Copy and paste to/from Excel Web App doesn't work on Mac?

I can use the Excel Web App in my browser on my Mac quite happily. However, I am desperately trying to paste some data into my spreadsheet and I can't do it. As a simple test, I tried selecting a few characters of text in another app. I can go into any other app and paste those characters, so I know they're on my clipboard. Then, I go into Excel and attempt to "paste" and it doesn't work. I have also tried going the other way: I select a cell in the Excel Web App and click on "Copy". Then, I can paste that cell elsewhere in the Excel web app. However, when I attempt to paste the text into another document on my computer, the old clipboard contents are pasted instead. It's as if my clipboard is never modified by the web app, and it's as if the web app cannot read from my clipboard. I have also tried copying/pasting between two running Excel Web App spreadsheets, and that doesn't work either.
I have tried this on Chrome, Firefox, and Safari. On all of them, the behavior is identical. 

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Last updated August 22, 2019 Views 4,708 Applies to:
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Hi Taylor Brown,

I'm no expert in the Excel Web App, but for what it is worth I am seeing the same behavior on Windows 7.  It seems that the Excel Web App has an internal clipboard for inside an instance of the application, but that clipboard is not shared with the system as a whole.

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Hi Taylor Brown,

Based on the help information you provided, I was inspired to try in Internet Explorer 9 instead of the Windows versions of Chrome and FireFox which I tried for consistency sake.  Interestingly, the results were different in Internet Explorer 9.

When I tried to copy text out of the Excel Web App I was prompted to grant the browser access to the clipboard.  When I allowed it, everything worked.

Thinking about it, it makes sense that browsers cannot use JavaScript to access your clipboard directly.  (Which explains why the ribbon buttons, for example, wouldn't work.)  It would be a security & privacy concern if websites could arbitrarily read and/or write to your clipboard.

That said, having a website prompt for access (at least the first time) would make some sense.  While I do not know how IE exposes the clipboard, looking into WebKit's bug database it seems they are tracking the issue of not being able to access the clipboard during clipboard events. FireFox also has a support article on the issue.

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