How to Use Paste Special in PowerPoint

28 Apr

How to PowerPoint Blog

Paste Special is one of those commands that doesn’t get used a lot in PowerPoint, yet it offers a lot of extra functionality.  Let’s look at some of what you can do with the Paste Special command.

How to PowerPoint - paste special in PowerPoint

Below I added a bunch of information from the Microsoft site with a link.  If you are inclined to learn everything about Paste Special, have at it.  For those looking for the nuts and bolts, here it is.

You can copy Excel data and charts from Excel and paste that into your PowerPoint slide.  I’ll cover that in a future tutorial.  For today, we’ll focus on objects and graphics.

When you copy an object it gets placed on the clipboard.  This allows you to paste the object copied.  However, by selecting Paste Special, you can paste the object and apply some other features.

How to PowerPoint - paste special choices in PowerPoint

One of the reasons I use Paste Special is to create a graphic in PowerPoint and then copy and paste it as an image so that I can use the object as an image rather than as a PowerPoint object. 

A good example of this might be when I want to use the picture effects with something I created in PowerPoint.  By copying and Paste Special I can convert the PowerPoint object to an image file on the fly.  This is a big time saver.

To learn more about Paste Special, check out the quick tutorial.

PowerPoint Tutorial

Click here to view the PowerPoint tutorial.

Microsoft Office Help

Here’s some detailed information from the Microsoft site.  It explains Paste Special in detail.

You can specify formatting when you paste slides, pictures, objects, and text from other presentations, programs, or the Web into your presentation.

For example, like pictures and other objects, text in a presentation has its own formatting — such as typeface, color, and font size. When you copy text that has different formatting into your presentation, PowerPoint automatically reformats that text to match the text in your presentation. However, you can use Paste Special to maintain the original formatting.

Note   If you want to display Microsoft Office Excel data, charts, or graphs in your PowerPoint slides, see the articles, Copy Excel data or charts to PowerPoint and Use charts and graphs in your presentation.

  1. Cut or copy the slide, picture, text, or object (object: A table, chart, graphic, equation, or other form of information. Objects created in one application, for example spreadsheets, and linked or embedded in another application are OLE objects.) that you want to paste.
  2. On the Home tab, in the Clipboard group, click the arrow under Paste, click Paste Special, and then do one of the following:
    • To specify the format that you want to paste the slide, text, or object as, click Paste, and then use the table below to select a format from the Use this format list.
    • To add a hyperlink to a separate document or presentation, click Paste Link.

      Note   The Paste Link option is unavailable if you cut or copied content from a document that does not support the Paste Link option, or if the document that you are attempting to link to has not been saved.

Use this format


Formatted Text You want the text to retain the formatting of the text from the other presentation, program, or Web page.

Note   When you copy text from another presentation, the Web, or a different program (that has different formatting) into to your presentation, by default, that text is automatically reformatted to match the text in your presentation.

Unformatted Text You want the text to take on the formatting of the presentation you are pasting to.
Microsoft Office Drawing Object You want the contents of the Clipboard to appear as a Microsoft Office drawing object (drawing object: Any graphic you draw or insert, which can be changed and enhanced. Drawing objects include AutoShapes, curves, lines, and WordArt.) in your presentation.
Picture (GIF) You want the contents of the Clipboard to appear as a Graphics Interchange Format (GIF) (GIF: A graphics file format (.gif extension in Windows) used to display indexed-color graphics on the World Wide Web. It supports up to 256 colors and uses lossless compression, meaning that no image data is lost when the file is compressed.) picture.

The GIF file format is limited to 256 colors, and is therefore most effective for scanned images, such as illustrations, and less effective for color photographs. GIF is also a good file format for line drawings, black and white images, small text that is only a few pixels high, and animation.

Picture (JPEG)

You want the contents of the Clipboard to appear as a Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG) (JPEG: A graphics file format (.jpg extension in Microsoft Windows) supported by many Web browsers that was developed for compressing and storing photographic images. It’s best used for graphics with many colors, such as scanned photos.) picture.

The JPEG file format supports 16 million colors and is best suited for photographs and complex graphics.

Picture (PNG)

You want the contents of the Clipboard to appear as a Portable Network Graphics (PNG) (PNG: A graphic file format that is supported by some Web browsers. Short for Portable Network Graphics, PNG supports variable transparency of images and control of image brightness on different computers. PNG files are compressed bitmaps..) picture in your presentation.

The PNG file format is similar to GIF but it provides better color support. It compresses solid areas of color while preserving sharp detail, such as the detail in line art, logos, or illustrations with text.

You can save, restore, and resave a PNG image without degrading its quality. Unlike GIF files, PNG does not support animation, and some older Web browsers and applications do not support PNG.

Picture (Windows Metafile)

You want the contents of the Clipboard to appear as a Windows Metafile Format (WMF) (Windows Metafile Format (WMF): A vector graphics format for Windows-compatible computers used mostly as a clip art format in word-processing documents.) picture.

You can save a picture as a 16-bit graphic (for use with Windows 3.x and later).

Picture (Enhanced Metafile)

You want the contents of the Clipboard to appear as an Enhanced Metafile (EMF) format.

You can save a picture as a 32-bit graphic, which supports more sophisticated graphics functions.

Device Independent Bitmap

You want the contents of the Clipboard to appear as a Device Independent Bitmap (DIB), such as a slide acting as a graphic for use on Web pages.

A DIB is a representation (that consists of rows and columns of dots) of a graphics image in computer memory. The value of each dot (filled in or not) is stored in one or more bits of data.


You want the contents of the Clipboard to appear as a bitmap (bitmap: A picture made from a series of small dots, much like a piece of graph paper with certain squares filled in to form shapes and lines. When stored as files, bitmaps usually have the extension .bmp.).

The Microsoft Windows BMP format can display millions of colors. Because it is supported by several programs, it is an extremely practical file format to use when you are providing an image to someone who may not have the program in which you created the image.

To paste the content as an Object Linking and Embedding (OLE) (OLE: A program-integration technology that you can use to share information between programs. All Office programs support OLE, so you can share information through linked and embedded objects.) PowerPoint application icon (rather than pasting the actual content), select the Display as icon check box. You can click the icon to open the application, and then view the content.

Note   The Display as icon check box is only available if you use Paste Link or if you paste the content as an OLE object. You can then can change the icon for the content that you pasted.

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