"The information cannot be pasted because the copy area and the paste area are not the same size and shape"

When trying to paste data into Excel, you may run across this error. The most likely cause is that you have selected a group of cells to copy and then when you want to paste, you have selected another group of cells that are not the same cell size. Usually you can get past this error by selecting only a single cell and pasting to that cell. The cell you selected will act as the top-left most cell in the pasted selection, or the top most cell if it’s only a single column of data. However, there is another cause for this error that can be elusive.

Check to make sure that you have not grouped your sheets. There are a couple of ways to tell. First, ungrouped sheets are a different color than the selected, active sheet. In the screenshot below, notice the different color between Sheet1 and the other sheets.

In a grouped set of sheets, notice they are all the same color.

One other way to tell is to look to the top of your workbook. If you see [Group] beside the workbook name, then you know you have grouped sheets. You can’t copy a single cell from a group of sheets and paste to a workbook cell with non grouped sheets. What Excel is trying to do is copy the cells you selected from not one workbook, but from all of the grouped workbooks, as if they were stacked. Then when you select a single cell in an ungrouped workbook, Excel determines that you are trying to paste the grouped cells into a single cell on a single worksheet and says “Nope, can’t fit all of that there!” Imagine trying to fit a single stack of 100 folded towels into a small suitcase and close the lid. It would be impossible.

To group worksheets, select a worksheet and then hold the SHIFT key down and select another worksheet. You can also hold down the CTRL key to do a relative selection (you can pick and choose). When multiple sheets are selected in this manner, the sheets are automatically grouped and the [Group] warning appears at the top of the workbook. You can ungroup the sheets by selecting only one of the worksheets in a grouping and the rest will turn the darker color. You can also right click a group of selected sheets and left click the “Ungroup Sheets” option.



Comments (15)

  1. bill says:

    thanks a million……..been screaming at this for an hour and then all I had to do was un-group the pages!!!!!!!!!!   Fell dumb but happy here at closing time!!

  2. Mahesh Adate says:

    I am working on office migraion from Office 2003 to 2010. I am getting an similar issue as copy area and paste area are not the same size and shape. Please suggest me on recoding to existing as I am beginner. It should work in both office 2003 and Office 2010.

     Thanks In advance.

    Sub OffExp()


       Sheets("Rep Exp").Select

       Dim i As Integer

       Dim j As Integer


       j = ActiveCell.Value

       For i = 0 To j – 1


       ActiveCell.Offset(i, 0).Select

       OffName = ActiveCell.Value

       ActiveCell.Offset(0, 2).Select

       OffSave = ActiveCell.Value

       Workbooks.Open Filename:= _


       Sheets("Block").Visible = True



       Workbooks.OpenText Filename:="E:actuEXP_" + OffName + ".txt", Origin:=437, _

           StartRow:=1, DataType:=xlDelimited, TextQualifier:=xlDoubleQuote, _

           ConsecutiveDelimiter:=False, Tab:=True, Semicolon:=False, Comma:=False _

           , Space:=False, Other:=True, OtherChar:="~", FieldInfo:=Array(Array(1, 1 _

           ), Array(2, 1), Array(3, 1), Array(4, 1), Array(5, 1), Array(6, 1), Array(7, 1), Array(8, 1), _

           Array(9, 2), Array(10, 1), Array(11, 1), Array(12, 1), Array(13, 1), Array(14, 1), Array(15 _

           , 1), Array(16, 1), Array(17, 1), Array(18, 1), Array(19, 1), Array(20, 1), Array(21, 1), _

           Array(22, 1), Array(23, 1), Array(24, 1), Array(25, 1), Array(26, 1)), _



       Firstcell = ActiveCell.Address


       Range(Firstcell, ActiveCell.Offset(0, 13)).Select




       Selection.PasteSpecial Paste:=xlValues, Operation:=xlNone, SkipBlanks:= _

           False, Transpose:=False

       Application.CutCopyMode = False

       Windows("EXP_" + OffName + ".TXT").Activate


       Firstcell = ActiveCell.Address


       Range(Firstcell, ActiveCell.Offset(0, 2)).Select




       Selection.PasteSpecial Paste:=xlPasteFormats, Operation:=xlNone, SkipBlanks:= _

           False, Transpose:=False

       Application.CutCopyMode = False

  3. George says:

    You guys are awesome

  4. Bob Hyatt says:

    One more thing to consider is if you are pasting more than the 65K lines into a .xls file it won't fit. Save as a .xlsm and you'll get 1 million lines that will fit what you need.

  5. John says:

    Thank you. I hadn’t noticed the ‘Group’ setting and once removed I was able to copy and paste.

  6. ML49448 says:

    Brilliant! This would never have occurred to me in a million years!

  7. Andy says:

    Having the same issue, and the grouping is not the cause. Been using Excel for 20 years and never had that trouble before. I guess with this ultra-shiny Office 365, I am destined to bang my head with this kind of crappy issues for hours, each day. Gee, these new program versions are soooo useful! WTF for our company ever migrated to Office 365!?

  8. Andy says:

    in my case it turned out that the excel file version that I was working with caused the problem. I tried saving the file to the latest version. After that I had to (of course!) close and open excel once again, and then the copy paste started working with that file. There is no help resource to guide the user through such obtacles using these kind of makeshift manouvres and work-arounds. If automobiles were manufactured with this quality, the manufacturers would be in jail.

  9. Pooja says:

    Thank you so much… this was so very helpful!

  10. Sheryl says:

    “Andy, thank you so much. The different excel versions was my issue as well!

  11. Lalitha says:

    GOD!! Thanks a lot.

  12. Rob says:

    THANK YOU!!!!

  13. Ray Avila says:

    This is one of those ridiculous behaviours of Excel that MS has singularly failed to deal with – and is symptomatic of how poor they have been. They cannot even fix clear irregularities let alone come up with features people actually want.

    When you copy from one Excel to another session (no stacked sheets) and get this error, most users will correctly hit the Cancel button. But guess what – Excel helpfully (!) thinks "Oh!, tell you what, since you said DON’T paste here, guess what I WILLL paste
    anyway!! Sucker!!. And….. to help you out a bit more, I’ll now evaluate every cell in your sheet to boot! Even though you have turned Auto-Calculate off!".

    Guess what, MS, power-users don’t use Auto-Calculate, and when you evaluate a sheet with hundreds of thousands of formulas in them that people don’t want evaluated, you totally screw up their work. Thanks for nothing.

  14. girish says:

    Thanks a lot. I would never have found this out. Saved my day…Thanks again.

  15. dirtdiver04 says:

    your answers helps me resolve my problem. Thanks a lot!!