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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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  • Lawrence commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I like RH's suggestion about cutting causing text to disappear (although disappear is kind of ambiguous...perhaps he means those cells turn blank...?), however marching ants is still very good for copying. For copying it seems useful if the marching ants stayed there until you pasted or hit escape. That way you know if you change something inside those marching ants, your paste may not work how you expect.

    Along these lines another problem with this copy/paste move is excel does not handle merged cells very well when copying/pasting/moving. I hope your change fixes that issue.

  • RH commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    In reply to John [MS XL]'s question: "how cut might work if we take some of the suggestions in this thread?" one would expect Cut to work like in any other Windows app, the cut item disappears right away when you cut (no need to wait for the paste.) In other words we'll never see marching ants again.

    A related item that I would expect to work if you do make this change is doing a "cutting delete" followed by more than one "pasting insert". Today if I Ctrl+X a row in a database and try to Ctrl+Ins it it into several other places of the database only the first Cltr+Ins carries the data over (the next one gives me a blank row which is typically not what I want; the same happens if I copy instead of cutting). It would be nice if I could keep inserting the filled row in various places by pressing Ctrl+Ins more than once . One valid question is how do you distinguish when I eventually want to insert blank rows again (and stop pasting data as a side effect.) Maybe we need a different keyboard shortcut (say Ctrl+Shift+keypad+) to mean Insert+Paste, always.

  • Lawrence commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Oh and glad to hear you are considering it!

    Use case is to basically allow edits and changes after the last copy. This is the most basic necessity. And a nice to have additional feature is for that copy to actually go to the clipboard historyshoo other entries could be copied and than refer back too that in the copy history...but I know this one may cause performance issues of the cell ranges are tho big...

  • Lawrence commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Yes the clipboard history is very nice! But the clipboad doesn't work for cell ranges and/so that is really what this idea is for.

    Hopefully you can extend the clipboard to work for cell ranges!

  • Steve K (Program Manager, Microsoft) commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Some scenarios may be solved by using the Clipboard Task Pane. To see it, just hit CTRL+C two times quickly, or click the little "expand" icon in the bottom right corner of the ribbon group that contains the "Paste" button. Now you can collect copied items, and paste them later, even if you've done something that's cleared the active clipboard. This will only allow you to paste values (not formulas), but hopefully that will help in some cases.
    Here's more information about it -

  • AdminExcel Team [MSFT] (Product Owner, commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    This was something I was addressing on the recent Reddit AMA for Excel. A few people in the comments have the core consideration right. The core issue is around that the contents can actually be driven by calc and can so of course change before you do a paste. There's a few other considerations, but the most interesting things fall from this behavior. That said, we've got a few ideas of changes we could make - I'll update the status of this ask.

    Related question for others on this thread - how do you feel about how cut works, and how cut might work if we take some of the suggestions in this thread?

    John [MS XL]

  • Nick commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    You should at least allow us to keep things on clipboard if they are under a certain size. I understand if someone copies 100,000 cells and then does something else you need to drop them from memory. But if I copy 100 cells and then decide I need to edit something first, please don't make me go back and copy it again.

  • Mark commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    How about removing the cell (or range) from the clipboard if AND ONLY IF the contents are changed before pasting? Or better yet, a popup on paste that says "the contents have change since they were added to the clipboard, continue with paste?"

  • Graham commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Yes this is so annoying! Especially if you've copied a cell with the intention of pasting into a filter but you need to clear all filters prior to pasting - you go to paste and the clipboard has been wiped, so frustrating!

  • Tyler commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I understand that a lot of the annoyances derived from Excel's copy/cut/paste behavior are with the best intentions, but it would really be nice to at least have an option for it to obey default clipboard behavior. I want Excel's copy to work exactly like every other program ever. If I break my spreadsheet because I copy, change cells, then paste, I assume full responsibility.

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    To clarify this question, do you mean when you copy an entire cell and then try to paste into the contents of another cell? The fact that this doesn't work infuriates me, too!

  • Algebe commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Excel seems to lose the clipboard contents if you do anything at all between copy and paste. It's very frustrating.
    You can get better clipboard persistence if you select the cell and then copy the content from the input area below the ribbon.
    I think MS is planning to fix this problem in Office 2050.

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