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How to copy vertically and paste horizontally in Excel

Microsoft Excel is a spreadsheet application that allows you to organise data in tabular form. Individual cells are located in vertical columns and horizontal rows. There may be times when you want to switch the columns and rows so the data is displayed in a different way. The easiest way to achieve this is to use the application's "Copy and Paste" function to transpose the columns and rows.

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Columns and rows

The data in an Excel worksheet is displayed in columns and rows. Columns run vertically and by default are identified by letters (A, B, C, etc.). Rows run horizontally and by default are identified by numbers (1, 2, 3, etc.). The area where a column and row intersect is known as a cell. Cells are the parts of the worksheet where data is entered and stored. They are identified by the column and row they belong to. A cell in Column C and Row 3, for example, would be cell C3.

Manual copy and paste

The contents of cells can be copied and pasted much like text in a document. To manually copy cells, click the first cell you wish to copy. Hold the button while dragging the mouse to select cells from the same vertical column. Right-click anywhere in the highlighted area to copy content to the pasteboard. Click in a horizontal column, hold the button and drag the mouse to highlight the same number of cells. Right-click and select "Paste Special." Select "Transpose" to paste the cells horizontally.

Using the ribbon

Select the cells you wish to copy using the mouse then click "Copy" on the "Home" tab. Select the first cell in the horizontal row you wish to paste the content to, then click the arrow below "Paste" on the home tab. This will allow you to access the "Paste Special" menu. Click "Transpose" and the cells from the vertical column will be pasted into a horizontal row.

Special Paste Options

Copying and pasting will usually only move the entire contents of the cell. By using the special paste options you can choose to move cell values, formats or formulas only. Repeat the steps above to copy cells. This time, when you access the "Paste Special" menu, deselect "Paste All" and select "Values," "Formats" or "Formulas" to move only these elements.

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About the Author

Paul Travers has worked as a freelance journalist since 1990. He has worked primarily for "Kerrang!," the U.K.'s leading rock magazine, but he has also published online content and in print publications worldwide, from "MusikExpress" in Germany to "Smash Hits" in Australia. Travers holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and media studies from the University of Central Lancashire.

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