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Copy and paste text and images

You can copy and paste text and images between your files — even if you're going from one type of file to another.

Use the right-click menu, keyboard shortcuts, or web clipboard

You might be able to copy and paste with the right-click menu, but for security reasons, most browsers don't allow web apps (like Docs, Sheets, and Slides) to use your computer's clipboard through menus.

If you use Chrome

To copy and paste, use the right-click menu or select "Copy" or "Paste" from the Edit menu in the toolbar.

If you use a different browser

To copy and paste, you can use keyboard shortcuts:

  • PC: Ctrl + c for Copy, Ctrl + x for Cut, and Ctrl + v for Paste.
  • Mac: ⌘ + c for Copy, ⌘ + x for Cut, and ⌘ + v for Paste.

If keyboard shortcuts aren’t working, use the web clipboard:

  • If you're copying between file types.
  • If you want to copy on one computer and paste on another computer.
  • If you want to copy something you aren't going to paste right away.

Note: The web clipboard is not available in Google Sheets.

  1. Open a Google file.
  2. Select what you want to copy.
  3. Click Edit and then Web clipboard and then Copy selection to web clipboard.
  4. When you’re ready to paste, click Edit and then Web clipboard. You'll see the things you copied.
  5. Click where you want to paste the content.
  6. Click Edit and then Web clipboard.
  7. Click what you want to paste. You'll see different formats that you can choose from to paste what you've copied, like HTML or rich text.
  8. Select a format. Your content will be pasted.

To delete all items stored on the clipboard, click Edit and then Web clipboard and then Clear all items and then Ok.

How content on the clipboard is stored

  • You can access the web clipboard only by signing in to the same Google Account you used to copy the content originally.
  • Content you copy to the web clipboard is stored on Google's servers and stays there 30 days from when you last took action on it, like when you copied it.
  • Even if you delete a file, anything you copied from that file and pasted into the clipboard will stay on Google's servers for that 30-day period.

More paste options

Copy and paste charts
  1. Click on a chart in Google Sheets.
  2. In the top right corner of the chart, click the Down arrow Down Arrow.
  3. Click Copy chart.
  4. To paste the chart, click Edit and then Paste. If you are pasting outside of the spreadsheet, you will be asked whether or not to link the data to the copied chart.
Copy text formatting (paint format)

You can copy the formatting of text, cells, or an object with the paint format tool.

  1. Open a Google file.
  2. Select the text, range of cells, or object you want to copy the format of.
  3. In the toolbar, click Paint format paint format.
  4. Select what you want to paste the formatting onto.
  5. The formatting will change to be the same as the formatting you copied.

Keyboard shortcuts

To copy the formatting of selected text:

  • Press Ctrl + Alt + c (Windows or Chrome OS) or ⌘ + Option + c (Mac).

To apply the formatting you copied to a different text selection:

  • Press Ctrl + Alt + v (Windows or Chrome OS) or ⌘ + Option + v (Mac).
Use paste special in a spreadsheet

You can use paste special to decide which formatting gets copied when copying cells.

Paste special works only within a single spreadsheet. You can't copy cells from one spreadsheet and use paste special in a spreadsheet open in another tab.

  1. Open a spreadsheet in Google Sheets.
  2. Copy the data you want to paste and put your cursor in the cell you want to paste into.
  3. Click Edit and then Paste special.
  4. Choose from the following:
    • Paste values only: Pastes only the text from the original range of cells.
    • Paste format only: This option is identical to using the paint format tool -- it only copies cell formatting, and won't change existing text or formulas.
    • Paste all except borders: Pastes everything except cell borders.
    • Paste formula only: Pastes the formulas contained in a copied range of cells, not the resulting calculations of the formulas.
    • Paste data validation only: Pastes a data validation rule over a range of cells without changing existing formatting, formulas, or text.
    • Paste conditional formatting only: Only applies conditional formatting rules to a range of cells.
    • Paste transpose: Pastes a rotated version of the copied cells. For example, if you copy a column of cells and use paste transpose, it will paste them into a row, and vice versa.

Choose a format after pasting content

You can format the content after you paste it.

  1. In a spreadsheet, copy the content you want to paste.
  2. Paste the content in the same spreadsheet.
  3. By default, the original formatting of the content will stay the same. To change the formatting, click Paste Paste.
  4. Choose an option:
    • Paste values only: Pastes only the text contained in the original range of cells.
    • Paste format only: This option is identical to using the paint format tool -- it only copies cell formatting, and won't change existing text or formulas.

Mary is a Docs & Drive expert and author of this help page. Leave her feedback below about the page.

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