Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. 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: Pasting Multiple Paragraphs Into a Single Cell.

Pasting Multiple Paragraphs Into a Single Cell

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated September 3, 2016)


David notes that when he pastes text from Word into Excel, Excel reads the paragraph marks as an instruction to move to the adjacent cell below, so that a block of Word text in three paragraphs, when pasted into cell A1 in Excel, will enter a paragraph into each of the cells A1, A2 and A3. David wonders how to paste the text as three paragraphs in one single cell.

There's a simple solution to this problem: When pasting your text, double click on the cell where you want the information. By double-clicking, you're essentially pasting into the cell, rather than just to the cell.

That may be a confusing distinction, but it needn't be. If you click a cell and then paste, Excel parses the Clipboard contents differently than if you double-click the cell. When you double-click, Excel enters edit mode, allowing you to edit the contents of the cell. (This can be done within the cell itself or within the Formula bar, depending on how you have Excel configured.) You can also jump into edit mode in a cell by pressing F2.

Once in edit mode, you can paste the multiple paragraphs into the single cell. The paragraph marks in the Word text are treated as end-of-line characters as if the text was entered into the cell with an Alt+Enter at the end of each paragraph. In addition, any font formatting or paragraph indenting will be lost with this method of pasting, and the cell will retain whatever formats were placed on it before the paste.

There is something to be aware of, however. Excel has a limit of 32,767 characters that can be entered into a cell. If you exceed that limit, then everything extra will be truncated. If the entry is long enough then it is possible to make Excel hang as it tries to figure out what you are doing, or even to crash. This means you probably don't want to try pasting multiple pages of text into a single cell. If you want to keep everything you are pasting from Word, then you might want to paste it into a text box, instead.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (12354) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Pasting Multiple Paragraphs Into a Single Cell.

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 five less than 8?

2017-07-06 18:17:24

Dennis Costello


As Allen said "This can be done within the cell itself or within the Formula bar, depending on how you have Excel configured". In Excel 2010, the Excel Options (on the Advanced page) "Allow editing directly in cells" is where this is controlled. It is of course in different places, and given a different name, in other versions of Excel. When checked, you can as Allen implies edit directly inside the cell. When unchecked, you can only do this sort of editing inside the Formula bar.

Allen was mistaken, I believe, in that it's not an either/or situation (edit in the cell or in the Formula Bar). You can always edit in the Formula Bar - the control affects whether you can edit inside a cell by double-clicking on it.

If the "allow editing directly" control is unchecked, double-clicking on a cell containing a formula will take you to the first cell referenced in the formula. For instance, if cell C5 contains the formula =a4 * 10, double-clicking on cell C5 will take you to that cell. If the formula contains a link to a cell in a different worksheet, Excel will shift to that cell in the other worksheet - even if it has to open it to do so. It's really quite a handy feature, which is why I always configure Excel to work in this manner.

You may prefer the other behavior, of course.

2016-09-06 09:36:31


Double clicking did not work for me.
But pressing F2 first, and then pasting, it worked, putting all paragraphs into one cell.

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