut currently works in regards to dimming the data being cut until it is moved elsewhere. This is consistent with how Windows works in regards to file management as well. In terms of data/file integrity, Cut data/files should never "disappear" until they are pasted. What if you accidentally 'Cut' two files in a row, separately? The first one would just be gone. Same with a data range.

  • GraniteStateColin commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    This would be great, especially if it worked across any changes, including inserting rows or columns. I often copy some cells, realize I need to insert some rows before pasting, but then find that the clipboard has been flushed by the insert action.

    It would also be nice to add a paste option following a Copy that allows for cloning the selected cells (like the Paste in Cut -> Paste does, which is different from how Paste works in Copy -> Paste).

  • ozjos commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I agree with RH's comment - what's really annoying is that after one cut or copy and insert cut cells, you have to go back and copy it again to get the insert option back again. But, more than that, often I have copied a cell for inserting, realised that I need to get some blank rows, and so I have to escape the copy to get the straightforward insert (rather than insert copied cells) back again.

    So best would be:

    Copied cells remain in clipboard
    Insert copied cells always available on right click context menu
    Insert cells always available

  • Mamichael commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    If I copy something in EXCEL it will remain copied until I do something in EXCEL to remove the dotted lines around the copy, even if I copy something from WORD to paste back into EXCEL. This is a major flaw, products within the same family should be cross tested for basic copy and paste functionality.So that is my idea, fix this so that it will work with other Office programs at least.

  • Rick commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Amen. We need it. What a pain. There used to be a clipboard that worked in Word and Excel which allowed you to save multiple things to the clipboard and choose which to paste from a list. That was nice. If it's still there, I can't find it.

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    related to this is don't replace clipboard with dancing ants multiple times. I copy from excel, switch app, copy something new, switch to excel and paste, but it pastes from dancing ants, not the new text I copied.

    This drives me nuts!!!!

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