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How to Deal With Excel 2016’s New Persistent Clipboard

Jun 23rd 2017
Spreadsheets and graphs on a desk

If you’ve used Microsoft Excel for any length of time you’ve probably realized that it has had a completely different relationship with the Windows Clipboard than any other application you may have used.

I purposely chose the words “has had” because, at long last, Microsoft Excel 2016 will no longer clear the clipboard when you happen to take any action unrelated to pasting the data. I’ll first set some background for how this feature historically worked and then show you what to expect going forward if you’re using an Office 365 subscription-based version of Microsoft Excel.

Let’s say that you select and copy a range of cells, and then notice that you wanted to bold the top row. When you select those cells and click the Bold icon, suddenly what you had copied to the clipboard is no longer there – you have to select and copy the data again.

Conversely, let’s try this in Excel 2016:

1. Select any range of cells.

2. Click the Copy command or press Ctrl-C.

3. Select a different range of cells.

4. Press Ctrl-B to make those cells bold.

5. Notice that your selection of copied cells is still valid and ready for you to paste without selecting the range again.

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Replies (2)

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By mfstock
Mar 7th 2018 21:55

I don't understand how this helps to "deal with the clipboard"? The title doesn't fit the content.

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By NZLWally
Jun 23rd 2018 05:18

As a long time user of Excel this is the most frustrating 'feature' ever. I frequently end up pasting a copied range across multiple rows/columns even when I thought I cleared the copy. Microsoft should allow this feature to be enabled/disabled.

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