It looks like a simple task – filter a list, so you an see the items you’re interested in. Then, copy data from one column, and paste it into another. But you can have a serious problem pasting in Excel filtered list.
Problem Pasting in Excel Filtered List
Pasting data into a filtered list can quickly turn into a big mess, and you’ll end up overwriting some of your data.
In the screen shot below, I selected 5 cells in column B, and pasted them into the same rows in column E. However, only 2 of the dates were pasted.
Find the Missing Data
What happened to the other 3 dates that I pasted? When I cleared the filter on the list, I could see that all 5 dates were there. They weren’t pasted into the visible rows though – they were pasted into a block of 5 cells, starting with cell E6, where I pasted the data.
In those 5 cells, only two were chocolate chip orders, so those are the only two that I saw, when the list was filtered.
Yikes! I hit the Undo button, immediately, to get the original data back.
Do you have the same problem pasting in Excel filtered lists?
Why does Excel copy the individual, visible cells in a filtered list, then crush our dreams, by pasting them into a contiguous block?
I’d like the option to paste into visible rows, or have that automatically happen, if the list is filtered. Please and thanks!
Workarounds for Pasting
Even though I’ve asked nicely, Microsoft probably won’t be able to fix this problem pasting in excel filtered list by tomorrow. Or ever.
So, to avoid overwriting your data, be sure that you’re not pasting anywhere that rows are hidden. Here are a couple of workarounds that I use:
- You could clear any filters, and sort by a column that will bring the rows of interest together. Then do the copying and pasting, while no rows are hidden.
- To copy the selected items into the same rows, in a nearby column, use the Fill Right or Fill Left shortcut. I've made a video that shows how this works. Thanks to Khushnood Viccaji for sharing that tip in the comments below.
- For filters that are more complex, where you can’t do a simple filter to bring the rows together, you could insert a temporary column, and mark the rows, as shown in the screen shot below. Then, clear the filters, sort the temporary column, and copy and paste in the marked rows.
- The Paste Buddy add-in, from Excel Campus, has a Paste Visible feature that lets you paste the copied data into the visible cells only.
Video: Problem Pasting in Excel Filtered List
Watch this video to see why you have a problem pasting in Excel filtered list, and a couple of workarounds, to help you avoid the problem.
Download the Sample File
To download the sample file for this video, go to the AutoFilter Tips page on my Contextures website. The file is in xlsx format, and does not contain macros.