How to Use Paste Special in Microsoft Excel

Not sure how to add a photo to your Microsoft Excel spreadsheet?  Paste special is a feature that can help.  Paste Special allows the user to add unformatted text, a link, or a picture to an Excel spreadsheet.  To add a picture from the Internet, copy and paste the image to the clipboard.

Select the cell that you want to paste your content into.  Don’t be concerned about the cell’s current size.  Excel resizes the cell to accommodate the length of your text or the size of your picture.

Next, open your Excel spreadsheet and click Edit > Paste Special…

On the screen that appears, click OK to paste as a picture.

When you click OK, the image you have copied will appear in the cell you had selected prior to running the command.  It will look like this:

You can now format the picture, change the contrast, add a shadow, and perform many other modifications on the image.

Paste Special can also be used to include Unicode Text in your Excel spreadsheet.  To include Unicode Text, copy the text from its source to your clipboard.

Next, click Edit > Paste Special just like you did to add the picture.  This time, you’ll click Unicode Text and then OK, as pictured below.

I selected some Chinese characters for my Unicode Text example.  It appears like this:

If you choose Text instead of Unicode Text your characters will look something like this cell below the Chinese characters:

Paste Special can also be used to insert HTML code into your Excel spreadsheet in the same way.

Lastly, Paste Special can especially be useful for pasting formulas within your document into other cells.  This way, if you create a formula for one column or row in your document, you can easily apply the same formula to other cells or rows in the same or another document.

Let’s say I want to sum the numbers in the ZIP column.  I do this and they total 517200.  It looks like this:

For this example, I’m going to create a column of numbers next to the ones we already have in column G, rows 1 – 13.

Now, I copy that number in F14 (517200) and, with Paste Special, paste it in row 14, column G.  It appears like this:

With Paste Special, Excel knows I want to do the same summing formula and does the work for me.

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