5 Ways to Clear the Clipboard in Microsoft Excel

Do you want to clear the clipboard in Excel?

When you copy or cut data in Excel, that data is temporarily stored on the clipboard. The Excel clipboard will also show data from other programs that you copy or cut.

This allows you to paste the stored data later on and will even give you access to more than the last item copied. This way, you can copy multiple items before pasting them.

The clipboard will save all the items you’ve cut or copied even when it’s closed. Because of this, you might want to first clear all the clipboard contents before you intentionally start using them. This way, you only end up pasting the relevant items.

You might also find you need to clear out the clipboard because you’ve collected too many items which can result in an error that says your clipboard is full.

The Excel clipboard is a handy tool for moving data around your sheets, and understanding how it works can help you work more efficiently.

This post is going to show you how to remove all the items stored in the clipboard.

Clear the Clipboard from the Home Tab

In order to clear the clipboard in Excel, you will first need to open it.

It’s a bit hidden and not entirely obvious how to open it. But it can be found in the Home tab.

Clear All Items from the Clipboard

Here’s how to clear the clipboard from the Home tab.

  1. Go to the Home tab.
  2. Click on the Launch icon in the lower right corner of the Clipboard section.

This will open up the Clipboard menu on the left side of the worksheet. Here you can see all the items you’ve recently copied or cut in Excel as well as other programs.

📝 Note: Items that you’ve copied or cut in Excel will show an Excel icon on the left whereas items copied from other programs will show a different icon.

  1. Press the Clear All button.

That’s it! All the items in your clipboard will be cleared out and you can start with an empty clipboard for your work.

Clear Individual Items from the Clipboard

You don’t need to clear all the items from your clipboard. It is possible to delete individual items from the clipboard.

When you hover the cursor over each item in the Clipboard, you will see a dropdown handle icon on the right side. Click on the dropdown and then select the Delete option to remove the item from the clipboard.

This is a great way to remove just a few items from a long list in the clipboard.

Clear the Clipboard with a Keyboard Shortcut

There isn’t a keyboard shortcut that will directly clear the clipboard. But you can open the Clipboard menu with a keyboard shortcut.

You can use the Alt hotkeys to access the clipboard launch icon. Press Alt, then press H, F, and O in sequence and this will open up the Clipboard menu on the left side of the worksheet.

The easiest way to open the Clipboard menu is to enable the Copy Twice shortcut from within the Clipboard menu Options.

Click on the Options button at the bottom of the Clipboard menu and check the Show Office Clipboard When Ctrl + C Pressed Twice option from the menu. If this has a green checkmark to the left, then it means the option is enabled.

Now when you press Ctrl + C twice in a row, the Clipboard menu will automatically open!

After the Clipboard menu is open you can click on the Clear All button using the mouse. But it is possible to access the Clear All command without the mouse if you want to continue using the keyboard.

Press the F6 key until the focus is on the Clipboard pane. You might need to press F6 a few times before you get into the Clipboard pane.

Once the focus is on the Clipboard pane, you can press the Tab key to cycle between the buttons in the pane until the focus is on the Clear All button.

Now press the Enter key and the clipboard will be cleared!

Clear the Clipboard with VBA

Clearing the clipboard can be done with VBA and it requires a single line of code.

Application.CutCopyMode=False

The above line of code will clear all the items from the Excel clipboard.

If you are creating a macro that does a large number of copy-and-paste actions, you can add this line after each paste command to clear out the clipboard.

You could also create a procedure with this single line of code. Then you could add the macro to the quick access toolbar to easily run it from anywhere!

Clear the Clipboard from the Taskbar

It is possible to clear the clipboard while the Clipboard menu is closed. But first, you will need to enable the option to show the Office clipboard in the taskbar.

Open the Clipboard menu then click on the Options button and check the Show Office Clipboard Icon on Taskbar option from the menu.

This will add a small Clipboard icon into the Windows Taskbar area. It might be added to the hidden icons which can be accessed from the Chevron icon.

Now you can right-click on the Office Clipboard icon and select the Clear All option from the menu to clear all items in the clipboard. This will work regardless if the Clipboard menu in Excel is open or not!

Clear the Clipboard by Closing Excel

It’s worth noting the contents of the clipboard aren’t saved anywhere other than Excel’s virtual memory when it’s running.

When you close Excel, the contents of the clipboard will disappear.

This means you can clear the clipboard by simply closing the Excel app.

Conclusions

The clipboard is a very useful feature that allows you to copy multiple items at a time and later paste them into the sheet.

You may run into errors when the clipboard becomes full. Because of this, you might need to clear the clipboard to copy more items.

Clearing the clipboard is easy and can be done from the Clipboard menu, with a keyboard shortcut, with VBA, from the Windows Taskbar, or even just by closing Excel.

Did you know how to clear the clipboard in Excel? Let me know in the comments section below!

About the Author

John MacDougall

John MacDougall

John is a Microsoft MVP and qualified actuary with over 15 years of experience. He has worked in a variety of industries, including insurance, ad tech, and most recently Power Platform consulting. He is a keen problem solver and has a passion for using technology to make businesses more efficient.

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