How to Edit the Text That You Paste Into Spreadsheet Cells

BY STANLEY ZAROWIN

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).

 

More from the JofA:

 

 Find us on Facebook      Follow us on Twitter

 

RESOURCES

Keeping you informed and prepared amid the coronavirus outbreak

We’re gathering the latest news stories along with relevant columns, tips, podcasts, and videos on this page, along with curated items from our archives to help with uncertainty and disruption.

VIDEO

Excel walk-through: Sparklines

Want to liven up your spreadsheets with some color and graphical elements? Kelly L. Williams, CPA, Ph.D., shows how to use Excel sparklines, which illustrate data trends and patterns via small charts that fit in a single Excel cell.