If I copy text with a line break in it, like this:

1st line
2nd line

and then paste in into a Google Sheets cell, then it pastes '2nd line' into the cell below.

What are the ways to avoid this?

  • Pasting into a single cell is the default now in 2024. How do I paste into multiple cells?
    – overdriven
    Commented May 18 at 13:36

8 Answers 8


Select the cell you wish to paste into, then press F2 and it will allow you to paste the text in without separating the line breaks into their own cells.


Based on http://productforums.google.com/forum/#!category-topic/docs/formatting/-uEh3jguVu0 you can " copy the info single cell by single cell and paste the information in edit mode of the receiving cell; i,e. double-click the cell first before you paste the single cell contents". Though this is hardly 'easy' so there may be a better answer out there...


You can quote the multiple-line contents with " now.

The quotation makes the pasting of a list of multiple-line contents so easy.

  • 2
    And what if the data already contains quotes? This is ridiculous. The cell contents should be preserved with line breaks. It is simply incorrectly functioning. Google Sheets is assuming some kind of text/CSV format for pasted cells, when in reality it should be honoring the source format. This also poses a problem for copying/pasting cells that are supposed to have quotes around them... Google Sheets unexpectedly strips off the quotes. It's absolutely incorrectly functioning and it needs fixed as of Apr 10, 2015.
    – Triynko
    Commented Apr 10, 2015 at 19:34
  • thanks! works perfect when pasting some csv(tabbed) lines with multi-line text in one column Commented Sep 10, 2015 at 17:06
  • @Triynko Yes this is a very broken mechanism in Google Sheets Commented Aug 30, 2022 at 3:06
  • @Triynko Double up the quotes. stackoverflow.com/questions/73791207
    – TheMaster
    Commented Sep 20, 2022 at 19:59

An alternative to double clicking / pressing F2 on a cell is to paste the text into the formula window (next to "fx" above the sheet).

Note that neither this nor other methods described will preserve formatting (font color, font face, etc), which may or may not be a plus.


This drove me crazy until I accidentally got my list to paste properly.

You have to double or triple click in the target cell so that the cursor appears. Then you can paste a list with line breaks into a cell in a Google spreadsheet.

I realize this was asked a year ago but my first search brought me to this post so I thought I'd share.

  • 5
    Isn't this essentially what the other answer says?
    – ale
    Commented Jun 4, 2013 at 19:02
  • Actually several other answers say this Commented Aug 30, 2022 at 3:06

Update as of January 2016: Right click and Paste Special > Paste Values Only. Bam!

  • 1
    This may only be for the "new" Google Sheets. I don't know if everyone is fully migrated over.
    – ale
    Commented Jan 12, 2016 at 19:44
  • 2
    This makes that each line be pasted in a new rows, not in the same cell. Commented Jan 12, 2016 at 20:12
  • This is exactly what I was looking for and expecting (put each line in new cell).
    – lenooh
    Commented Jun 5, 2019 at 13:33
  • That's the opposite of the OP's question Commented Aug 30, 2022 at 3:07

I have managed to "solve" this. Pasting line by line is not the solution of course.

The problem was the browser in my case, my friend who was using Mozilla had this problem. I was using Google Chrome and it worked fine for me. After he tried on Google Chrome, it worked for him too.

  • 1
    How is this answer to the question?
    – serenesat
    Commented Jan 28, 2016 at 15:46
  • @serenesat: It's not uncommon for a web app to have a slightly different behavior depending on browser and even OS. The vagaries of having browsers with different interpretations of standards and non-standard features. For those with easy access to multiple browsers, this seems like a viable solution to me.
    – ale
    Commented Jan 28, 2016 at 17:11

I faced this same problem today, and I used the contextual option of 'Paste Format' and it worked perfectly for me!


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