Software

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!

About

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.

10 comments
lkopp123
lkopp123

Love your how to articles, but CTRL+F3 is much harder than using the enhanced clipboard because it cuts the text. Here is my suggestion for Word 2010: 1. Click the Home tab 2. Click the drop arrow beside Clipboard (far left on Home Row) 3. Now when you Copy or CTRL+C, the text is loaded on the task pane 4. To load a text block back into the text, click the block in the task pane 5. If you want everything in the task pane, click the Paste All button pane Work smarter, not harder!

ginmemphis
ginmemphis

I've used Spike for years, and for me it's more useful than Ctrl+C for collecting non-consecutive pieces from a long document -- I don't have to keep track of selections, it stays saved until inserted, and if I get interrupted I don't accidentally copy over it in another app. I recommend adding Spike & Insert Spike to the Quick Access ribbon. (This points to one of the things I hate about Word 2010: I learned about Spike in Word XP, when I could browse through commands and it would show a description. Now you have to guess what a command means, and you cannot add/create an icon -- if you're lucky you get a little green dot.)

Iris C S
Iris C S

The easier way described by" yourwork" is truly the easier way. Thanks for offering this alternative.

mkarklins
mkarklins

When you close out of Word and come back in Spike still has the information. Clipboard would have emptied it. This could be useful to some people.

sharon.huffman
sharon.huffman

Same as yourwork explained, but in Step #3 while still holding down the Ctrl key tap the C key, move to new file and tap the V key to paste. Either way works the same and definitely does NOT cut the text like the original instructions.

yourwork
yourwork

There is an easier way to do this. 1. Select the first block of text that you want to copy: 2. Hold down the Ctrl key and select each successive block that you want to copy without letting go of the Ctrl key 3. When you have selected all of the text needed then let go of the Ctrl key, RIGHT mouse button click and select copy from the drop down menu, move ov er to your new file and right mouse button click again and select paste. It seems a lot in the telling but it really isn't, just give it a try and see the results. Good luck with it, you'll like it, I promise.

simonh
simonh

Certainly a useful feature but is it not just a little strange that it would be so obscure with such awkward keystrokes. Also the fact that it cuts and then requires an undo etc. Almost seems like an accidental 'feature' that was once a bug and has been carried forward in subsequent revisions?

andy.mead
andy.mead

Could be very useful. Thanks. [Ctrl]+[F3] seems to cut not copy to the spike. Is there a keystroke for copy?

kozmo_kramer
kozmo_kramer

I have 25 passages to select over 23 pages in a Word doc. Using Ctrl-key, I have the first 5 selected, the phone rings, my boss. I have to answer it. Need to take notes. Oops, now I need to start my copying over. With Spike it is still there and I just continue after my conversation with the boss. Or I get to passage 19 and my finger slips off the control key, maybe I can salvage that work or maybe not. Spike keeps the copies for me until I want or need to insert them. When asked, don't save the changes to the document that has been cut from...easy. My job requires cutting, copying and pasting hundreds of passages a day. Spike works for me. BUT Ctrl-key might be better for you. Thanks for another viewpoint.

cpet
cpet

This is great but... is not only easier on the hand, it is easier to remember. WIth Ctrl select, why bother with Spike?

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