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The Best Selection and Paste Keyboard Shortcuts for Microsoft Excel

    The guide on this page shows you the best keyboard shortcuts for data selection and then special paste options in Microsoft Excel without the need for a mouse so you can work more efficiently. Moving data around and special paste options are critical to getting the most from Excel!

    There are SO MANY keyboard shortcuts in Excel that all perform different functions even when you do something – like copying and pasting – there’s more than just the default functions.

    However, when you’re looking for a specific action – like pasting and maintaining previous formatting, it might be hard to figure out how to do this or interpret the various icons that appear after selecting or pasting.   

    We put together this guide to consolidate the various select and paste related keyboard shortcuts into a specific category so you can quickly learn a specific set of some of the best options.

    What are keyboard shortcuts

    It might seem obvious and you’re probably already familiar, but JUST in case, a keyboard shortcut is a quick method that allows you to perform a function on your computer with the press of a set of buttons.

    One of the most common and well-known shortcuts would be the Copy function, CTRL + C.

    This means that you press the CTRL key and the C key at the same time on your PC, it will copy any highlight text or data in any application – like a web browser or Microsoft Word.

    CTRL + C

    • Copy data in a cell, column, or row (whatever you’ve got highlighted)

    CTRL + V

    • Paste data in a cell, column, or row (whatever you’ve got highlighted)


    • After pasting data in a cell, press CTRL to bring up the expanded Paste options menu.
    • Mouse / hover over the icons to see what the paste action is.

    CTRL + A

    • Select an entire table or dataset.
    • This won’t select cells outside of the table or dataset on first click.
    • While still holding down CTRL, continue to press A to expand selection (ie, include columns, remainder of worksheet).

    Ctrl + Alt + V

    • Opens the Paste Special dialogue box.
    • This dialogue box lets you set the precise paste conditions, such as paste values, formula only with/without formatting, transpose at same time, and more.

    Alt + (multiple keys)

    Instead of using the Paste Special shortcut, you can press ALT and then subsequent keys to do special paste actions:

    • Alt + E + S – Allows to play w the formatting + different operations you can perform without directly applying a formula.
    • Alt H V T – for paste as text
    • Alt H V V – for paste as values
    • Alt H V S C Enter – for paste comments/notes

    CTRL –

    • To for delete and move cell (not just clear contents like with the Del key).
    • This is the same as right clicking and selecting Delete.

    CTRL + Space key

    • Select entire column.
    • This is helpful to use while entering a formula because you don’t have to scroll up and down to grab the entire column.

    Shift + Space

    • Select entire row

    More Keyboard Shortcuts

    Looking to do more with keyboard shortcuts? Check out our guide on the best navigation shortcuts: The Best Navigation Related Keyboard Shortcuts for Microsoft Excel