Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Using the Spike to Edit.

Using the Spike to Edit

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 5, 2022)


Word has a feature that allows you to collect groups of text and paste them in another location. It is different than the Clipboard, which allows you to work with only one item at a time. The Spike is named after an old-fashioned paper holder onto which people poked papers as they were done with them. To collect information in the Spike, simply select the text and press Ctrl+F3. This cuts the information from your document and places it in the Spike. You can continue this process, and Word will add all the selected text to what already exists in the Spike.

When you are ready to paste the information somewhere, simply press Ctrl+Shift+F3. All the information in the Spike (not just the last text you placed there) is deposited in your document at the insertion point. This action also erases everything in the Spike. If you want to paste the contents of the Spike without clearing it, you can follow these steps:

  1. Position the insertion point where you want the Spike contents pasted.
  2. Type spike.
  3. Press F3.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (13355) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Using the Spike to Edit.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...


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What is 4 + 8?

2022-03-15 15:14:32

Phil Reinemann

Rob, and others, I recently found out that the Win+V list does have an an option for each item to "pin" it, which will keep it in the clipboard for after a restart.

Just go to the right of the item and click on the ellipsis (three dots).

2022-03-09 00:09:19


Dear Allen,

I am not in the habit of posting on the internet, but after having accidentally stumbled on this tip I had to make an exception. The spike tool is something I had wished I had learned about 15 years ago - but somehow I had never ever heard of it until today. So thanks for sharing! The comment below about the Win+V clipboard is also very useful. These are true efficiency hacks!

2022-02-15 19:08:21

Phil Reinemann

If you're using Windoze 10, it has a built in multiple item clipboard history.

You can access that clipboard with WindozeKey+V (lowercase V is okay).

If the clipboard history isn't turned on (it's off by default), then it will let you turn it on with WindozeKey+V.

(it will be empty until you start copying things after you turn it on.)

Unlike the spike, you can selectively paste only one of the copied items. It shows you a list and you just click on what you want pasted.

The history is wiped out if you restart or Shift+shutdown, and maybe if you log off. Not sure about shut-down which by default in W10 basically hibernates you. (I think it's called Fastboot. On a Mac now so can't check that.)

The Microsoft Store (W10) also has multiple clipboard apps to download.

2022-02-14 01:47:46

John Walker

Using the Spike to Edit This tip (13355)
Thanks for the post. As you say, the spike is a handy gadget it CUT and copy.
However, when I tried it I nearly swooned as the text disappeared.
Reading somewhere else, I found out I had to CTRL+Z to back out of the cut.
Then al was OK.
Please stop others having a swoon by putting that in the tip.

2022-02-14 00:00:40


Spike sounds very useful. Thanks for the tip.
It appears that Spike "cuts" the text from its original location and pastes it into the new location.
Is there a Spike like feature that would allow me to just "copy" the text I want to collect?

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