Excel Yourself: Take control of your mouse (part 2)

Excel Yourself

Copying is one of the most common tasks in Excel.

Excel has an arrow-crosshair mouse cursor, shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1

Figure 1

This cursor becomes visible when pointing to the border of the selected cell or range.

This cursor allows you to use the mouse to drag and drop to cut and paste. Cutting and pasting in Excel can lead to #REF! errors, so you need to be careful whenever doing it.


What many people are unaware of is that you can hold down the Ctrl key when dragging with the arrow-crosshair cursor to copy and paste, instead of cut and paste. This technique will work with other cursor shapes as well.

You can tell that something different is going to happen because the small plus sign is displayed next to the cursor. See Figure 2

Figure 2

Figure 2

The beauty of this technique is that it applies to virtually everything in Excel.

It even works in the other Office packages. You can copy charts, images, text boxes, and even sheets with this technique. It can also copy sheets between files.


Where you would use the mouse to drag something to move it, try holding down the Ctrl key whilst doing the same thing and see what happens.

You don’t even need to hold the Ctrl key all the time. You only need to hold it down just before you release the mouse. 

Neale Blackwood CPA runs A4 Accounting, providing Excel training, webinars and consulting services.


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