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pixiequeen12's avatar

Help: My Microsoft Excel "Paste Special// skip blanks" feature isn't working!

Asked by pixiequeen12 (137 points ) May 28th, 2008

I am trying to paste the values from an entire column into another column that already contains information I want to keep, where information in the latter column corresponds to blank cells in the former. Normally, I would use the gem of a SKIP BLANKS feature, but, for some reason, it isn’t working at all… It is just pasting all of the values, including the blanks, over my second column… TIPS, anyone?

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5 Answers

jlm11f's avatar

this is probably stupid and fairly obvious, but did you try rebooting your Excel and/or your computer? And when you say the feature isn’t working, I assume you mean you check the box for it and yet it just ignores your command? Also, did you try using a brand new spreadsheet and see if the feature is working in that?

pixiequeen12's avatar

Yes! I tried all of the above… and yes, I mean that when I check “Skip Blanks,” it ignores me commands.
Any ideas?

pixiequeen12's avatar

For those interested, I’ve figured it out. It wasn’t skipping the blanks because, although the cells looked blank, the formatting from the info I’d pulled somehow didn’t register them as blank cells. (You can figure this out by highlighting the cells and clicking “count” on the bottom right corner. It should only count cells with information. So if it counts the cells that you deem to be blank, something is wrong.)
If this happens to you, the solution is to sort the cells, highlight all the blanks, and press delete. Then they will be true blanks, and paste special will work properly!

jlm11f's avatar

Cool. sorry i couldn’t help you (i was equally lost). thanks for posting the solution here though!

prasad's avatar

Skip blanks feature works opposite to what we expect it to behave. It skips blanks from the copy area and not the paste area.
For example, you have “1,2,3” in one column and “blank, A, blank” in another, when you copy “1,2,3” and paste it on the other checking the skip blanks checkbox, it will replace all the values.
However, if you copy “blank, A, blank” and paste it on the first column “1,2,3”, it will skip blanks from copy range (blank, A, blank), and will paste only A, so you’ll have the result as “1, A, 3”.

So, the work around is copy what you think as paste and copy paste (with skip blanks) on the other.

Of course, you need to ensure the cells are blank. To do so, you can select your entire range (click in the range and then press ctrl + A), then click “Go To” (ctrl + G), “Go To Special” (alt + S), then blanks (“K”), and hit enter. It will select all the blank cells in the range that selected. Check whether your deemed blank cells are selected or not.

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