Cannot drag a selection between two Word documents

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Article ID: 293188 - View products that this article applies to.
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In Microsoft Word, when you attempt to drag a selection from one document to a document that is minimized on the taskbar, the minimized document briefly flashes but it does not open. You cannot drop the selection onto it. When you release the mouse button over the minimized document, you receive the following incorrect error message:
You cannot drag an item onto a button on the taskbar.

However, if you do this without releasing the mouse button, the window will open and you can then drag the item into the window.
Therefore, you expect the document window to open when you drag a selection over it.


This behavior occurs if both of the following conditions are true:
  • You drag information from one document to another document that has been minimized to the taskbar.
  • Both documents are open in the same instance of Word.


Use one of the following methods to work around this issue.

Method 1: Use copy and paste

To copy and paste the information, follow these steps:
  1. Copy the information from the first document.
  2. Click the minimized button to open the second document.
  3. Paste the information into the second document.

Method 2: Use a drag-and-drop operation

To drag a selection between open windows in Word, follow these steps:
  1. Word 2002 and Word 2003
    On the Window menu, click Arrange All.

    Word 2007
    On the View tab, click Arrange All in the Window group.
  2. Drag the selection that you want between the open windows.

Method 3: Use separate instances of Word

To open each document in a separate instance of Word, follow these steps:
  1. Close one of the documents.
  2. Minimize Word.
  3. In Windows Vista, click Start
    Collapse this imageExpand this image
    the Start button
    , type winword / in the Start Search box, and then press ENTER.

    In Windows XP and in earlier versions of Windows, click Start, click Run, type winword.exe / in the Run dialog box, and then click OK.

    This starts another instance of Word.
  4. In the new instance of Word, open the document that you closed in step 1.
You can now drag selections from one document to the other document that is minimized on the taskbar.


Microsoft has confirmed that this is a problem in the Microsoft products that are listed in the "Applies to" section.


For more information, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
280590 You are unable to drag information between workbooks in Excel


Article ID: 293188 - Last Review: February 27, 2014 - Revision: 2.0
  • Microsoft Office Word 2007
  • Microsoft Office Word 2003
  • Microsoft Word 2002 Standard Edition
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