Excel Shortcuts to Copy + Paste Special

In the fast-paced world of finance and investment banking, time is of the essence. Each saved second can significantly impact the efficiency and effectiveness of financial analysis and modeling tasks. Excel shortcuts play a pivotal role here, and mastering them can transform the workflow of finance professionals. In this blog post, we’ll explore the intricacies of copy-and-paste special shortcuts, revealing how they can streamline your processes and enhance your Excel proficiency.


The Power of Copy and Paste Special in Financial Analysis

The copy-and-paste special functions are essential in financial modeling, data analysis, and reporting. Such advanced features enable you to handle and transfer data more sophisticatedly than standard copy-and-paste operations.

Whether you’re looking to paste values, formulas, formats, or transpose data, the paste unique options provide a variety of choices to meet your particular requirements. By utilizing the said functions efficiently, you can save precious time and preserve the accuracy of your financial models.

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Essential Shortcuts for Efficient Data Handling

Let’s hit the basics before jumping to the tricky stuff. Every financial pro needs the following three shortcuts ready to go:

  • Ctrl + C: To Copy
  • Ctrl + V: To Paste
  • Ctrl + X: To Cut

The above shortcuts are essential for quick Excel work. They help move data fast. Large datasets or challenging models? Fast copying cuts down on manual work.

Advanced Shortcuts for Paste Special in Financial Models

Now, let’s dive into some nifty shortcuts great for financial models.

  • Alt + E, S, V: Paste Special Values
  • Alt + E, S, F: Paste Special Formulas
  • Alt + E, S, T: Paste Special Formats

The above shortcuts let you paste specials quickly, with no menu diving. Keeping formulas and formats right when updating data in models is critical. With the ‘Paste Special Values(Alt + E, S, V) shortcut, update numbers without changing formulas. It helps refresh your model while keeping up your hard work.

Similarly, the ‘Paste Special Formulas (Alt + E, S, F) lets you copy-paste formulas and keeps models accurate. This is great for complex models with linked calculations and forecasts.

Lastly, the ‘Paste Special Formats (Alt + E, S, T) quick-applies formats in reports and slides. Copy-pasting formats match data standards, making your work look professional and polished.

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Copy + Paste Special

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Hands-On Practice

After learning about the various copy-and-paste special shortcuts and their applications, it’s time to put your knowledge into practice. Using the sample dataset of company financials, try the following exercises:

  • Update each company’s revenue and net income data using the paste particular values shortcut.
  • Apply consistent formatting to the financial statements using the Paste Special formats shortcut.
  • Transpose the data to create a summary table for comparative analysis.

1. Select the revenue and data. Press Ctrl + C to copy, and then select the target cells in your model. Use the shortcut Alt + E, S, V to paste the values without altering the formulas or formats.

2. Select a cell with the desired formatting. Press Ctrl + C to copy, and select the range you want to format. Use the shortcut Alt + E, S, T to paste the formats.

3. Select the data you want to transpose. Press Ctrl + C to copy. 

4. Right-click on the target cell and select ‘Paste Special’. Choose ‘Transpose’.

The above keyboard shortcuts help users to quickly paste special elements such as values, formulas, and formats in spreadsheets or documents. Using the shortcuts ensures you maintain accuracy and efficiency while promptly updating your data.

While copy-and-paste special shortcuts are handy, there are a few common challenges that finance professionals may encounter. One such issue is reference errors that occur when copying and pasting formulas. When you copy and paste a formula into a new location, Excel automatically adjusts the cell references based on the relative position. However, sometimes, this may lead to incorrect references, especially when working with large or complex models.

To mitigate this issue, it’s essential to double-check your formulas after pasting them to ensure that the references are pointing to the intended cells. Additionally, absolute cell references (placing a “$” symbol before the column and row reference) can help maintain the correct references when copying formulas across different cells.

Another challenge is maintaining formatting consistency when copying and pasting data. Sometimes, pasting data can disrupt the existing formatting, leading to inconsistencies in your reports or models. To avoid this, you can use the paste special formats shortcut (Alt + E, S, T) to apply the desired formatting independently of the data. Alternatively, you can define and use custom cell styles to ensure consistent formatting throughout your workbook.


Excel shortcuts are a game changer in finance. They do more than save time; they keep your models accurate. Above, we showed you how to use the shortcuts in investment banking.

Keep in mind that consistent practice is critical. Incorporate the shortcuts into your daily routine to boost your efficiency and productivity. Continue exploring Excel to develop your abilities further.

For teams aiming to elevate their productivity, Macabacus is our recommended go-to solution. Designed specifically for Microsoft Office, it simplifies formatting, formula auditing, and document consistency. 

So, try the different copy-and-paste special shortcuts in your financial modeling or reporting project. Embrace their efficiency and precision, and watch as your productivity reaches new heights. With Macabacus by your side, you’re ready to conquer complex analysis tasks and excel in your finance career. 

Create Financial Models 10x Faster with Macabacus

Gain access to 100+ shortcuts, formula auditing visualizations, easy Excel-to-PowerPoint linking and productivity tools to help you accelerate financial modeling and presentations.

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