Pasting Without Formatting on Mac

how to paste on mac without formatting

How to paste on mac without formatting can seem like a daunting task. However, this guide will detail the most effective ways to paste text without carrying over any unwanted formatting. By exploring native Apple solutions, popular third-party apps, and Microsoft Word shortcuts, you can effortlessly maintain the integrity of your text across various platforms.

Understanding the Complexities of Text Formatting Issues

Copy-pasting is a fundamental operation in the realm of computing. However, this seemingly straightforward process can bring its fair share of complications. When we copy text from an online source or word processor, it inherently carries a variety of invisible attributes. These invisible characteristics include formatting properties that define the text’s style, font, size, and color. While these properties are beneficial within their original context, they can often conflict with the destination platform’s styling rules when the text is pasted.

The result? The pasted text might look out of place or disrupt the existing layout of the webpage or document. This is because the formatting styles accompanying the copied text might not match the styles of the target platform, leading to inconsistencies in the appearance of your content. But fear not! macOS, along with other popular software, offers numerous solutions for you to paste unformatted or plain text. Let’s delve into some of these methods.

Apple’s Native Solution: Paste and Match Style

Apple provides its own solution to the formatting problem via the “Paste and Match Style” option. This function is available under the Edit menu in most Apple applications that allow text entry, such as Pages or Notes. What does it do? Essentially, it strips away most of the formatting attributes from the copied text and matches the styling of the destination location.

However, it’s essential to note that the “Paste and Match Style” operation does not remove all styling elements. For example, hyperlinks and certain font attributes may still be retained. Nevertheless, this is a handy tool for the majority of everyday text transfer tasks where you want the pasted text to adapt to the existing text style seamlessly.

Microsoft Word’s Techniques: Paste Unformatted Text

As one of the most widely used word processing tools, Microsoft Word offers several paste commands that come to the rescue when dealing with formatting issues. Like Apple, it features a “Paste and Match Formatting” option, stripping away most, but not all, of the copied text’s formatting attributes.

However, Word goes a step further with its “Paste Special” set of options. In this menu, you can find the “Unformatted Text” option. Choosing to paste as “Unformatted Text” ensures that all rich-text attributes are removed from your copied text. This includes all formatting such as fonts, styles, hyperlinks, and more, leaving you with plain, simple text.

A Surefire Method: The Text-only Editor Trick

If you’re looking for a more foolproof method, consider leveraging a text-only editor. These apps, due to their lack of support for rich-text formatting, will strip all styles and fonts from the pasted text. You can then re-copy this now unstyled text and paste it wherever you want.

A prime example of such an app is BBEdit, a powerful text editor known for its robust features and user-friendly interface. While BBEdit is not free, it does retain basic functionality such as the one we’re interested in – pasting text without formatting – even after the 30-day free trial period. Other free alternatives to BBEdit include applications like TextWrangler or Notepad++.

Tapping into Third-Party Solutions: Using Pastebot to Strip Formatting

Pastebot, a utility from Tapbots, offers a more advanced solution to our problem. With Pastebot, you can set a keyboard shortcut to paste the current clipboard content as plain, unformatted text. This function can save you plenty of time and effort, especially if you frequently copy-paste content.

But that’s not all. Pastebot also boasts a filter feature. This allows you to reformat text on the clipboard before it’s pasted. With a bit of setting up, you can have your copied text auto-formatted in a way that suits your needs before you paste it.

Microsoft’s Recent Addition: Paste Text Only Shortcut

Microsoft has recently added a new shortcut to its suite of Word software for both Windows and Mac. The Paste Text Only shortcut, activated by Ctrl + Shift + V (Cmd + Shift + V on Mac), ensures the pasted content matches the neighboring text formatting. This is a welcome addition for anyone dealing with frequent copy-pasting, as it simplifies the process of pasting without formatting.

Ensuring Accessibility and Keeping Up with Updates in Keyboard Shortcuts

In an effort to make Word more accessible and responsive to user feedback, Microsoft has updated some existing keyboard shortcuts. They’ve swapped the “Copy Format Painter” and “Paste Format Painter” shortcuts, among others. However, users who are accustomed to the previous shortcut settings can restore their preferred configurations. This can be done by following the instructions provided in the Customize Keyboard Shortcuts help article provided by Microsoft.

