Tip of the week # 465
6 November 2015

Keep the column width when pasting (Microsoft Excel) *

When you copy and paste data from one spot to the other you might sometimes end up with the column width being all over the place. Perhaps you even only see hash marks instead of the cell contents. You probably know how to adjust the column width, but did you know it is very easy to keep the same measurements when you paste?

Here's how:

  1. Copy and paste the data, as normal. (CTRL + C and CTRL + V, I hope ;)
  2. Press CTRL to open the Paste Options button (or click on it, if you must ;)
  3. Press W to select the Keep Source Column Widths option or use the arrows on your keyboard to flick through the various paste options.

There are obviously other ways to do this, but I like you to explore faster ways of doing your day-to-day tasks and break free from old habits developed in previous versions of Microsoft Office.

By the way, if you do only see hash marks instead of the cell contents, as mentioned in the first paragraph, it means the column is too narrow to display its content. Simply, hover your mouse pointer to the right of the column heading you want to resize and double-click when it becomes a double-headed arrow.

* Unless stated otherwise, these tips were written for Microsoft Office 2010.