Tell MS Word to stop pasting in styles

This post is more than 2 years old.

This is something that probably everyone knows, and frankly, if I had taken the time to actually look it would have been obvious, but credit goes to Brian Rinaldi for letting me know about it.

Do you hate it when you paste text into MS Word and it tries keep the formatting from the original source? I know I do. I can't remember ever wanting my paste to keep the original formatting. Maybe I'm weird. (Ok, I am...) Turns out it's easy to fix.

Go into Options, Advanced, and set the value in the Cut, copy, and paste section for "Pasting from other programs:"

Finally, our long national nightmare can finally come to an end...

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About Raymond Camden

Raymond is a senior developer evangelist for Adobe. He focuses on document services, JavaScript, and enterprise cat demos. If you like this article, please consider visiting my Amazon Wishlist or donating via PayPal to show your support. You can even buy me a coffee!

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Archived Comments

Comment 1 by Phillip Senn posted on 2/15/2012 at 12:33 AM

Yah, I agree with you. My students' research papers look like ransom notes sometimes. I tell them "If there's one thing you take away from this class, it's to use Paste Special".

Comment 2 by Terry Sampson posted on 2/15/2012 at 12:38 AM

Thanks MS for the dreama schema!!!

Comment 3 by Ryan Vikander posted on 2/15/2012 at 12:40 AM

This also works in Outlook as well. If you go to File > Options > Mail > Editor Options you can find the same fields there.

Comment 4 by Raymond Camden posted on 2/15/2012 at 12:41 AM

@Terry: "dreama schema" ?

Comment 5 by Terry Sampson posted on 2/15/2012 at 12:45 AM

Yes. MS Schema that Microsoft is sooo find of using in all their products. They thought it was going to be a dream come true for everyone and make it more useable, hence the 'dreama schema' (he! he! I couldnn't thnk of something that rymed with schema, so I invented a word) :>)

Comment 6 by Terry Sampson posted on 2/15/2012 at 12:46 AM

That should be FOND not FIND :>)

Comment 7 by Derek Winstead posted on 2/15/2012 at 12:48 AM

Feature in Chrome Browser is CTRL+SHIFT+V. It will paste plain text if there is formatting in your copy.

Haven't tried it in other programs, but the browser works (I use it for emails in Gmail a lot).

Comment 8 by Chad Armond posted on 2/15/2012 at 12:52 AM

I use Ditto for that (http://ditto-cp.sourceforge.... It let's me copy plain text to ANY app and also keeps a log of past clipboard entries which is very handy.

Comment 9 by Terry Sampson posted on 2/15/2012 at 12:54 AM

@ Chad.

I like it. Will have to get that.

Comment 10 by John Sieber posted on 2/15/2012 at 1:49 AM

It would be nice if they had an option for copying from word and pasting into an external application, so that it would only copy the text to the clipboard without the formatting.

Comment 11 by Chad Armond posted on 2/15/2012 at 1:57 AM

Sorry, I'd like to try that comment again without the typo and with a little clarification:

I use Ditto for that (http://ditto-cp.sourceforge.... It lets me copy plain text to ANY app with a keyboard shortcut while also keeping a searchable log of past clipboard entries. Very handy when you need to copy 2 items at a time before switching to your paste destination.

Comment 12 by Phillip Senn posted on 2/15/2012 at 3:15 AM

Chad, I use a program called Yankee Clipper that I've had for years now. I'm like you, I LOVE having more than 1 clipboard!

Comment 13 by James Moberg posted on 2/15/2012 at 4:40 AM

Sometimes you may want the styles retained and it's better to consciously paste as plain text (otherwise important information will always be stripped without it being an option.)

I wrote an AutoHotKey script that will paste plain text into any editor, even web-based WYSIWYG editors that do not have a "paste as plain text" option. (I also have it stripping some MS-Only characters.)

NOTE: I also use AutoHotKey for creating hotkey snippets that work in any text editor (Notepad, Eclipse, HomeSite, Word, etc.) AutoHotKey is Windows only and available for free.

Comment 14 by sj posted on 2/15/2012 at 4:03 PM

nice tip Ray...thanks for that...and it looks like the same option is not for ms excel...

Comment 15 by Richard Davies posted on 2/16/2012 at 1:32 AM

THANK YOU!! I've wanted to do that in Outlook for years, but never thought it was possible.