Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365. If you are using an earlier version (Excel 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Excel, click here: Can't Copy Data between Workbooks.

Can't Copy Data between Workbooks

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated February 23, 2019)
This tip applies to Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365


1

Neil has Excel installed on several PCs in his office. On most of these he can copy data from one workbook to another workbook with no problems. On one of the PCs, although he can copy data from one worksheet to another worksheet in the same workbook, Neil cannot copy data to a different workbook.

More than likely this has to do with how the two workbooks are opened on the problem machine. If you open the workbooks in two different instances of Excel, then copying and pasting between instances is not the same as when the workbooks are opened in the same instance. If you open the two workbooks in different instances of Excel, then when you go to paste information into the target workbook, you get the results of whatever formulas you are copying instead of the original formulas. (This is just one example; there are other pasting differences as well.)

The solution is to make sure that the workbooks are opened in the same instance of Excel. The easiest way to do this is to make sure that once the first workbook is open, you open the second workbook by using the Open dialog box within Excel. If you, instead, use the Windows Start menu or a Desktop icon to open the second workbook, you are opening a second instance of the program.

If this doesn't solve the problem for you, then you should make sure that there is no macro running in the target workbook or worksheet when it is activated. Look for code in the ThisWorkbook module and any other worksheet module in the target workbook's VBA project. If you do find a macro there, then it could be that the macro is altering what is in the Clipboard or clearing it out entirely. You'll need to do some detective work to figure out if this is the case.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (8034) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Can't Copy Data between Workbooks.

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Using Drag-and-Drop to Create a Hyperlink

If you open workbooks in two instances of Excel, you can use drag-and-drop techniques to create hyperlinks from one ...

Discover More

Formatting an ASCII Table with Tabs

If you get a document from a coworker that has tabs used to line up tabular information, you might want to change that ...

Discover More

Extending a Paragraph into the Left Margin

Word allows you to format a paragraph so that it extends into the left margin of the document. This is done by setting a ...

Discover More

Program Successfully in Excel! John Walkenbach's name is synonymous with excellence in deciphering complex technical topics. With this comprehensive guide, "Mr. Spreadsheet" shows how to maximize your Excel experience using professional spreadsheet application development tips from his own personal bookshelf. Check out Excel 2013 Power Programming with VBA today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Viewing the Contents of a Very Wide Cell on Demand

Each cell in a worksheet can hold quite a bit of information. If you want to see the information in the cell without the ...

Discover More

Alt+Enter Stopped Working Correctly

What do you do if a keypress you know worked correctly before all of a sudden stops working as you expect? This tip ...

Discover More

Default Cell Movement when Deleting

Delete a cell or a range of cells, and Excel needs to figure out how to rearrange the void left by the deletion. You can ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 2 + 5?

2020-08-22 15:53:35

Philip Andrew

I might have discovered another workaround for copy-pasting a formula from one wb to another. I copied the source formula, hit Enter to close the cell I just copied from, then pasted the formula into a new blank MS Word document. I then did a Ctrl-A in the Word doc to select all the text I just pasted there, then hit the Clear All Formatting icon in my QAT, copied the still selected format-clear formula text in Word, and pasted it into the cell in the target wb. Presto, It worked!


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the ribbon interface (Excel 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.