Microsoft Excel is one of the most used spreadsheet applications by organizations and personal. After using many years, recently we have noticed the cut function was greyed out in the right click context menu. This was annoying, as you have to use keyboard shortcuts for cut and paste the cell content. After playing around with multiple settings, we could fix the issue successfully. If you are facing cut, copy, delete functions not working in Excel context menu, here are the options you should try.
Related: How to fix slow Excel and speedup your spreadsheet processing?
Disabled Cut, Copy, Delete Option in Context Menu
Right click on any Excel and you should see the cut, copy or delete option is disabled. In our case, it was only the cut option not working. However, you could also face issue with other options like copy, delete or insert.
In addition to right click context menu, you may notice these options are also disabled in the ribbon icons.
Why This Issue Happens?
In our understanding, it happened due to processing of some Excel sheets that disable the functionalities. For example, Indian income tax department offers a Macro enabled Excel utility for filing income tax returns. This type of Excel workbooks restrict cut, copy and paste functions forcing you to type in each cell manually and validate based on the macro settings. However, it seems these restrictions are applied in Windows registry or in other settings that continue to restrict cut, copy or insert options in entire Excel application.
The other reasons for the problem could be playing around with Excel settings in the backstage or modifying registry entries without understanding.
How to Fix Cut, Copy, Delete Not Working in Excel Context Menu?
Try the followings to fix the issue:
- Reset the cells using VBA editor
- Modify registry entry
- Start Excel in safe mode
- Cleanup startup folder
- Check file attributes
- Repair Excel
1. Reset Cells from VBA Editor
- Close all your Excel sheets and launch a new blank workbook.
- Press Alt + F11 to open “Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications” editor.
- When you are in VBA editor, go to “Insert > Module” menu to open a new module.
- This will open an editor on the right pane and paste the below code in the editor.
Sub Reset_Cells() CommandBars("Cell").Reset CommandBars("Row").Reset CommandBars("Column").Reset End Sub
- It should look like below.
- Press F5 or click on the Run button that looks like a play button. Alternatively, go to “Run > Run Sub/UserForm” menu.
- The commands will run and reset your Excel cells to default behavior.
- You will not see any output like success or failure. Simply close/leave the VBA editor and go back to your Excel workbook.
- Right click and check the options are enabled now. You should also check the icons are enabled on the ribbon.
The above commands basically reset the cells in cells, rows and columns of the Excel. This should essentially resolve the problem and set the cells behavior to default.
2. Modify Registry Entry
The above solution fixed the issue for us. However, if you feel difficult to run commands in VBA editor try this alternate option.
- Press “Win Logo + R” keys to open Run prompt.
- Type regedit and hit enter to open Registry Editor.
- When you are in Registry Editor, navigate to Computer\HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\office\16.0\Excel\Options path. Note that 16.0 indicates Excel 2016, you may need to look for your Excel version there.
- Right click on “Options” folder and rename it to any name like “Options_old”.
Now, launch Excel app and check the options are enabled in context menu and ribbon.
Related: 10 tips to improve productivity in Excel.
3. Start Excel in Safe Mode
As we mentioned, the problem could happen due to disabling functionalities in one Excel workbook. Excel has many add-ins to enhance the functionalities and convert the files. Hence, these types of add-ins can also potentially cause problem. The best way to test the add-ins compatibility is to open Excel in safe mode that will disable all add-ins.
- Click on the Start menu and press and hold the control key then click on Excel application. If you have Excel shortcuts in desktop or taskbar, hold control key and double click or click on it to open.
- You will get the below prompt. Click “Yes” to confirm opening Excel in safe mode.
If it is difficult for you to open by holding control key then press “Win + R” keys to open Run prompt. Type excel /safe and hit enter. This will open Excel in a safe mode.
Check the cut and other options are available. If yes, then the problem could be due to conflicting add-ins. In order to find specific add-in that causes the trouble, you have to disable one by one by following the below instructions.
- Open Excel and go to “File > Options” menu.
- Click on “Add-ins” section and click on the dropdown against “Manage” option at the bottom.
- Select “COM Add-ins” and click on “Go…” button.
- Deselect the checkbox to disable the add-in.
Similarly, go to “Excel Add-ins and disable all of them. After that, you can enable one by one to find which one is causing trouble.
4. Cleanup Excel Startup Folder
Sometimes corrupted Excel startup folder may create problem.
- Open File Explorer and go to the path “C:\Users\Username\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Excel”. Remember to replace the username with your username in the path.
- You should see XLSTART folder (should be an empty folder or you may not see this) and .xlb or .xlsb file in this folder.
- Cut all the files inside this folder and backup somewhere.
- Relaunch Excel and check the problem is resolved.
If you do not know the correct path, then press Alt + F11 when you are in Excel to open the VBA editor. Go to “View > Immediate Window” menu or press Ctrl + F5 keys. Paste the below code in “Immediate” text window.
Hit enter to find the startup path.
Note: Do not delete .xlb or .xlsb file. This is an Excel setting file that contains customization for the toolbar. If the problem is not resolve, you can paste the file back in the folder.
5. Check File Attributes
Check whether you are viewing a read-only Excel workbook. Though read-only files allow you to cut or delete the content, you may get a warning when trying to save the file. You can right click on the file icon and go to “Properties” to remove the read-only option.
Similarly, if you are viewing an .xlsm file, it is possible that a macro could disable functions like cut, copy or delete.
6. Repair Excel
We do not recommend this as this will repair the entire Office installation on your computer that includes other applications like Word, Outlook and PowerPoint. If you have multiple problems with Office including the missing cut/copy/delete options, then try to repair the installation.
- Press “Win + I” keys to open Windows Settings app.
- Go to “Apps > Apps & features” section.
- Type “office” in the search box to filter Microsoft Office installation.
- Click on the installation file and then click “Modify” button.
- Depending upon your installation, follow further instructions to online repair.
Fixing small problems can improve your productivity by saving lots of time. We hope one of the above-mentioned solutions helped you to fix cut, copy, delete not working in Excel context menu.
Thank you, VBA editor solved the problem. Instructions very easy to follow.
Thank you, the VBA Editor solved my problem.
safe mode option worked though no add-in could be identified/removed.
VBA option solved the issue completely. Thanks !!
Thank you so much! The VBA editor trick solved my problem. Source was same, the Income Tax Utility.
Thanks, finally resolved using VBA Editor.
Could not resolve using Safe Mode as no Add-In was active either in the Faulty Excel or the Safe Excel.
Moving the .xlsb file method could not be used as the folder ‘Excel’ doesn’t exist in my machine, as per your two given paths.
So finally the VBA Editor method worked.
Great! Solved the problem with first step (VBA) itself.
Nice to see it helped you. Hope, these macro enabled files will not disable some basic functions permanently. Many users do not know how to enable the features back and struggle.
Issue solved – Thank you so much
Great post. solved the problem instantly.