How to paste text without formatting almost anywhere

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The radio took 38 years to reach a market audience of 50 million. The television took 13 years and the iPod only took 3 years to reach a market audience of 50 million.

How to paste text without formatting almost anywhere

Most of the time we go to great pains to preserve formatting in our text and ensure it looks just the way we want it to. What if you’re frequently pasting text and you want to strip the formatting away in the process? Read on as we help a reader tweak his workflow to be faster and more streamlined.

I love reading all the articles on your web site about fixing problems and making thing more efficient. I especially love the Ask HTG column and now I’ve got a question of my own to submit for it. I have a little problem that I’m super confident you can help me with. I have to cut and paste a lot of text every day. The problem is that the source text has all sorts of different formatting (different web sites, different news articles, publications in my industry, etc.) and I need to put it all in a summary digest for my boss. My current solution, which I’ll be the first to admit is probably the worse, is to paste all the text into Notepad (because Notepad doesn’t preserve formatting) and then paste it into the final document where (if need be) I apply my own formatting before shipping it off to the boss.

Surely there is some way for me to copy and paste without the formatting that doesn’t involve copy/pasting every section of text twice? What should I do?

Problem solving is what we do best; we’re not going to let you leave this column still using Notepad as a middle man! There are several tricks you can use, depending on the operating system/application you’re working in. The first thing you can do, and the simplest to implement, is to switch from using CTRL+V (Paste) to CTRL+SHIFT+V (Paste Plain Text).

While this shortcut is fairly universal, in that it works in hundreds of applications and across operating systems, it isn’t actually a hardcoded system function and not all applications have to respond to it. For example, in Windows you can use CTRL+SHIFT+V to paste unformatted text into tons of programs like Google Chrome, Evernote, etc. but the shortcut isn’t support in, of all places, Microsoft Word (You can, however, use ALT+E+S in Microsoft Office apps to enable Paste Special which will allow you to select what formatting, if any, you want to preserve).

If the CTRL+SHIFT+V combo doesn’t work for the application you’re preparing your document in, don’t worry. Although it’s always nice to be able to use a keyboard shortcut natively with no extra work, we have two simple workarounds you can use to strip the formatting while keeping the simplicity of a single keyboard shortcut.

The first workaround relies on AutoHotkey. If you’re not already using AutoHotkey, well, there’s no time like the present to start. It’s the handiest little application we keep in our arsenal of daily use tools and there’s hardly a week that goes by where we don’t find a new use for it.

We’d recommend checking out our beginner’s guide to get a feel for what AHK is. Once you’ve installed it and familiarized yourself with the application, you can use this script to modify your paste shortcut to automatically strip the formatting using this handy bit of AHK code, called Better Paste, courtesy of Dustin Luck/Lifehacker:

$^+v:: ; CTRL+SHIFT+V
ClipSaved := ClipboardAll ;save original clipboard contents
clipboard = %clipboard% ;remove formatting
Send ^v ;send the Ctrl+V command
Clipboard := ClipSaved ;restore the original clipboard contents
ClipSaved = ;clear the variable

[Note: We inverted the commands from Dustin’s original script; he had it set to CTRL+SHIFT+V for regular paste and CTRL+V for no-formatting paste. Because so many applications already support CTRL+SHIFT+V, we changed the shortcuts in order to keep things consistent and not train ourselves to use the wrong shortcut, and then removed the redundant CTRL+V script entry.]

We really like the AutoHotkey solution above because we’re already avid AHK users and it was no sweat to add it to our existing AHK master script.

How to paste text without formatting almost anywhere

If you don’t want to mess around with AHK, however, there’s one more solution we can offer: PureText. We showed our readers how to use PureText back in 2009 and it’s still going strong. Install the app, select the shortcut combo you wish to use (like CTRL+SHIFT+V) and PureText will automatically strip the formatting from the text and paste it when the hotkey is triggered.

Whatever tool you use, you can skip that inefficient paste-to-Notepad routine and get your work done faster!

How to Paste Text Without Formatting Almost Anywhere

Copy-and-paste moves more than just text around. It often brings along formatting from web pages and other documents. You can paste without formatting in nearly any application to get just the text without the extra formatting. Use this keyboard shortcut.

No formatting means no line breaks, no different font sizes, no bolding and italics, and no hyperlinks. You won’t have to spend time removing formatting elements from your document. You’ll get just the text you copied as if you had typed it directly into the application you’re pasting it in.

