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: Ignoring Paragraph Marks when Pasting.

Ignoring Paragraph Marks when Pasting

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 21, 2020)


Sharon has text in which information is separated by paragraph marks. She wants to copy it to a single cell in an Excel worksheet, but whenever she tries pasting the information, Excel separates the information into different cells based on the paragraph marks.

This behavior (recognizing the paragraph marks as the start of a new chunk of data) is normal in Excel. One way to approach this problem is to simply change how you are doing your pasting. Follow these steps:

  1. In Word or whatever is your source program, copy the desired text to the Clipboard. (Selecting it and pressing Ctrl+C will do fine.)
  2. In Excel, select the cell where you want the information pasted.
  3. Press F2. This switches to edit mode for the cell, and you should see the insertion point blinking in the Formula bar. (If you don't want to take your hands off the mouse, you could also double-click the cell to enter edit mode.)
  4. Press Ctrl+V to paste the information from the Clipboard.

That's it; the information is pasted into the single cell. This works because you were in edit mode before you did the paste, so everything was done in the selected cell rather than going through Excel's normal import filter.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (8940) 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: Ignoring Paragraph Marks when Pasting.

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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What is 8 + 4?

2014-10-16 12:27:15

Chuck Trese

Chris, all,
The ability to make the formula bar multi-line has been there at least since 2003. I don't remember, but I would guess even earlier.

2014-10-16 11:41:46

Chris C

Thanks Nick, that DID help, the first time I read it;) Actually my version - 2013- has a drop down arrow to open the Formula Bar and show a right side scroll bar, so your suggestion works perfectly there also. You can also drag it open. Not sure if 2010 has the same opening capability of the Formula Bar.

2014-10-16 03:37:17

Nick, London

Chris C
To insert a return within a cell use ALT + Return. Best to do this in the cell, with wrap text on, as the Formula Bar only displays one of the lines of text.

Hope that helps.

2014-10-13 11:28:42

Chris C

Alternatively you can simply Rt click and paste it into the Formula Bar after selecting the cell. Within that you can remove CRLF or bullet points or whatever.

I haven't figured out how to insert a CRLF in the text string while it is in the Formula Bar though. I do that by first pasting into Notepad++ or Word and formatting, then copy and paste into the Formuala Bar.

2014-10-13 09:00:48


This is an awesome tip! Will pass it along to other Excel users at work.

2014-10-13 08:59:26

Bigger Don

Alan, Alan, Alan...

You said there are a couple of ways and only gave us one (unless my reading skills are shot).

Here's a second option. Instead of clicking F2 after the selecting the cell, you can double-click the cell, paste with then CTL-V, right-click (context) menu, or the Paste icon.

I've never been an F2er, I've always double-clicked. They both work.

Different strokes (clicks) for different folks!

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