A recent update to Apple's Numbers seems to have removed or broken the ability to paste into multiple cells. Previously, if I copied the string A\tB\tC (where \t represents a tab character), I could select a cell in Numbers, and the values would paste like this:

Numbers screenshot: A, B, and C in separate cells

However, when I attempt this now I end up with the following:

Numbers screenshot: A, B, and C in one cell

If I copy a row of cells from Numbers, I can paste it within Numbers. However, if I paste the row of cells into a plain text document (in TextEdit), and then copy the resulting string (which looks like the string given above), pasting it back into Numbers results in the undesired behavior in my screenshot above.

If there is an option I can change in Numbers to allow pasting of a row of cells from a plain string, or a different way I can format my string, that would be very useful.

1 Answer 1


Weirdly the behaviour of this seems inconsistent when there is only one line which needs an additional trailing newline to work.


"a\tb\tc\n" doesn't work, result is [a b c] in a single cell

"a\tb\tc\n\n" works fine

For multiple lines the trailing newline seems to make no difference, all these behave the same in that two lines are created and the selected cell is the first one on the second line





So programatically if compiling an unknown number of entries (as I am) it makes sense to just add an extra newline to the clipboard. The behaviour of this does seem to change/break from time to time, I've had to fiddle with my app multiple times over the last few years because of these issues.

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