To paste without formatting, press Ctrl+Shift+V instead of Ctrl+V. This works in a wide variety of applications, including web browsers like Google Chrome. It should work on Windows, Chrome OS, and Linux.

On a Mac, press Command+Option+Shift+V to “paste and match formatting” instead. This works in most Mac apps, too.

This keyboard shortcut unfortunately doesn’t work in Microsoft Word. To paste without formatting in Word, you can use the special Paste option on the ribbon to “Keep Text Only.” You can also set Word’s default paste options to “Keep Text Only.”

If this keyboard shortcut doesn’t work in your application of choice, there’s always the low-tech method: Open a plain-text editor like Notepad, paste your text into it, and then select and copy the text. You’ll get the plain text copied to your clipboard and you can paste it into any application.

For a faster way to do this, we’ve previously shown how to use AutoHotkey to automatically remove all formatting from the text you copy to your clipboard, too.

One of the biggest annoyances while trying to copy/paste anything in your word processor is text formatting. Often, you only want to copy and paste plain text from websites without bringing along all the formatting. But the default option on your browser doesn’t allow you to do that. So if that has always bothered you and you want to end that annoyance once and for all, you’re in the right place. Because today, we will show you how to copy/paste plain text without formatting on Windows 10 and Mac.

Copy/Paste Plain Text Without Formatting on Your PC

In this article, we have included special keyboard shortcuts to paste plain text, apps and browser extensions, and other methods to copy/paste text without formatting. We will also show you native options to paste text without formatting in Word, the most popular word processor worldwide. So without any further ado, let’s check out the various ways in which you can copy/paste plain text without formatting on your Mac or Windows 10 computer.

Method 1: Using Keyboard Shortcuts

Using a keyboard shortcut is, by far, the easiest way to paste plain text without formatting on your computer. To do that, press Ctrl+Shift+V to remove formatting instead of Ctrl+V on Windows. This method works in all major browsers while writing in WordPress, say for instance, and in most applications.

On a Mac, press Command+Option+Shift+V to ‘paste and match formatting’ in a document. However, this shortcut doesn’t work in MS Word, which uses a native method to paste plain text into the editor.

Method 2: Using Native Option in MS Word

You can paste text without formatting into MS Word using a special ‘Paste’ option on the ribbon. Once you’ve copied the target text with formatting, hit the Paste button on the MS Word ribbon. You get three options: ‘Keep Source Formatting,’ ‘Merge Formatting,’ and ‘Keep Text Only,’ as shown below.

How to paste text without formatting almost anywhere

While the first one keeps the original formatting, the second one only keeps the basic formatting, like bold letters and bullet points, but changes the font to match your document. The third option pastes the plain text into Word, stripped of all the formatting.

Method 3: Using Browser Extensions

There are multiple extensions for Firefox and Chrome that remove all formatting from the selected text before copy/pasting. The one I use on Firefox is Copy PlainText (Free), while the best one on Chrome is Copy as Plain Text (Free). They both work pretty much the same way, by adding a ‘Copy PlainText’ or ‘Copy as Plain Text’ option, to the browser’s right-click context menu. On editors like WordPress, the extensions also add a ‘Paste PlainText’ option.

How to paste text without formatting almost anywhere

Using browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox is probably the easiest and cleanest method to copy/paste plain text online. They give you the option to either retain the original formatting by using the default ‘Copy’ option in your browser’s right-click context menu or copy just the plain text by using the ‘Copy Plain Text’ option. They are also configurable, letting users set keyboard shortcuts to copy/paste plain text into their browser.

Method 4: Using Third-Party Software on Windows

If you’re using a Windows PC, you can download an ultra-lightweight utility called PureText (free). The easiest way to use PureText is to use its hotkey to paste text instead of using the standard Ctrl+V shortcut. The default Hotkey to paste plain text is Windows key + V [1], but you can change it as per your liking. To configure PureText, right-click on its tray icon and choose ‘Options’ from the pop-up menu. From the Options window, you can also set the program to run at each startup, so you don’t have to start it up manually [2].

