I have some CSV data in the clipboard that I'm trying to paste into a Google sheet (Chrome, Windows 7). There isn't really a direct paste option for CSV data (like the "Paste Unformatted Text" option in OpenOffice), but I noticed that sometimes a little clipboard icon appears and if you click it a menu with "split text to columns" comes up.

The problem I'm having is, I don't know how to activate this menu and do the actual paste:

enter image description here

Once I click "split text to columns" a separator selector pops up, then... I don't know what the next step is. Selecting a separator just leaves the pop up on the screen, Ctrl+V doesn't do anything, clicking elsewhere closes it, and I'm not sure how to perform the actual action.

So, two questions:

  1. How do I actually perform this action?
  2. What is it that triggers that little clipboard thing to come up? I can't actually control it, it just sometimes appears on its own.

I'm not looking for other ways to import CSV data, there are other working solutions e.g. saving to a file then importing. I'm specifically wondering about this context menu action.

  • Have you tried simply hitting Enter?
    – ale
    Jul 10, 2016 at 18:21
  • @AlE. Yes. "Enter" when the selector is focused opens the selector. "Enter" when the entire pop-up is focused is a no-op.
    – Jason C
    Jul 10, 2016 at 18:24

1 Answer 1


I took some test CSV data and pasted it into a Google Sheet. When I opened the clipboard and chose "split text to columns", my data was immediately split. There shouldn't be anything else you need to do.

Try with a smaller sub-set of the data.

  • 5
    Oh I see. You paste the unsplit text, and then the clipboard happens, then you choose, and it modifies what you just pasted. Now it's working. What was happening was two things: 1) I didn't notice the clipboard after pasting because it was at some random point about 2/3 down through the data, 2) I actually only saw the clipboard after undoing a paste and so I misinterpreted what its position in the workflow was. Sweet, thanks, your answer gave me the hint I needed to get it working.
    – Jason C
    Jul 10, 2016 at 18:33
  • 1
    (Kind of a weird workflow but at least it works. Extra weird because the "paste X only" options in that pop-up actually apply immediately in the post-undo situation, unlike "split". Oh, Google...)
    – Jason C
    Jul 10, 2016 at 18:37
  • It is a bit odd, but it makes sense to me now. I suppose Google needs to see what the data looks like to determine if it might be CSV, SCSV, TSV, etc. I'm glad I was able to help.
    – ale
    Jul 10, 2016 at 18:38
  • Very weird interaction indeed! After pasting in raw CSV data, look for a clipboard icon that features a dropdown just below your final row. Click Clipboard > "Split text to columns" Jan 28 at 8:43

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