Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 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

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 23, 2019)

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 Office 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

TOC Heading Numbers Always Show in Bold

Linda's got a document that includes a table of contents that is based on headings in the document. When the headings ...

Discover More

Word Freezes when Updating Styles

If you have problems with Word freezing at times, it can be very frustrating. Here are a couple of things you can check ...

Discover More

Entering Dates in Excel

When you type information into a cell, Excel tries to figure out what type of information you are entering. If Excel can ...

Discover More

Solve Real Business Problems Master business modeling and analysis techniques with Excel and transform data into bottom-line results. This hands-on, scenario-focused guide shows you how to use the latest Excel tools to integrate data from multiple tables. Check out Microsoft Excel 2013 Data Analysis and Business Modeling today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Entering Data as Thousands

There are many different ways you may need to enter data in a worksheet. For instance, you might want to enter data in ...

Discover More

Merging Cells to a Single Sum

One way to make your worksheets less complex is to get rid of detail and keep only the summary of that detail. Here's how ...

Discover More

Inserting Different Dashes

Excel supports several types of dashes. This tip describes those different types and explains how to enter them in a cell.

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 9 + 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.