How to paste text without formatting almost anywhere

Method 5: Create Your Own Shortcut on Mac

On Mac, you can use System Preferences to customize the copy/paste default options. To get started, go to Apple menu > System Preferences and select Keyboard. Move to the Shortcuts tab and choose App Shortcuts from the left pane. You can then select the “+” icon below the box to create a new shortcut to copy/paste plain text without formatting. After that, type-in ‘Paste and Match Style‘ in the ‘Menu Title’ field and specify your own hotkeys on the Keyboard Shortcut box.

How to paste text without formatting almost anywhere

Make sure to select All Applications in the first field to make this shortcut work across all compatible apps on that device. Finally, click on the Add button to set up your new keyboard shortcut. Now you can paste text without formatting across most apps on your Mac. Once this default action is activated, you will need to use Edit > Paste to paste with formatting.

How to paste text without formatting almost anywhere

Method 6: Using Notepad on Windows and TextEdit on Mac

This is the clunkiest, most time-consuming, and the most user-unfriendly way to copy/paste plain text on your computer. It is fairly simple, though. Just copy the target text from anywhere, paste it in Notepad on your Windows 10 machine, and then copy that Notepad text to paste it in your document. It removes all the text formatting but is a two-step process.

How to paste text without formatting almost anywhere

On Mac, you can use TextEdit for the same trick, but you’ll first have to set the app to use the plain text by going to TextEdit > Preferences and checking the Plain Text box. You can now paste any text in TextEdit to strip it of all formatting. You can then copy/paste that text snippet as plain text wanywhere.

How to paste text without formatting almost anywhere

Easily Copy/Paste Text Without Formatting on Your Windows or Mac

Alongside the methods described above, many online document editors, like Google Docs, and CMS applications, like WordPress, also offer native options to copy/paste text without text formatting. So no matter what your use-case is, you will always find a way to copy and paste text without formatting online or offline. So go ahead, try out some of the methods described above and see which one tickles your fancy.

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If in a browser, copy & paste it into & out of the address bar.

Just use the run window to paste and then copy again to get the format free text. Simple and easy.

Windows +R, paste your text, and copy it again.

Let’s say you are writing and you want to quote some text from a webpage in your message or document. So you select the text and copy it, but then when you paste it after your text you find that it is in a different font, font size and color. Worse than that, when you try to keep typing after the quoted text, you see that your font style has been hijacked by the new text you pasted. Here is an example — notice how the font changes because the text came formatted from somewhere else:

Do you remember Otter Pops? They consist of, and I quote, ” a plastic tube filled with flavored sugary liquid; after being frozen the top is cut off. The frozen juice is eaten out of the top of the tube, like a popsicle without a stick.” [ACK! What happened to my font! Why doesn’t my computer realize I don’t want to change the font here?] .

Does that situation look familiar?

If so, here is a great (free!) little Windows utility I have used for several years to come to your rescue: PureText. Running PureText puts an icon down in your system tray (lower right screen corner) and it adds a keyboard shortcut that works everywhere. Once it is running you press [WindowsKey] + [v] to tell the computer to “paste the text, but please ignore any font formatting that the text had before.” It works like a charm — the text you paste adopts whatever style you were already using, eliminating the chore of trying to reformat the text after it is pasted in.

Every time I am put on a new version of Windows, PureText is one of the first items I install. To me it is indispensable!

Now for you Mac users (I’m one at home), I have heard (but not tried it yet) that PlainClip does the same thing for the Mac OS, but you will probably also want to first install a Mac hotkey tool like Spark to make it easier to use (otherwise you will have to double-click the PlainClip app everytime you want to use it).

When you copy paragraphs or text from Word documents, Powerpoint presentations or from the web – the formatting options are also copied to Windows clipboard. When you paste the copied text or paragraph in another document, window or email message all the formatting options are kept intact.

This can be a bit awkward, you may like to paste the text just like plain text or without formatting. This article describes some easy ways to remove formatting from copied text and use only the plain text version of the copied text on your documents:

1. Use “Paste Special” while pasting Formatted Text in Microsoft Office

When you are going to paste the copied text in a word document, simple pull down “Paste special” from the office menu, as shown below:

Using the paste special option in Microsoft Word will allow you to paste the formatted text into the “Paste special” window and then Micosoft wod will automatically convert the formatted paragraph into plain text. When the plain text version is pasted into the word document, you can apply newer fomatting rules, change colors, boldness and other stuff.

