Copy, Cut, and Paste Data in Excel

In the following lesson, I will show you how you can use copy, cut and paste operations, using both the mouse and the keyboard.


Copy and paste

If you want to copy the contents of the selected cell, press Ctrl + C.

The dotted border around the cell is so-called marching ants. If you see marching ants around a cell, it means that the content has been copied or cut.

You can paste the contents into cell C2, using the Ctrl + V keyboard shortcut.

Cut and paste

Cutting is similar to copying in the sense- that in both cases the value is stored in memory. The difference between them lies in the fact that when you cut the contents of the cell, the value from that cell disappears after pasting it into a new cell.

To cut cell contents, use the Ctrl + X shortcut. Now, press Ctrl + V to paste the contents of cell B2 to cell C2.

When you copy or cut content of cells, the data is copied both to the Office and Windows clipboard.

Copy the above value

Ctrl + D – copy the contents of the cell which are located above the active cell.


If you feel more confident working with the mouse rather than the keyboard, you can also use it to perform cutting, copying and pasting operations.

Copy and paste

To copy the contents of the selected cells to another location, select these cells, hold down the Ctrl key, then move your cursor over their border, so that the cursor will change to an arrow with a plus sign next to it.

Drag the contents to another location- for example, cell C2.

Cut and paste

If you want to cut the contents of the cell, you can use the same process as with copying, but this time without holding the Ctrl key.


When you drag cells, no value is stored inside the clipboard.


If you want to get rid of the selection (marching ants) around the cell, just cut (Ctrl + X) and paste (Ctrl + V) data to the same cell.

Tomasz Decker is an Excel specialist, skilled in data analysis and financial modeling.