Copying and Pasting Non-Contiguous Ranges of Cells

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated January 27, 2018)
This tip applies to Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365


6

Szilvia can create a selection set of cells, such that she has a non-contiguous range of cells selected. If she tries to copy those cells using Ctrl+C, Excel informs her that "this action will not work on multiple selections." Szilvia wonders if there a way to copy a non-contiguous range and then paste that range so that the cells are in the same relative position as in the original selection.

Apparently, this limitation of only allowing you to copy and paste contiguous ranges is the way that Excel is designed to work. The only way you can copy and paste a non-contiguous range is to use a macro—one that steps through each cell in a selection and pastes it relative to a target address. The following is an example:

Sub CopyPasteCells()
    Dim sTemp As String
    Dim sTarget As String
    Dim c As Range
    Dim pasteRng As Range

    sTemp = InputBox("Target cell?")
    sTarget = Trim(sTemp)
    If sTarget > "" Then
        Set pasteRng = ActiveSheet.Range(sTarget)
        For Each c In Selection
            c.Copy
            pasteRng.Range(c.Address).PasteSpecial xlPasteValues
        Next
    End If
    Application.CutCopyMode = False
End Sub

To use the macro, simply create your selection set of cells. Then, run the macro and specify the target cell for the pasting. The cells are pasted relative to that target cell on the current worksheet.

You should note that the macro does very little error checking. For instance, you could enter some totally bogus target cell address, and the macro would try to accommodate your request. (If the target address is too bogus, you'll get an error message.)

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (5228) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365.

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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Comments

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What is nine less than 9?

2022-07-11 09:40:05

J. Woolley

@Brian F
Change from c.Copy to c.Cut.


2022-07-10 22:46:12

Brian F

Thanks Allen, I figured out the position as A is the selected column and 1 is the row so to move one column over same row is B1. Is there a way to change the macro to cut and paste instead of copy?


2018-06-04 00:41:45

ETB

In my case I have a for loop which finds substrings and thereby column header names (with dynamic prefixes. )Non contiguous ranges are present within their underlying columns, and I have been able to copy and paste these ranges(with their relative positions), into existing charts. However, VBA will not paste "correctly".
Could I use the same logic as you show here to capture the relative positions ?


2018-01-28 06:39:28

Willy Vanhaelen

The macro in this tip does not what it is supposed to do. It only works if the first area of your selection starts in cell A1. In all other cases the destination is not the cell you enter in the input box but lower and /or to the right of it. How much depends of the offsite to cell A1.

Here is a macro that does the job as expected. Instead of copying cell by cell I make use of vba's Areas Collection and copy each area or contiguous block of the selection at a time which is of course faster.

Sub CopyMultiAreas()
Dim Area As Range, PasteRng As Range
Dim C As Integer, R As Double, X As Integer, Y As Double
On Error Resume Next
Set PasteRng = Application.InputBox("Target cell?", Type:=8)
If PasteRng Is Nothing Then Exit Sub
On Error GoTo 0
C = Selection.Column
R = Selection.Row
For Each Area In Selection.Areas
X = Area.Column
If X < C Then C = X
Y = Area.Row
If Y < R Then R = Y
Next Area
C = PasteRng.Column - C
R = PasteRng.Row - R
For Each Area In Selection.Areas
Area.Copy Cells(Area.Row + R, Area.Column + C)
Next Area
Application.CutCopyMode = False
End Sub


2018-01-27 10:33:33

tacenator

Is is possible to copy/paste non-contiguous ranges in limited circumstance: the ranges must come from the same rows for the data blocks. Example: select range a13 - d16; next, hold ctrl and select range f13 - g16 (standard dragging works in both instances). Hit Ctrl + C; go to another worksheet (or space in same worksheet) and paste using one of the paste functions (often I use "paste values"). The selected data will paste into adjacent columns in the new worksheet (maybe a[x] - f[y]). Works fine.


2018-01-27 07:25:42

Greg

That's pretty cool. Is there anyway to have the Target cell as an absolute position? The way it is now, i don't see how you can paste above or to the left of the first cell selected.


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