2. Paste in Notepad and Copy again:

This is the most simple and universal method to get rid off formatting from copied text. Open a new notepad window, paste the whole copied content into the notepad window and then select all the text. Next, hit Control +C and the plain text version of the copied content is in you Windows clipboard.

3. Use a Keyboard shortcut: Control + Space bar

This is the easiest option to copy text without formatting in Windows and not many people are aware that Windows has built in support for copying a paragaph or a portion of text from documents, PowerPoint presentations and webpages. Whenever you copy text and want to get rid of the formatting, simply hit Control key followed by the space bar.

The formatted text will be converted to plain text immediately and then you can use the copied data in office documents, email message, windows live writer, WordPress post editor etc.

Tip: Automatically copy text in Firefox by highlighting it.

4. Browser extensions which removes formatting from copied text

Thankfully, we have a couple of browser extensions available which can be used to copy unformatted text from documents and webpages. Google Chrome users can install the Copy Without Formatting Chrome extension, which lets you use a keyboard shortcut and copy only the text portion of a webpage, document or email message. The keyboard shortcut is Control + Shift + C, which strips away all the images, font styles, bold and italics from copied text and allows you to use only the plain text version of the copied text.

Since this is a Chrome extension, it will only work for webpages, email messages and Google Docs documents. But that’s fine for web workers like me, who have to use copy paste from web documents only and not from standalone word or Office documents. The extension can also be used to automatically copy the non formatted text in Google Chrome, when you highlight a portion of textual content in webpages or email messages. Pretty nice and works out of the box.

Firefox users should install the Copy Plain Text add-on from the Mozilla add-ons website which works the same way as the Chrome extension does.

What methods do you use to remove formatting from text? Tell us in the comments below.

Why does formatting sometimes get messed up when you cut and paste text? And what is that thing that appears at the end of the last sentence every time you paste–like a fly returning to honey.

That thing–the Paste Options button–is your friend, a worker bee and not a fly whose only job is to follow your formatting instructions. Learning how it works keeps you from wasting time manually formatting pasted text.

How to paste text without formatting almost anywhere

Microsoft Word

Put your best words forward with an Office 365 subscription.

Using the Paste Options button

Click the down-arrow on the Paste Options button and you’ll see a menu with icons that lets you format copied text in different ways. The options you’ll see depend on where you’re cutting and pasting from and to, e.g., from within or between documents. Roll your mouse over the icons and you can see how your pasted text will look before you click.

How to paste text without formatting almost anywhere

These are the four most common options:

  1. Keep Source Formatting: Keeps the formatting of the text you copied
  2. Use Destination Styles: Matches the formatting where you pasted your text
  3. Kept Text Only: Discards both the text formatting AND the non-text elements you copied, such as pictures or table, and then matches the formatting where you pasted the text
  4. Merge Formatting: Keeps the formatting of the text you copied without changing the formatting of the destination document, e.g., if you cut and paste a sentence from another document that had a different font type or size

Word gives you other options for copying and pasting things such as bulleted or numbered lists, or hyperlinks. Plus, it lets you define how you want cutting and pasting to work most of the time (click Set Default Paste under the icons)–including getting rid of the Paste Options button if it still seems like a pesky fly.

How to paste text without formatting almost anywhere

On Windows 10, when copying and pasting content from an external source (such as a website or document), OneNote will paste the text along with the source formatting and source link whether you use the “Ctrl + V” keyboard shortcut or “Paste” option from the right-click context menu.

If you want to paste only the text, you always have to remember to open the context menu, click the sub-menu, and select the “Keep Text Only” option, which is not a complicated process, but it takes extra steps, and you’re not likely to remember it every time you import fragments from the web or another document.

Luckily, if you copy and paste content regularly, OneNote includes an option to change the default paste settings to keep text without weird formatting or links.

In this Windows 10 guide, we walk you through the steps to change the default configuration of OneNote to paste just the text without formatting or link.

How to set the default paste option for OneNote

To change the default paste settings for OneNote to keep text only, use these steps:

  1. Open OneNote.
  2. Click on Settings and More (three-dotted button) in the top-right corner.

Click the Settings option.

How to paste text without formatting almost anywhere

Click on Options.

How to paste text without formatting almost anywhere

Under the “Paste Options” section, use the drop-down menu as the Keep Text Only option.

