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I have one spreadsheet in Google Docs with data like:


I wanna paste in another Google Doc Spreadsheet but when I use ctrl+c ctrl+v the data is formatted like numbers:


I want conserve the string format.

With right-click copy-paste I can't copy between spreadsheets.

Tested in Firefox and Chromium.

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Very strange... Edit>Copy and Edit>Paste do not actually copy/paste anything between spreadsheets! Yet the keyboard shortcuts Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V (which are allocated to these menu items) do copy the values, but lose all formatting! – w3dk Aug 24 '12 at 10:15
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Place a single quote (') in front of the zeros before you copy the cells.

If you need to apply this to lots of cells, set the contents of one cell to ' and use CONCAT to populate a new column with the ' and the cell contents.

If A1 is ' and the values you want to copy start in B1:

Set C1 to =CONCAT($A$1, $B1) and fill the formula down.

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I had a similar problem and found a good solution.

Copy the table to some simple text editor that supports regex. I used notepad++. Then insert the decimal separator before the numbers. Then you can copy the table to the spreadsheet.

E.g. if you have 3 digits without a decimal separator in front, you search replace using (\d\d\d) and .\1.

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The only workaround I see: press ' before pasting. It will preserve string format.

Pasting in the same spreadsheet preserves formatting. Pasting into another, says Pasting from web clipboard...

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  1. copy the cells using Ctrl+C

  2. go to the target spreadsheet

  3. highlight the cells you want to paste them on

  4. go to FORMAT > NUMBERS > and click PLAIN TEXT at the bottom (this formats the cells to text fields before you paste)

  5. paste using Ctrl+V on the cells

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This don't work, neither Firefox nor Chromium – Andrés Ricardo Torres Martínez Oct 26 '12 at 14:10

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