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Monday, November 14th, 2011 by | Filed Under: OpenOffice

If you’ve ever tried to paste text into a spreadsheet then you know that it doesn’t always go as planned.

You paste a list of 4 items into a cell, expecting them to be in 4 different cells… instead you find yourself staring at a list of 4 items in a single cell.

Instead of this:


you got this:


Yeah, I know – not the plan…this time.

Of course, when that is the plan we’ll actually manage to get them into different cells.

Frustrating, to say the least, but we can beat this monster once we know the rules that Calc is using when it pastes.

Basically it comes down to how the cell we paste into is selected.

  • If a cell is selected without an active cursor inside waiting for editing, then you’ll get the items in separate cells.
  • On the other hand, if you’re looking at a cell with a blinking cursor in it, then you’re going to get the entire paste into that one cell.

Once you think about it there is some logic to the situation. A cursor in the cell indicates that you’re looking to input data… all of your pasted information then becomes the data for that cell – you just didn’t have to type it in manually.

At any rate – the presence or absence of a cursor is what causes a difference in the paste behavior so double check and you’ll get the paste right the first time every time.

~ April

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One Response to “ Calc: Pasting Text into One Cell or Many Cells”

  1. Velexia says:

    I am experiencing an issue similar to this, where when copying a list that looks like


    and pasting it into OpenOfficeCalc, or LibreOfficeCalc, it always pastes into a single cell, no matter how the cell(s) is(are) selected.

    My friend does not have this issue on his computers, and I am curious if you know of a solution? I can get it to paste as a list if I Paste Special, Unformatted Text only. I would like to be able to get a list (in separate cells) without having to paste special. Having a ridiculously hard time finding any information on how to fix this.

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