Weird Pasting Behavior

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated November 18, 2023)
This tip applies to Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Excel in Microsoft 365, and 2021


When Nigel first uses Copy and Paste, it works fine. If he then uses it a second time, he gets an error message that the Clipboard is "in use by another application." If he clicks OK, the message goes away and Excel does the paste. If he closes the workbook, and opens it again, he gets the same behavior. Nigel wonders if there is a solution for this.

The most frequent cause of this issue is that there is another program open on your system and it is accessing the Clipboard in some manner. Thus, the first thing to do is to restart your computer (so you can ensure all programs are closed) and then start Excel. If the problem goes away, then you can rest assured that the problem is with one of your other programs.

This, then, means that you'll need to do a bit of detective work. The easiest way is to note when the problem occurs, and then take stock of all open programs and open workbooks. Jot down notes of this environment, and make sure you keep track of all add-ins you have open in Excel. Each time the problem occurs, do the same thing. Over time, patterns will begin to emerge from your notes and this will help you figure out the most likely culprit.

If you still can't figure out the issue, then you may want to try some of the ideas presented at this website:

https://recoverit.wondershare.com/office-file-recovery/how-to-fix-excel-file-cannot-open-clipboard-error.html

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (1597) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Excel in Microsoft 365, and 2021.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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