Copy and Paste Without Formatting

In Mac OS X, when you copy and paste text from one place to another it retains the text formatting. That can be cool, or it can be very time consuming. And annoying. Particularly if you are doing a copy and paste from a web site. I know this for a fact because I have to legitimately do it almost every day.

No one wants to have to copy and paste and then highlight and select font and size and make changes. Way to 1990’s.

You can copy, and then in apps like TextEdit and Pages, select “Paste and Match Style” from the Edit Menu. That works perfectly, but if you are updating a 100 page document it can get old quickly.

In some apps, holding down Shift+Option+Command+V will paste without formatting. You may have to practice that one

There is even a way to do this in Microsoft Office applications. In the older version that I have you can choose Edit > Paste Special > Unformatted Text. That gets old in a hurry. I understand that in newer versions you can choose Edit > Paste and Match Formatting.

Of course, once you have pasted in the unformatted text, you probably have to then format it to match what you are working on. Sigh.

There is always the option of just copying in everything you need to copy, selecting Command+A to select everything at once, and then changing the font and size of everything at once and eliminating a few of the steps.  Even this won’t work with some things though.

For instance, if you want just text, not images, or ads, it has been my experience that my only option has been to choose the Paste and Match Style option. That always gives me just the text.  I have also had incidents when I had to use the Paste and Match Style option because my attempts to do a simple copy and paste resulted in information copying to only a slender column on the left side of the page. That same material copied perfectly when I used Paste and Match Style. My best theory is that is had something to do with programming, but it has happened multiple times.

So, please be aware of your options and find ways to make the whole process as simple as possible if you are faced with copying and pasting issues.

This entry was posted in Mac Tips, Mountain Lion Tips, Pages Tips, Safari Tips, TextEdit Tips. Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to Copy and Paste Without Formatting

  1. Stace says:

    Thanks, I have been wondering how to do this. It works with Notes which is where I commonly want it.

  2. Chad Warner says:

    I’m new to OS X, and wanted to paste without formatting into the WordPress editor. I googled and found your post, then tried Shift+Option+Command+V, and it worked. Thank you!

  3. Neeraj says:

    Thanks Shift option command V Rocks

  4. Appreciating the dedication you put into your website and in depth information you provide.
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  5. brelahlah says:

    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!! You saved me an hour of trying to find out what the heck to do. You were thorough, short and sweet.

  6. Batman says:

    This is damn useful. Thank you

  7. Dimitri says:

    There is a way to automatically make Cmd-V “paste and match style” every time, in every application. It’s very useful, and it’s easy to disable for those few times you need to copy with formatting.

    Open ‘System Preferences’
    Select ‘Keyboard’
    Select tab ‘Keyboard Shortcuts’
    Select ‘Application Shortcuts’ from the left listbox
    Click ‘+’ below right listbox
    Select ‘All Applications’ for ‘Application’ input box
    Type ‘Paste and Match Style’ into the ‘Menu Title’ input box
    In the ‘Keyboard Shortcut’ input box, pretend that you are about to paste something by typing command-v. There should now be the cloverleaf command sign followed by a -v in this box.
    Click add.

    Done! 🙂

  8. This also is handy in email, in Apple’s Mail program. Even works with quoted text (stuff that is indented and colored). Easiest clean-up method there is!

  9. Tahlia says:

    I’m using the latest Pages; the command option shift V or paste and match style doesn’t work for me. I do a lot of copying from webpages, especially articles that are useful for me, and I usually want to copy that exact style (weight,colour etc) but that paste and match style doesn’t work. What can I do?

    • macnancy says:

      Hi Tahlia, Try using Grab. It is a utility found in the utilities folder. You can capture a portion of a page, a whole window, or even a timed screen. It is extremely easy to use and I think it will solve your problem. I use it so often that I keep the icon in my dock for instant access.

  10. chezron says:

    Please tell me how to paste with formatting from the original? I copy and paste from a Word. document and it makes some weirdly spaced skinny column instead of a paragraph and it is driving me crazy! I have a Mac. Also, the fonts are weird, even after selecting and changing to a standard font, it still sends as differently sized. I HATE Word! I much prefer InDesign, but cannot use it for what i am doing.

    • macnancy says:

      Hi Chezron. I feel your pain. I told my children that I wanted my tombstone to say “I hate Microsoft Word”. Please tell me what application you are trying to paste into. I easily solved this problem when pasting into TextEdit or Pages, but it sounds like you are using something different. I’ll be happy to try and help.

  11. MacMe says:

    You can also use the free app Get Plain Text. Works for all apps and programs.

  12. Tech says:

    Looks easy and also.easy to learn and understand. Thanks for this info

  13. Roald Ader says:

    I use the app Plain text copy from the App store. Works awesome in all programs, including Word. https://itunes.apple.com/se/app/plain-text-copy/id1297888715

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