Use Spike to copy multiple blocks of Word text or graphics

In Word, the Clipboard has an extended feature named Spike. Use Spike to copy multiple blocks of text to the Clipboard and then paste them all at once.

Spike is a Clipboard feature available in Word that lets you copy multiple selections of content to the Clipboard and then paste them as a group to a new location. It's easy to use and allows for a bit more flexibility when the need arises. You can use it in most any document, and it works with text and graphics, as follows:

  • Use [Ctrl]+[F3] to copy text and graphics to the Clipboard.
  • Use [Ctrl]+[Shift]+[F3] to paste the contents of Spike. (This process also clears Spike's content.)

We'll use the document below to illustrate how easy this feature is to use:

  1. Select the Galleries heading and press [Ctrl]+[F3].
  2. Select the Formatting paragraph (not the heading) and press [Ctrl]+[F3].
  3. Now, open a new document by pressing [Ctrl]+N.
  4. Press [Ctrl]+[Shift]+[F3] to copy both copied blocks into the blank document.

This feature copied both the heading and the paragraph of text to a new document with one pasting task. Imagine how much time you could save if you needed to copy many components!

This technique can have a downside, however, depending on how you look at it. When you copy text or graphics using Spike, you cut, not copy, the content from the source document. That might not be what you want. Fortunately, after pressing [Ctrl]+[F3] to copy text, you can press [Ctrl]+Z to undo the cut, without removing the content from Spike.

Pasting clears Spike, but you can paste its contents without clearing it, by doing the following:

  1. Type spike
  2. Press [F3].

Or, paste Spike content using the AutoText feature, as follows in Word 2010:

  1. Click the Insert tab.
  2. Click the Quick Parts option in the Text group.
  3. Choose AutoText and the Spike content will be at the bottom of the list.

In Word 2003, do the following:

  1. Choose AutoText from the Insert menu.
  2. Choose AutoText.
  3. Click the AutoText tab and you'll find Spike in the Enter AutoText entries.

Both paste techniques will paste Spike's contents without clearing it!


Susan Sales Harkins is an IT consultant, specializing in desktop solutions. Previously, she was editor in chief for The Cobb Group, the world's largest publisher of technical journals.

Editor's Picks