Pasting tabular data from MacVector into Microsoft Excel

There are a number of MacVector analyses that generate tabular text output. Examples include the Protein Analysis Toolbox List output, the Raw Data tab of the ABI chromatogram document window, the Matrix tab of the multiple sequence alignment document windows and the Coverage tab of the Bowtie contig editor. Each of these is actually composed of tab delimited columns, meaning that you can copy the entire table and paste the data into Microsoft Excel for additional analysis.

However, over the years, the behavior of Microsoft Excel has changed when it comes to dealing with copied tab-delimited text data. For example, Microsoft Excel 2008 would directly accept this data – you could copy from MacVector, switch to Excel and choose Edit | Paste and each item would be pasted into an individual cell. However, the current version of Microsoft Excel 365 (version 15.41) behaves differently – if you Edit | Paste, all of the data on each line gets pasted into the first column. To get around this, simply choose Edit | Paste Special... There is just a single option for the data on the clipboard (“Text”), but when you click OK, the data gets pasted into individual cells just as you would want.


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