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Cannot Copy or Paste Objects in PowerPoint

This article was previously published under Q124820
Retired KB Content Disclaimer
This article was written about products for which Microsoft no longer offers support. Therefore, this article is offered "as is" and will no longer be updated.
Many of the AutoLayouts for PowerPoint slides include placeholders fortitles, body text, and OLE objects. If you include an empty objectplaceholder in a multiple selection, you can copy the selection to theClipboard, but the Paste and Paste Special commands will be unavailable(dimmed) even though the objects are on the Clipboard.
This problem is caused when you use the Select All command on the Editmenu rather than selecting several objects individually while holding downthe SHIFT key. The Select All command selects the empty placeholders first.PowerPoint assigns special status to the object and the title placeholdersand builds slides from the back of the slide to the front. If theplaceholders have not been filled in, the objects resting in front of themare copied to the Clipboard, but they cannot be pasted.

Sending the empty placeholders to the front does not correct the problem.

Method 1: Use a Copy and Paste Operation

Select each of the objects by holding down the SHIFT key and clickingeach object with the left mouse button. Do not select any emptyplaceholders. Copy the group of objects to the Clipboard and pastethem into the new Slide.

Method 2: Use Send to Back Before You Copy

This method only works with PowerPoint 4.0 for Windows or Macintosh.
  1. Select two of the objects and click Send To Back on the Draw menu.
  2. On the Edit menu, click Select All.
  3. On the Edit menu, click Copy.
You can now paste the objects into other slides. With thismethod, the empty object and title placeholders are also copiedbut without their identifying text. They lose their status asfundamental PowerPoint objects.

Method 3: Fill in the Placeholders

Fill in the placeholders before using the Select All command. Copythe items to the Clipboard, and they will successfully paste.
4.00 4.00a 4.00c mac Object Area 95 7.0

Article ID: 124820 - Last Review: 08/16/2005 16:10:09 - Revision: 2.1

  • Microsoft PowerPoint 95 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft PowerPoint 4.0 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft PowerPoint 4.0a
  • Microsoft PowerPoint 4.0c
  • Microsoft PowerPoint 4.0 for Macintosh
  • kbprb kbusage KB124820