Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Excel in Microsoft 365, and 2021. 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: Using Copy and Paste for Formatting.

Using Copy and Paste for Formatting

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated January 7, 2023)
This tip applies to Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Excel in Microsoft 365, and 2021


In other issues of ExcelTips you learn how to use the Format Painter to quickly and easily copy formatting between cells. Despite how handy it is, there may be times when you don't want to use the Format Painter. For instance, the Format Painter may not be visible at the top of the screen and it would be a hassle to display it just to copy a format. In instances like this, you can use copying and pasting to copy formats to a different cell or cell range.

To copy formatting using this method, you use techniques traditionally used when editing the contents of your worksheet:

  1. Select the cell or cells whose format you wish to copy.
  2. Press Ctrl+C or press Ctrl+Insert. This copies the cell contents to the Clipboard and places a dotted, moving border around your selection.
  3. Select the cell or cell range into which you want the formats pasted.
  4. Display the Home tab of the ribbon.
  5. Click the down-arrow under the Paste tool and then select Paste Special from the resulting options. Excel displays the Paste Special dialog box.
  6. Choose the Formats radio button.
  7. Click on OK.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (12469) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Excel in Microsoft 365, and 2021. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Using Copy and Paste for Formatting.

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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