Copy and paste in spreadsheets

Google Sheets lets you copy and paste text and images between all of your documents, spreadsheets, and presentations..

Basic copy and paste

Copying and pasting in Google Sheets copies all properties of a cell into another cell, including text, formatting, data validation, and more. For most cases, the recommended method to copy and paste is to use keyboard shortcuts:

  • Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V on a PC
  • + C and + V on a Mac

Chrome is required in order to use the "Cut," "Copy," and "Paste" options available in the right-click menu and the "Edit" menu. Also make sure you have the Drive app for Chrome installed.

When you copy data, the border of the cell or range of cells will turn a solid color to help you remember where you copied the data from. When you cut data from a cell or a range of cells, you'll see a dotted line around the cell(s).

Paste special

You also have the option of using paste special, which gives you more control over what properties you're copying and pasting into a range of cells. Paste special works only within a single spreadsheet. In other words, you can't copy cells from one spreadsheet and use paste special in a spreadsheet you have open in another tab.

  • Copy the data you want to paste.
  • Click the Edit menu.
  • Hover over "Paste Special."

Then, select from the following:

  • 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 disrupt any existing text or formulas.
  • Paste all except borders: Pastes all of these options without any cell borders that have been added.
  • 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 disrupting any existing formatting, formulas or text.
  • Paste conditional formatting only: This option only applies conditional formatting rules to a range of cells.
  • Paste transpose (in the new Google Sheets only): This option allows you to paste 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. 

Copy and paste using the web clipboard menu

If you want to copy something but want to paste it later, you can use the web clipboard to store it until you're ready to paste it. This also allows you to copy something on one computer and then paste it later using a different computer.

  1. Select what you'd like to copy.
  2. Click the Edit menu and select Web clipboard.
  3. Click Copy selection to web clipboard.
  4. In the destination document, click the web clipboard menu; you'll see the selection that you previously copied. If you copied multiple things, you'll see a list of the items you've recently copied.
  5. Place the cursor where you want to paste the content.
  6. From the Edit menu, select Web clipboard.
  7. Select what you want to paste. Depending on your selection, you'll see different formats that you can choose from to paste what you've copied (for example, HTML or plain text).
  8. Select a format.

Copy and paste images and charts

To copy an image in your spreadsheet to a document or presentation, follow these steps:

  1. Select what you'd like to copy.
  2. Click the Edit menu. 
  3. Click Copy.
  4. To paste the image, go to the document or presentation where you want the image, click the Edit menu, select Web clipboard, and choose the item you'd like to paste.

To copy a chart from your spreadsheet to a document or presentation, follow these steps:

  1. Select the chart.
  2. Press Ctrl + C on your keyboard or select Copy chart from the dropdown arrow in the top right corner of the chart.
  3. You can then paste the chart into another document, presentation, or email by pressing Ctrl + V on your keyboard in Chrome or use the web clipboard for other browsers.
Pasting images and charts currently does not work in Google spreadsheets.

Redo last action

With the new version of Google Sheets, you can use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + Y  (⌘ + Y on a Mac) to repeat your last action in another section of your spreadsheet, as many times as necessary. You can save time using this shortcut for re-applying formatting or redoing an operation like inserting a row or column. Note that it doesn’t work with all actions that may be complex or need extra information, for example printing a spreadsheet or inserting a chart.