You cannot paste any attributes into a workbook in another instance of Excel

Applies to: Excel 2013Excel 2010Microsoft Office Excel 2007 More


Consider the following scenario:
  • You run two instances of Microsoft Excel. 

    Note To force Excel to open in a second instance, press Alt, and then click the Excel icon.
  • You open a workbook in each instance of Excel.
  • Then, you intend to use the following Paste Special menu command to paste attributes from a cell in one workbook to a cell in the other workbook:

In this scenario, you cannot paste any attributes into the other workbook. The Excel Paste Special dialog box does not appear. Instead, the following Windows Paste Special dialog box appears: 

Therefore, you cannot select any one of the following options: 
  • Formulas
  • Values
  • Formats
  • Comments
These options appear only in the Excel Paste Special dialog box.


This behavior occurs because Excel cannot use its internal copying functionality when you run multiple instances of Excel. Instead, Excel relies on the Windows Paste Special dialog box for its copying functionality. When you run a single instance of Excel, Excel uses its internal copying functionality. Therefore, the Excel Paste Special dialog box is available in this situation.  


To work around this behavior, open both workbooks in the same instance of Excel.