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 Empty the Clipboard.

Can't Empty the Clipboard

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated November 23, 2019)

3

Jerry is trying to cut information from one cell and paste it into another cell. He can cut it just fine, but when he tries to paste it, he gets an error message, "Cannot Empty the Clipboard." Jerry wonders what causes this error.

This has been a problem in Excel for some time. (Actually, the problem seems to crop up in several different Office applications, not just Excel.) It seems to be more prevalent in versions of Excel earlier than Excel 2007, but it has been reported in the latest versions, as well.

The solutions for the problem depend upon what is causing the problem and which version of Excel you are using. As an example, here are two different articles at the Microsoft Office Support that address the issue for older and newer versions of the program:

https://support.office.com/en-us/community?threadid=d0239f09-cb2d-4300-b19d-603795f909b7
https://support.office.com/en-us/community?threadid=224b2a59-8a0c-4897-baba-a481dd06e085

Note that the articles are focused on entirely different versions of Excel and entirely different causes. Apparently, Microsoft has begun to listen to Excel users that have complained about this annoying error message. As noted in the second article listed above, in 2016 "we made some improvements to Office 365 users so that this error message only shows once per Excel instance." A quick Google search for the error message shows that it still occasionally occurs in the latest versions of Excel.

Basically, the way you can fix this problem is to figure out what program (Windows add-on or third-party software) is interfering with how Excel wants to work with the Clipboard. You can do this by starting Windows with a "clean slate" (without any other programs running in the background). Add the programs back in, one at a time, until the problem crops up again. You can then determine whether you want to use the offending program or not.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (9810) 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 Empty the Clipboard.

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

Protecting Individual Worksheets, by User

Excel allows you to protect worksheets, individually. Users can still see that the worksheets are there, but they cannot ...

Discover More

Spell Checking when Closing Documents

When you close a document, you might want to do one final check of the spelling, just to make sure that you didn't miss ...

Discover More

Extra Document File Being Saved

You may be surprised sometime to save a document and find out that Word actually saves what appear to be two copies of ...

Discover More

Create Custom Apps with VBA! Discover how to extend the capabilities of Office 2013 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Access) with VBA programming, using it for writing macros, automating Office applications, and creating custom applications. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2013 today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Ignoring Special Characters when Double-Clicking

If a word contains a special character within it, Excel actually thinks the single word is two words. This tip examines ...

Discover More

Ranges on Multiple Worksheets

Referring to a range of cells on the current worksheet is easy. But what if you want to refer to a range on a number of ...

Discover More

Quickly Deleting Rows and Columns

Deleting rows or columns is easy when you use the shortcut described in this tip. Just select the rows or columns and ...

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}] 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 5 + 7?

2021-07-09 17:06:58

Bill

Tried this and it seems to work. I'm running Excel 2007 on Windows 10 and had the CAN'T EMPTY THE CLIPBOARD issue, went into windows/system32 and made a copy of "clip.exe" renamed the copy "clipbrd.exe" which loaded "ClipboardServer.dll" the clip board seems to work flawlessly now.


2019-11-24 14:33:56

Allan

Here is another equally effective Clipboard cleaner--free.

http://clipdiary.com/clear-clipboard/


2019-11-23 13:33:24

Allan

Here is a simple program to clear the clipboard. I have used it for months. Works great.

Clear Clipboard - clipboard tool to clear clipboard contents

http://clipdiary.com/clear-clipboard/download-ok.php?version=standart&

Clear Clipboard instantly deletes the clipboard contents. You might want to run Clear To run Clear Clipboard, click on its icon
• When the clipboard is emptied, a message is displayed
• Click 'OK' to hide the message and close the program
To launch Clear Clipboard easily, you can add its icon to the Quick Launch bar or to your favorite program launcher.


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.