This article was previously published under Q214080
When you attempt to copy nonadjacent cell or range selections, you may receive the following error message:
That command cannot be used on multiple selections.
These error messages may occur when your cell or range selections are indifferent columns or different rows. You can, however, copy and paste nonadjacent ranges without getting an error message if your selection contains any of the following:
Multiple rows within the same column, for example, A1, A3, A5.
Multiple columns within the same row, for example, A2, C2, E2.
Multiple rows and columns within the same columns and rows, for example, A1, C1, A3, C3, A5, C5.
When you make a nonadjacent selection and then click Copy on the Edit menu, Excel tries to identify an outline type of the selection.Because Excel "slides" the ranges together and pastes them as a singlerectangle, a contiguous rectangle must remain if the rows and columns inbetween the selected cells are collapsed or set to a size of 0.
For example if you wanted to perform an operation on the following sampledata
A1: 1 B1: C1: 2 A2: B2: C2: A3: 3 B3: C3: 4
because a contiguous rectangle remains if you were to collapse row 2 andcolumn B, you can individually select cells A1, C1, A3, C3 and copy themwithout error. (To make a nonadjacent selection, hold down the CTRL keywhile selecting additional cells or ranges.)
This selection will be pasted as a single rectangle:
A5: 1 B5: 2 A6: 3 B6: 4
However, you cannot add cell B2 to this nonadjacent selection, becauseMicrosoft Excel cannot determine which direction you want the cells toslide. For example, B2 could slide between A1 and A3, C1 and C3, A1 and C1or A3 and C3. This would result in rectangles of varying shapes and sizes.Because you cannot designate how you want the rectangle arranged, Excel returns the error message. In this case, the cell range must be asingle selection, or the cells must be copied individually.
For additional information, please see the following article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
214266 XL2000: Error Message: The Command You Chose Cannot Be Performed with Multiple Selections