How to Use the Spike to Copy and Paste Text in Microsoft Word

00_lead_image_paper_spike

Word contains a little known feature, called the Spike, that allows you to gather blocks of text and/or images from different locations in a Word document and then paste all of that content to another location in that document or into another Word file or other program.

The Spike in Word is named after the old-fashioned paper holder onto which people poked papers as they were done with them. You may still see the original version of the Spike in use in some businesses.

The Spike is different from the Clipboard, which allows you work with only one copied block of text at a time. The Spike collects multiple, non-contiguous blocks of text as you copy them until you paste all the collected blocks of text somewhere else.

To gather information into the Spike in Word, select the text and/or images you want to add and press “Ctrl + F3”. This cuts the information from your document and places it into the Spike. You can continue to cut parts of your document and Word will continue to add the cut text to the Spike.

01_selecting_text

At this point, you’re probably thinking, “Cut?! I don’t want to cut the text!” No worries. When you use the Spike, you are cutting or removing text from its original location, NOT copying text. However, if you don’t want to remove the text from the original location, simply press “Ctrl + Z” after cutting the text to the Spike to undo the cut. The text you originally cut still remains in the Spike.

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We copied two blocks of text that we will now paste into a new document. Click the “File” tab.

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Click “New” in the list of items on the left.

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On the New screen, click the “Blank document” icon.

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To paste the text you collected in the Spike, press “Ctrl + Shift + F3”.

NOTE: Pressing “Ctrl + Shift + F3” also erases all the information in the Spike. If you don’t want to erase the information in the Spike when you paste the contents of it, type “spike” (without the quotes), and press “Enter.”

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All the information in the Spike (not just the last block of text you added to it) is pasted into your document at the insertion point.

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You can also view the contents of the Spike without pasting the contents or emptying the Spike. Click the “Insert” tab on the ribbon.

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Click the “Quick Parts” button in the “Text” section and select “AutoText.”

NOTE: You may have to expand the Word window to display the label on the “Quick Parts” button. If the window is too small, the text labels for some of the buttons on the ribbon do not display.

The information in the Spike displays as an AutoText item on the submenu. You can click on the “Spike” item on the submenu to insert the contents of the Spike at the insertion point. This method of pasting the contents of the Spike also leaves the contents in the Spike.

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The Spike is a useful feature if you need to quickly and easily rearrange a document by moving non-contiguous text and images or create a new document from pieces of another document.

Lori Kaufman is a writer who likes to write geeky how-to articles to help make people's lives easier through the use of technology. She loves watching and reading mysteries and is an avid Doctor Who fan.

  • Published 04/6/15
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