Extra Tips and Tricks for Microsoft Word Paste Options

Microsoft Word also provides options to modify your paste behavior further. You can disable the pasting of numbers and bullet icons, use the Paste Options floatie for more control over the pasting process, or change your default paste options through the Advanced settings menu. These options can help customize the paste function to suit your individual requirements.

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How to Use “Paste and Match Style” on Your Mac

When working with documents, emails, or various applications on your Mac, copying and pasting text may carry over not just the text, but also its styling. This includes fonts, colors, boldness, italics, underlines, and more. Sometimes, this is not desired as you might want the pasted text to follow the specific style of the document you’re working in. Here we will explore how to use the “paste and match style” feature on your Mac, which allows you to paste text without the original formatting and instead, have it conform to the style of your existing document.

The Basics of Paste and Match Style

On your Mac, when you copy text from one document to another, it often brings along the styling such as font, color, boldness, etc. However, sometimes, you might want the text to follow the existing style in the document you’re working on. For instance, if you have a text in Arial bold 24 point and you want to paste it into an email that’s in Helvetica 24, not bold, you might not want to bring over the styling. The regular paste will retain the original style, but by using the “paste and match style” option in the edit menu, or its keyboard shortcut, you can ensure the text follows the existing style where the text cursor is.

Different Applications and Usage

The “paste and match style” function works in many different applications, including Pages, TextEdit, and even third-party apps like Microsoft Word. In Pages and TextEdit, you’ll find the option right under the regular paste in the edit menu. In Microsoft Word, there might be a slightly different option called “paste and match formatting,” or even a “paste special” option to paste unformatted text. The exact method may vary based on the app you’re using, but the functionality is generally the same.

Converting to Plain Text and Clipboard Options

If you’re having trouble using “paste and match style,” or if you want to completely strip all styles from the text, you can use a plain text document as an intermediary. Copy the text, paste it into a plain text document (like a plain text file in TextEdit), and then copy and paste from there. This will strip all styling and colors, allowing you to paste plain text that follows the existing style in your destination document. Some clipboard managers also allow you to paste plain text, giving you even more control over the styling of your copied text.

The “paste and match style” functionality on your Mac can be an invaluable tool when working across different documents and applications. By understanding how to utilize this feature, you can ensure that the text you’re pasting follows the desired styling, making your work more coherent and professional. Whether you’re using native Mac apps or third-party applications, the ability to paste text without original styling offers flexibility and control, enhancing your overall workflow on your Mac. Remember to explore the options available in the application you’re using, as they might vary slightly. Stay tuned to more helpful tutorials and hit the Subscribe button so you don’t miss out!

Wrapping Up: Mastering How to Paste on Mac Without Formatting

In conclusion, how to paste on mac without formatting is a simple task once you know the tricks of the trade. From native Apple software to Microsoft Word and third-party apps like Pastebot, there are multiple ways to ensure your text remains clean and consistent across platforms. Understanding and utilizing these techniques will significantly enhance your productivity and efficiency while maintaining the quality and consistency of your content.


What is the problem with pasting text with formatting?

When text is copied, it carries invisible formatting properties that can conflict with the styling rules of the destination platform. This can cause inconsistencies in the appearance of your content.

How does Apple’s ‘Paste and Match Style’ function work?

‘Paste and Match Style’ strips away most of the formatting attributes from the copied text and matches the styling of the destination location.

How does Microsoft Word’s ‘Paste Unformatted Text’ function work?

The ‘Paste Unformatted Text’ option under the ‘Paste Special’ menu ensures that all rich-text attributes are removed from your copied text, leaving you with plain, simple text.

What is the text-only editor trick for pasting text without formatting?

Pasting your text into a text-only editor first will strip all styles and fonts from the text. You can then re-copy this unstyled text and paste it wherever you want.

How does the Pastebot app help in pasting text without formatting?

With Pastebot, you can set a keyboard shortcut to paste the current clipboard content as plain, unformatted text. You can also use the filter feature to reformat text on the clipboard before it’s pasted.

What is the Microsoft’s ‘Paste Text Only’ shortcut?

The ‘Paste Text Only’ shortcut, activated by Ctrl + Shift + V (Cmd + Shift + V on Mac), ensures the pasted content matches the neighboring text formatting.