The paste special feature is undoubtedly a very useful option in Excel. It helps us control what we want to copy from the source and what we don't. I often refer to this option for various tasks, and here the shortcut of paste special in excel comes in handy.
In windows, the keyboard shortcut for paste special is CTRL+Alt+V. Once you press this key combination, the paste special dialog box will open. Here you will many choices for pasting your data. Choices like All, Value, Format, etc. Each choice has a letter underlined that you can press on the keyboard to paste that property of copied cell/range.
In mac, we use CTRL+COMMAND+V key combination to open the paste special dialog. To select an option from the list, we use the COMMAND+letter key in mac.
Let's have some examples to see the paste special shortcuts in action.
Excel Paste Special Example
Here I have an excel table that is formatted and has formulas in it.
Now press the shortcut CTRL+ALT+V in windows to open the paste special shortcut. On Mac use the above mentioned shortcut.
I want to just paste the values. I hit the V key (V is underlined on Value option). The value option is selected. When I hit the Enter button, I get naked values. It does not have any formatting or formulas.
On Mac, we use the command+V key to select Value.
To paste just formatting, press the T key (T is underlined for Formats). It pastes the formatting of the copied range to the selected range.
On Mac, use the command+T key to select Value.
Similarly, we can do all of the tasks in using just the keyboard with the paste special shortcuts options.
Many times we copy data from other sources, like the internet or any other application. In those cases, if you directly paste using CTRL+V, excel will most likely paste all the components of source like formatting, checkboxes, radio buttons, etc. which is undesirable (in most cases). You would probably like to paste values only. In that case, you will use paste special. When using the paste special, here you will get only three options; HTML, Unicode Text, and Text.
The default is an HTML option, which will paste everything you copied. Others are Unicode Text and Text (press T for selecting Text). These two options will paste plain text, that we desire most of the time.
The difference in Text and Unicode Text is that Unicode Text uses Unicode to convert ASCII values into text and symbols. The ASCII Text is useful when we work with multinational data or Mathematical and Scientific data.
This one is old but I frequently use it. If you hit the keys ALT--> E-->S, one by one, it will open the Paste Special menu. This is an old command that was used in Excel 2003 but it is still compatible. Afterward, the process is the same.
I hope it is helpful. If you have any Excel/VBA related query, ask it in the comments section below.
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