How to Edit the Text That You Paste Into Spreadsheet Cells


Q: I frequently paste explanatory text into my Excel spreadsheets. But when I paste text that includes more than one paragraph, each paragraph gets popped into separate cells. How can I get them to stay in one cell?


A: You’ve touched on a little-known peculiarity of Excel. If you copy a few paragraphs of text into a spreadsheet cell (say A1) by pressing Ctrl+V to paste the text into the cell, Excel parses the data so the first paragraph goes into A1, the second paragraph goes into A2, and each subsequent paragraph goes into subsequent cells (see screenshot at right).


What you want to do instead is to instruct Excel to go into the “edit” mode—essentially letting you edit the data.


There are two ways to get Excel into that mode. One is to double-click (instead of just a single click) on the target cell, and the other is to single-click on the cell and then press F2. Once you’re in edit mode, press Ctrl+V and all the copied text will remain in that one cell (see screenshot at left).


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