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

766848 How to Use the Spike to Copy and Paste Text in Microsoft Word

The Spike is a handy feature in Microsoft Word that allows you to collect and store multiple selections of text and images, then paste them as a group. It works similarly to the clipboard, but has some key differences:

What is the Spike?

The Spike is named after the physical spike used in restaurants – when a bill is paid, it gets “spiked” onto a spike with other paid bills. The Spike in Word allows you to:

  • Cut or copy multiple selections of text/images to the Spike for storage
  • Paste everything from the Spike in one go
  • Paste without emptying the Spike so you can reuse selections

Key Differences from the Clipboard:

  • Stores multiple selections instead of just one
  • Shared between all open Word documents
  • Has unique paste options

How to Use the Spike in Word

Using the Spike is simple – just follow these steps:

Add Content to the Spike

  1. Select some text or an image
  2. Press Ctrl + F3 to cut it and add it to the Spike
    • To copy instead of cutting, press Ctrl + Shift + F3
  3. Repeat steps 1-2 to add more content to the Spike

Paste Content from the Spike

Paste and Empty:

Press Ctrl + Shift + F3 to paste all Spike content and empty the Spike

Paste without Emptying:

Type “spike” and press Enter to paste the content but keep it stored in the Spike as well

Other Paste Options

You have a few other options to paste Spike content:

  • Ribbon: Go to Insert > Quick Parts > AutoText > Spike
  • Context Menu: Right-click and choose Spike under AutoText
  • View Contents: Go to Insert > Quick Parts > AutoText > Spike to view contents without pasting

Tips for Using the Spike Effectively

Here are some tips to help you master the Spike:

Organize and Rearrange Documents

The Spike shines when you need to move sections of text around within a document or between documents. For example:

  • Reorder sections of a research paper
  • Combine important info from multiple sources into one document

Use Keyboard Shortcuts

Rely on the handy keyboard shortcuts to efficiently cut/copy to and paste from the Spike. This avoids having to click through menus.

View Before Pasting

Check what’s stored in the Spike before pasting – this helps avoid surprises. View the contents at any time from the Quick Parts menu.

Keep Your Options Open

Paste without emptying the Spike if you want to reuse the selected content multiple times. The Spike stores everything until you manually clear it.

Spike vs Clipboard

The major difference between the Spike and the Clipboard is the Spike’s ability to store multiple selections of content.

However, you can use both tools in tandem – copy single selections to the Clipboard for temporary storage while adding longer-term selections to the Spike.


  • Stores only one selection at a time
  • Gets overwritten each time you cut/copy something new


  • Stores multiple selections
  • Accumulates cuts/copies until manually emptied

So if you need to work with multiple text blocks, the Spike will save you having to constantly re-copy selections.

Give the handy Spike tool a try next time you need to organize or combine sections of text in Word!

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is the Spike stored?

The Spike uses a separate storage area from the clipboard. Its contents are actually saved in the AutoText tool under the Spike entry. The Spike is also shared between any Word documents you currently have open.

Can I copy formatting with the Spike?

Yes, the Spike preserves all formatting like fonts, bolding, colors etc. Simply copy the selections as normal using Ctrl + F3 and the formatting will remain intact when pasted from the Spike.

Is there a character limit?

There is no hard character limit. The Spike can store as much text as your system’s memory resources allow. However, pasting extremely large amounts of text at once may cause performance issues. Best practice is to break up pasting of very long selections into smaller chunks if needed.

Can I view the Spike’s contents?

Yes – click the Insert tab > Quick Parts > AutoText > Spike. This lets you view everything stored in the Spike without pasting it or clearing the contents.

What happens if I restart Word?

The Spike’s contents are not saved when you close Word. All selections stored in the Spike will be erased once you restart the Word application. Make sure to paste out anything you want to keep before closing Word.

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