Monday, January 05, 2009

Excel 2007 'Cannot empty the Clipboard'

This might save somebody some time and headaches if google picks it up. I was getting a 'Cannot empty the Clipboard' error every time I moved cells around in Excel - eventually I mucked around with the settings and made it go away. Here's how; In the excel main menu (glass globe w/logo), click Excel options, then Advanced, then turn off 'Show paste options buttons'

How exciting was this as my first post of the year?

Update: I still haven't found a permanent solution but I found another thing that seems to help. In Excel 2007, from the "home" tab, the first thing on the left is the clipboard tool panel. Expand the panel to view the clipboard and in the clipboard you might find "cannot empty clipboard" as an entry. Empty the clipboard, keep the panel open for a second or two while you do a few cut and pastes/drags etc. and then the bogey seems to go away.

I call this the cable dance because back in the day I had a printer that only worked if you unplugged the cable, shook it out and plugged it back in.

71 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you! audit time at my company and this just made my day.

Anonymous said...

Didn't work

John said...

Thanks! Working well so far. Had to shut down all open copies of Excel (also shutdown all office products just to be safe). Great tip. At 12:25am, I wasn't in the mood to deal with this problem. I appreciate the post.

Anonymous said...

Click Excel options, then Advanced, then clear all three boxes. I found that any one of them can cause this trouble.

sanj said...

After a couple of months, it comes back erratically so I have to switch the three boxes on/off until it goes away.

Anonymous said...

Dude! This saved my bacon today. You rock!! Thanks for sharing with the group.

Anonymous said...

Thank youuuuuuuu!!!!!!!!! Finally I can cut again!!!! :D You changed my life! :* AQ

Joe said...

Unfortunately, unchecking those boxes did not work for me. However, I found that the clipboard service was disabled. I had to start two other processes (Network DDM x2) in order to start it but that worked.

sanj said...

Joe, oddly enough I don't have any of those services on my Vista box so I couldn't try it. I haven't figured out yet how to get rid of this permanently.

Anonymous said...

None of this worked for me, but then the problem disappeared when I closed my VNC session.

Anonymous said...

Thanks dude...I was about to throw my computer through the frakkin' window...

Anonymous said...

You little beauty!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thanks!

Anonymous said...

This problem occurred for me whenever I was running a VNC viewer.

Since TightVNC allows copy-paste between host and target, it seems Excel couldn't fully access the clipboard and this causes the errors.

Anonymous said...

If you are using GoToMyPC, you may have the same problem as reported with TightVNC. If so, just go to the GoToMyPC Tools menu, choose Preferences, choose Viewer, and uncheck the "Copy/paste between computers". (Until the next time you want to copy and paste between computers, that is.)

Anonymous said...

Sort of worked for me - maybe because I'm using 07 on a VM. The annoying message still shows up, but I can copy/paste.

Donna said...

None of these things worked for me. XP running Office 2007. PASTE is grayed out. I can copy/paste. Clipboard looks empty. any ideas?

Anonymous said...

That didn't work for me but I found another trick that did. Open an excel file and Ctrl+Alt+Delete and do End Task on Excel...this will shut down excel. When you relaunch Excel it will recover your file - open the clipboard and clear it, close the file and the bug should be gone. This worked for me when nothing else would.

PeterSchiffWasRight said...
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PeterSchiffWasRight said...
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slashfour said...

Start your RPC Locator. Done.

Anonymous said...

It works great, thank you :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much! What a life-saver!

HARIHAR said...

None of the these solutions works, may be its a great bug in microsoft....

Anonymous said...

Well done dude. Thanks a lot!

Anonymous said...

This worked for me ... partly. I still get the error message about 1/4 of the time now. But get this: It ONLY happens when I have a web browser open! Firefox or IE, doesn't matter, either one causes this issue to happen about 1/4 of the time I drag and drop or do other formatting in Excel. Close my browser and the problem goes away. It is so weird. But it definitely is related somehow, in some strange way, at least on my system, to having a web browser open. Odd, odd, odd....

Anonymous said...

The first option worked for me. Many thanks!

Anonymous said...

VNC is the culprit for me. Is there a way to turn off the clipboard sharing? I'm using RealVNC, and I do all of my data transfer using WinSCP anyway.

Anonymous said...

I have the same 'Cannot empty the Clipboard'.

The problem only occurs with Mozilla Firefox running.If I close Firefox, the problem goes away.

There are no problems if I have Internet Explorer running.

My simple solution is just to close Mozilla when I am in Excel.

Anonymous said...

Closing Firefox worked for me! Many thanks!

Anonymous said...

Well , many than's to everyone!!!
2 weeks im trying to solve this stupid think!!!
Well IE is for the baza as we say here in Greece!!!
If i'll close IE everything works just fine!!! Now i have to figure out why IE cause this problem!!! But always we have Firefox !!!!

Jurgen said...

I found a solution for this problem (well it worked for me anyways). Close all open programs (very important) and then click START > RUN. Type in " %temp% " (excluding the ") and delete all the files (or as many as you can). This fixed my "can not empty clipboard" error in Excel 2010 and now I can slowly recover my sanity. Hope this helps.

Patrick said...

I use Google Chrome and read the entry about closing your web browser. Yep, worked for me.

That's ridiculous, not entirely sure how they are related but they are. Argh.

Thanks for the tips

Patrick said...

A point of interest, I restarted Chrome to write the previous post and tried out Cut & Paste in Excel to see what would happen, and, it worked just fine.

Doesn't make sense to me.

Anonymous said...

Good call - worked for me....was driving me nuts. I saw the options you referenced, but didn't uncheck them - I did and it works.

Anonymous said...

