Different Ways To Copy Text Without Formatting

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:

Paste Special function in Office Documents

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.

Amit Banerjee is the founding editor and owner of Ampercent. He is a die hard technology enthusiast and writes about all things technology, How to guides, tutorials and search engines. Follow him on Twitter, read his personal blog or drop him an email.