Weekly Computer Tip # 310
4 June 2010

Drag cell contents to a different sheet
(Excel 2003-2007)

This tip was meant to go out last week but my service provider threw a major wobbler, which took three days to sort out. (By the way, isn't it strange that being without an internet connection, which you didn't have the first 20 or 30 - or 60 - years of your life, is now a cause for panic and you end up working in your local gym's bar?) Anyway, here's a tip from one of my readers (thanks, Giovanni) who wrote about the magic of ALT in Excel.

As you may know you can drag the mouse to move and copy cells. (If you don't ... Simply select the cell(s) that is/are to be moved, point to the border of the selection, press and hold down the mouse button and drag the mouse pointer to the new location. To copy a cell or range of cells, hold down CTRL while you point to the border of the selection. When the pointer becomes a copy pointer, drag the cell or range of cells to another location.)

Giovanni emailed to share an alternative method to using the standard Windows cut and paste techniques to move or copy cells from one worksheet to another: use the magic ALT key.

Here's how:

  1. Select the cell(s) that is/are to be moved or copied.
  2. Point to the border of the selection and press and hold down both ALT and the mouse button. (Hold down both ALT+CTRL and the mouse button to copy rather than move.)
  3. Drag the mouse pointer over the desired sheet.
  4. Once the mouse is in the correct location of the new sheet release the mouse button, then ALT (and CTRL if copying).

Mind you, if you've ever accidentally dragged text to a different location, you can turn this feature off. (Now she says.) In Excel 2003 select the Tools menu and click Options. On the Edit tab, clear the "Allow cell drag and drop" check box. In Excel 2007 click the blob in the top left hand corner (AKA the Microsoft Office Button), and then click Excel Options, followed by Advanced. Under Editing options, clear the "Enable fill handle and cell drag-and-drop" check box.