How to paste text without formatting almost anywhere

  • Turn off the Include link to source option.
  • Once you complete these steps, when copying content from the web, you can quickly use the “Ctrl + V” keyboard shortcut to paste only the text without the formatting or link to the original source.

    If you need to keep or merge the formatting, you can still right-click, click the “Paste” sub-menu, and select the pasting option you need.

    More Windows 10 resources

    For more helpful articles, coverage, and answers to common questions about Windows 10, visit the following resources:

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    How to paste text without formatting almost anywhere

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    How to paste text without formatting almost anywhere

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    How to paste text without formatting almost anywhere

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    While working in Excel, we often copy values or formulas from other worksheets, from other programs or even from the web. For every copied value, we have specific preferences like copying without formatting, copying only the values or only the formulas. It becomes troublesome if the copied values distort the current format in our worksheets.

    The Paste Special feature offers a variety of ways to copy and paste values according to our needs.

    How to paste text without formatting almost anywhereFigure 1. Final result: Copy without formatting

    How to copy and paste without changing the format

    In order to copy values or formula without changing the format, we launch the Paste Special tool in Excel.

    To copy: Press Ctrl + C to copy cells with values, text or formula

    To paste: Click Home tab > Paste > Paste Special

    How to paste text without formatting almost anywhereFigure 2. Paste Special feature

    The Paste Special dialog box offers customized ways to paste the copied data. With this tool, we are able to copy only the values, formulas, format or any combination with number formats.

    How to paste text without formatting almost anywhereFigure 3. Excel Paste Special dialog box

    Copy values without formatting

    When we simply employ the Ctrl + C and Ctrl + V shortcuts to copy and paste values, we might end up with a table with varying formats such as this:

    How to paste text without formatting almost anywhereFigure 4. Copy values including formatting

    In order to copy selected values while keeping the destination formatting, we follow these steps:

    • Copy the selected value

    How to paste text without formatting almost anywhereFigure 5. Copying the source cell

    • Select the cell where we want to paste the value

    How to paste text without formatting almost anywhereFigure 6. Selecting the destination cell

    • Click Home tab >Paste >Paste Special >Paste Valuesbutton

    Figure 7. Paste Values button in Paste options

    The name “Ann Taylor” will be copied without formatting, all the while keeping the destination cell formatting.

    How to paste text without formatting almost anywhereFigure 8. Output: Copy values without formatting

    Copy formula without formatting

    When we copy a formula in one cell and paste it on another cell, we are at risk of also copying the format of the source cell. In below example, we want to copy the formula for age in cell D3.

    Formula: =NOW()-C3/365 .

    How to paste text without formatting almost anywhereFigure 9. Example : copy exact formula for age

    When we simply paste the formula in cell D4 through the shortcut Ctrl + V or the menu options, we also copy the red text color format into cell D4.

    How to paste text without formatting almost anywhereFigure 10. Pasting the copied formula with format into destination cell

    We want to copy the formula exactly as it is in the cell, without the formatting.

    • Copy cell D3
    • Select cell D4
    • Click Home tab >Paste >Paste Special
    • In the Paste Special dialog box, tick the Formulas radio button

    Only the formula is copied, keeping the blue text color format of cell D4.

    How to paste text without formatting almost anywhereFigure 11. Output: Copy exact formula

    Copy values not formula

    This time let us learn how to copy numbers without the formula . Suppose we want to copy the age from a separate database in another worksheet.

    • Copy cell D3

    How to paste text without formatting almost anywhereFigure 12. Copying the age from source cell

    When we paste the copied cell into the destination cell, we have copied the formula as well.

    How to paste text without formatting almost anywhereFigure 13. Pasting the copied cell with formula


    When we want to copy only the value and not the formula , we follow these steps.

    • Select the source cell and press Ctrl + C
    • Select the destination cell
    • Click Home tab >Paste >Paste Special
    • In the Paste Special dialog box, tick the Values radio button

    Finally, we are able to copy the value and not the formula , as shown in cell E9.

    How to paste text without formatting almost anywhereFigure 14. Output : Copy values not formulas

    Instant Connection to an Excel Expert

    Most of the time, the problem you will need to solve will be more complex than a simple application of a formula or function. If you want to save hours of research and frustration, try our live Excelchat service! Our Excel Experts are available 24/7 to answer any Excel question you may have. We guarantee a connection within 30 seconds and a customized solution within 20 minutes.