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Excel Copy/Paste Only Copies Text Not Cells

Posted on 2012-04-01
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Last Modified: 2012-04-02
All of a sudden, Excel 2007 has learned a new and unwanted trick - when I select a cell or range of cells and enter ctrl+C (or Copy from the Clipboard group), the cell outline flashes for an instant but then reverts to its normal display.  When I paste into another cell, it acts as if I have selected Paste Value, not Paste.  When  I click on the Paste options in the Clipboard group, the drop down shows only Paste, Paste Special, and Paste as Picture - all other options are greyed out.  When I select Paste Special, the only options presented are Text and Unicode text.  I have searched but cannot find an Excel configuration option or an MS Office Clipboard option that might produce this behavior.

I have MS Office 2003 as well as 2007 installed on this machine, and Excel 2003 now exhibits the same behavior.  It persists after a reboot.

Please help me restore normal functioning.
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Question by:donestes
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 37793991
The copy/paste options are context sensitive, and I do not see a lot of global options for them. I always discourage 2 versions of Office on one computer.

Try this:  Uninstall Office 2003 completely, then restart and do an Office Repair for Office 2007. Open Word or Excel, go to the Trust Center, Privacy Options, and then check (select) the option to Download a File Periodically from Microsoft. Then go to Help, Diagnostics and run the Diagnostics. Restart again when done.

Now, has the copy/paste returned to Excel 2007?  

Once repair, consider whether you absolutely need 2 copies of Office. Most of us do not.

.... Thinkpads_User
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Expert Comment

by:byundt
ID: 37793993
This seems to be a popular problem with Excel 2007 recently.

If you are pasting from one workbook to another, make sure that they aren't in different instances of Excel. In other words, can you see the target workbook from the View...Switch Windows menu item?

If you are pasting within the same workbook, make sure that no add-ins are running. In Excel 2007:
1) Click the meatball (Office icon at top left of window), then click the Excel Options button at bottom of resulting dialog
2) Click on the Add-Ins item in the left pane, then make sure nothing is listed as active in the resulting pane on the right. Analysis ToolPak, Analysis ToolPak (VBA) and Solver are all OK.

Make sure that you only have one workbook open. Workbooks in the XLSTART folder will open automatically when you launch Excel, for example.
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Author Comment

by:donestes
ID: 37794402
thinkpads_user:

I have 2003 and 2007 on 4 different computers, and other than a known issue between the two which results in a periodic execution of the configuration utility I have had no apparent issues.  While I would not rule out a new incompatibility, I have not updated the software from Microsoft since long before this started.  Having both installed is of sufficient value to me (especially for PowerPoint so I can have two windows visible but occasionally for Word as well) that I am not inclined to rush to judgment and remove them without positive evidence.  Facts do change my mind, however.

byundt:

This is occurring within the same worksheet in the same workbook.  I just ran Excel, and used Book1 for a little test, on the presumption that this precluded their being a second workbook open.  How can I ensure that no other ones have been automatically opened somehow?

My for test, I put 1 in cell B1, formula "=B1+1" in B2, and then selected B2 lower right corner and dragged it down 2 cells.  It copied the formula correctly, so "=B2+1" in B3, etc.  However, when I selected B2, then ctrl+C, then selected B3:B4, then ctrl+V, I got an error: "Data in the clipboard is not the same size and shape as the selected area. Do you want to paste the data anyway?" When I answered yes, I got an ever stranger result: a 2 in B3 (so it copied the value in B2, not the formula), but I got the formula "=B3+1" in B4.  Note also that the crawling ants around B2 were not in evidence, just the standard cell presentation with the heavy black borders indicating that B2 was selected, not copied.

Thank you.
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 37795449
You can always try running the Office Repair for Office 2007 even with Office 2003 installed.

.... Thinkpads_User
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Accepted Solution

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byundt earned 500 total points
ID: 37795792
Do you use Skype? There is apparently a conflict with a browser plug-in and the Copy/Paste functionality in Excel. http://www.thecodecage.com/forumz/hot-topics/212321-paste-paste-special-issues-office.html
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Author Closing Comment

by:donestes
ID: 37796018
Bingo!  That was precisely it! I uninstalled Skype Click to Call from FireFox, restarted FF, and copy/paste is now working normally in Excel.  Thank you!
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