How To Copy and Paste Plain Text in Windows [Tip]

When you highlight a bunch of text and press Ctrl+C, you are copying not only the content of text but the format of these texts as well into the clipboard. Then when you want to paste them into another application, you are pasting both the content and the format all together at the same time. That’s a normal process of Copy & Paste that we do almost every day on our computers. But in a lot of situations, we only want the text being copied and pasted because the format that comes with the text will often mess up the format we’ve already put in place.

Plain Text splash

Here are some tips you may find helpful when it comes to only copying and pasting the plain text.

In MS Office Word & Outlook

Both MS Word and Outlook have a Paste Special feature that lets you paste unformatted text into the document. You can click Paste button on the Ribbon bar, and choose Paste Special. Then in the popup dialog box, select Unformatted Text, and hit OK.

Word - Paste Special

Word - Paste Special - unformatted

In Google Chrome Browser

It’s interesting that Chrome browser has a hidden feature included that lets you paste a plain text directly into the browser. Filling up information online with rich text format becomes a quite usual thing, which is why this built-in paste in plain text feature will be useful from time to time.

Press keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Shift+V in Chrome will strip all the formatting of the content in the clipboard and paste only the plain text into the browser textbox.

I couldn’t find the same similar hotkeys for other browsers. So if you know, feel free to share.

An Ultimate Tool for everything

But if you need to paste plain text content all the time, you will need a tool that is available for you at all time in whatever application you are using.

PureText is my choice and has been with me for very long time. It’s super easy to set up and use. And it always works. It’s one of the tools that I can’t live without. The best of all, it’s free and portable.

It works on all Windows systems, from Windows 95 all the way to Windows 10 with the support to both 32-bit and 64-bit platforms. Download a version that is suitable for your system, and simply run it. When it’s launched for the first time, you will need to do a little setup to configure which hot-keys you will be using to paste the pure text. I always use Ctrl+G, but you can choose whatever suits you.

PureText Options

Do you have an ultimate tool that works well for you?

Kent Chen

Microsoft MVP, IT Professional, Developer, Geek, and the co-founder of Next of Windows.

Last updated: 07/14/2016

Posted in: Tips & Tricks , Tools
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