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. In our example, we'll select F9.
    selecting cell F9
  2. Click the Copy command on the Home tab, or press Ctrl+C on your keyboard.
    clicking the Copy command on the Home tab
  3. Select the cell(s) where you want to paste the content. In our example, we'll select F12:F17. The copied cell(s) will have a dashed box around them.
    selecting a destination for the copied cell(s)
  4. Click the Paste command on the Home tab, or press Ctrl+V on your keyboard.
    selecting the Paste command
  5. The content will be pasted into the selected cells.
    the pasted content

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. Just click the drop-down arrow on the Paste command to see these options.

clicking the Paste command drop-down menu

Instead of choosing 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.

right-clicking to access cut, copy, and paste options

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. In our example, we'll select G5:G6.
  2. Right-click the mouse and select the Cut command. Alternatively, you can use the command on the Home tab, or press Ctrl+X on your keyboard.
    selecting the Cut command from the right-click menu
  3. Select the cells where you want to paste the content. In our example, we'll select F10:F11. The cut cells will now have a dashed box around them.
  4. Right-click the mouse and select the Paste command. Alternatively, you can use the command on the Home tab, or press Ctrl+V on your keyboard.
    pasting the cut cells
  5. The cut content will be removed from the original cells and pasted into the selected cells.
    the pasted cells

To drag and drop cells:

Instead of cutting, copying, and pasting, you can drag and drop cells to move their contents.

  1. Select the cell(s) you want to move. In our example, we'll select H4:H12.
  2. Hover the mouse over the border of the selected cell(s) until the mouse changes to a pointer with four arrows.
    hovering over the border of a selected cell range
  3. Click and drag the cells to the desired location. In our example, we'll move them to G4:G12.
    dragging the cells to a new location
  4. Release the mouse. The cells will be dropped in the selected location.
    the dropped cells in their new location