Cell Basics

In Excel cell function and references are helpful to better understand Excel spreadsheets. Use Excel cell reference functions as well.

To copy and paste cell content:

Excel allows you to copy content that is already entered into your spreadsheet and paste that content to other cells, which can save you time and effort.

  1. Select the cell(s) you want to copy.


    Screenshot of Excel 2013Selecting a cell to copy
  2. Click the Copy command on the Home tab, or press Ctrl+C on your keyboard.


    Screenshot of Excel 2013Clicking the Copy command
  3. Select the cell(s) where you want to paste the content. The copied cells will now have a dashed box around them.
    Screenshot of Excel 2013Pasting cells
  4. Click the Paste command on the Home tab, or press Ctrl+V on your keyboard.


    Screenshot of Excel 2013Clicking the Paste command
  5. The content will be pasted into the selected cells.


    Screenshot of Excel 2013The pasted cell content

To cut and paste cell content:

Unlike copying and pasting, which duplicates cell content, cutting allows you to move content between cells.

  1. Select the cell(s) you want to cut.


    Screenshot of Excel 2013Selecting a cell range to cut
  2. Click the Cut command on the Home tab, or press Ctrl+X on your keyboard.
    Screenshot of Excel 2013Clicking the Cut command
  3. Select the cells where you want to paste the content. The cut cells will now have a dashed box around them.


    Screenshot of Excel 2013Pasting cells
  4. Click the Paste command on the Home tab, or press Ctrl+V on your keyboard.
    Screenshot of Excel 2013Clicking the Paste command
  5. The cut content will be removed from the original cells and pasted into the selected cells.


    Screenshot of Excel 2013The cut and pasted cells

To access more paste options:

You can also access additional paste options, which are especially convenient when working with cells that contain formulas or formatting.

Screenshot of Excel 2013Additional Paste options

Rather than choose commands from the Ribbon, you can access commands quickly by right-clicking. Simply select the cell(s) you want to format, then right-click the mouse. A drop-down menu will appear, where you'll find several commands that are also located on the Ribbon.

Screenshot of Excel 2013Right-clicking to access formatting options

To drag and drop cells:

Rather than cutting, copying, and pasting, you can drag and drop cells to move their contents.

  1. Select the cell(s) you want to move.
  2. Hover the mouse over the border of the selected cell(s) until the cursor changes from a white cross Cursor to a black cross with four arrowsCursor.
    Screenshot of Excel 2013Hovering over the cell border
  3. Click, hold, and drag the cells to the desired location.


    Screenshot of Excel 2013Dragging the selected cells
  4. Release the mouse, and the cells will be dropped in the selected location.


    Screenshot of Excel 2013The dropped cells