None of these solutions worked for me. Closed firefox, nothing. Ctrl+Alt+Delete while Excel open, nothing. Tried to do the fix in services, nothing. rdclip.exe not showing up in tasks. Outlook not open so not an issue. Don't use Google chrome or any of the other apps listed so those obviously not at fault.

The problem occurs ONLY with Excel. When I start copying/pasting to and from cells, _always_ somehow locks up or disables the clipboard within a few of these actions. COPY and PASTE get greyed out of _all_ Windows apps.

When I open the clipboard viewer the cursor goes crazy and can't access anything. It's as if something goes into a never ending loop.

The only thing that has ever restored clipboard functionality to all of my windows apps after this is a complete reboot.

This has gone on now for a couple of years with Excel 2003. Don't recall ever having had this problem with any earlier version.

I've done several hours of googling and reading and no fix has ever worked.

Anyone know what's up with this, and a proper fix?

Anonymous said...

Sweet! Worked for me :-D

Anonymous said...

I found that closing IE made it go away. Opened IE and probelm returned. Disabled some IE Add-ons and it went away. Enabled the add-ons and it did not return, so not sure which one was the culprit. I turned off all unneeded add-ons to be safe.

No Smoking Chik said...

Thank you - this was making me mental!!

Cori said...

I fixed this by disabling the Skype plugin in Firefox. Problem solved!

Anonymous said...

I disabled the Skype plugin in Google Chrome and that fixed the issue when nothing else would!!! Thank you all sooooo much, I was about to punch my computer...

Mark Bolin said...

Thank you. Worked so far

Anonymous said...

Skype plugin for IE and/or Firefox was causing this for me - as soon as I removed it, all was back to normal.

I remember this addon caused me grief about 5 years ago as well. Can remember what it was, but again, as soon as I disables it, my problems were fixed

Anonymous said...

Skype was the issue for me also. I had it installed on Chrome. I've removed it and by magic the error dissapeared!

Anonymous said...

got rid of this annoying message by closing firefox.then started firefox again, and the problem did not re-occur. hope it stays that way!

Anonymous said...

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! This has been driving me nuts.

Anonymous said...

Those using VNC/RDP/ may experience this message since the clipboard is sometimes automatically shared acorss the multiple remote platforms.

Another culprit: I use a third party multiple clipart tool to remember 10-12 previous entries, and I suspect it also triggers this error when dragging cells around.

Just a few other thougths to keep in mind.

Anonymous said...

THANKS SOOOOOOOOOOOOO MUCH - this was driving me CRAZY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
:)
:)
:)
:)

Nick said...

Disabling the Skype plugin in Firefox (then restarting firefox) cured it for me today. Thank you very much. I'll report back if it reappears though!

Dirt said...

Removing the Skype plug-in in IE fixed it for me!

Thank you all a ton!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much! you saved my day!

Anonymous said...

Disabling the skype plugin worked for me as well !

Anonymous said...

Great!!! Thanks, cleaning up clipboard did the job
Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!

CSK said...

Great Thanks

tkaperick said...

Excellent! Saving me tons of time!

Anonymous said...

Hi, I found that my Excel 2010 didn't do the "Cannot empty the clipboard" when Word 2010 was not running. Starting up Word 2010 again made the problem appear again.

Andrea said...

Nothing on here was working for me - I disabled Skype, cleared cleared clipboard, restarted blah blah.

The final thing that closed the deal and worked was to switch off the clipboard show option. To do this, what you can do is to again display the Clipboard menu (select Office Clipboard from Edit Menu). And in the selection button "Options" at the bottom of the screen, select this particular option: "Collect Without Showing Office Clipboard"

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much! This has been driving me batty. I didn't have to restart the app or even reboot.

Anonymous said...

Genius! Thanks

(Office 2007, Win XP - Worked after closing all office applications)

Joe Citizen said...

Folks: On my WinXP-SP3 machine, I had to disable my Skype "click-to-call" feature button in the Firefox browser. The problem will not occur if a browser (IE, or Firefox) with an enabled Skype click-to-call feature is not running.

Hope this helps!

Yep said...

Disabling Skype in Chrome stopped it for me. Very strange.

Anonymous said...

run >> %temp$ >> deleting all files worked for me. Finally, the bug is gone for now.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much. Driving me crazy for past year!!

Anonymous said...

none of the above worked for me. But the prob went away when i exited all the softwares i had open and restarted my computer (PC). The ol' turn it off and turn it back on again trick, who needs an IT dept. when you have an on/off switch?

Costis said...

Anonymous said...

None of this worked for me, but then the problem disappeared when I closed my VNC session.

I have to agree with the above solution. None worked for me either, so I closed my TeamViewer connection and the problem was GONE, even if my programme was not VNC! But thank gus for you hindsights!

Duane said...

This has ben driving me insane at work, and has now started to occur at home. In both situations, I am running Windows 7, and Office 2007. Working with local or network documets makes no difference at all. Thanks to those who have suggested switching off browser add-ons - particularly 'Skype click to call'. That tip solved the problem for me. Thanks again.

Albert said...

the cont+alt+del was the best and most simple solution. But how did this bug creep up into the program in the first place? It wasn't there for many months....then alllll of a sudden, it was?

johnny bright said...

My problem was I use the app laucher Executor, which I really like. The warning message dissapeared when I turned off the option "use clipboard sniffer" in Executor settings (misc. tab).

Terri said...

I've had the same problem and I've tried every solution on line I could find. None of them worked. Finally someone told me to uninstall the Bluetooth software. I did and it fixed my problem.

Anonymous said...

Easy solution: uninstall the Skype plugin of Internet Explorer (called "click to call" in the software list in the Control Panel).
That's it!
Cheers,
Matthieu from Vietnam

Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot ...

Anonymous said...

once i turn off bitcomet the problem goes away.