Paste Text Without Changing Formatting

Summary: Use Word 2007’s Paste Special command to paste text into documents without changing the current formatting.

If you are a frequent user of Microsoft Word and other Windows programs, you have probably copied/cut and pasted text between documents.

As with other software, to paste documents into Microsoft Word you can either select “Paste” from the “Edit” menu or press CTRL + V.

In Microsoft Word 2007, the keyboard shortcut still works. Or, access the Ribbon’s “Home” tab and click on the “Paste” command in the “Clipboard” group.

However, sometimes the formatting of pasted text overwrites the formatting in the current document. For example, if you are writing a paragraph in 12 pt Times New Roman, and pasting text, such as that from an e-mail message, that is marked as 16 pt Impact, the below movie shows what normally happens:
Pasting text with different formatting in Word 2007

To avoid this problem you can use the “Paste Special” command”, pasting the text as “Unformatted”. This way, the current formatting of the destination document will be used for the pasted text. The only downside is that if your pasted text includes additional formatting such as bold and underline, such formatting will have to be redone.

Using the Ribbon

1. Select the “Home” tab in the Ribbon.

2. Click the down-arrow underneath the “Paste” button in the Clipboard group, selecting “Paste Special” from the pop-up menu that appears.

3. The “Paste Special” dialog box appears. Select “Unformatted Text” or “Unformatted Unicode Text” as needed.

4. Click “OK” to close the dialog box.

Using the keyboard

1. Press Alt + Ctrl + V.

2. Move the selection cursor with the Up or Down arrow keys, selecting “Unformatted Text” or “Unformatted Unicode Text” as needed. Or, usually you can just press U to jump to this option.

3. Press the Enter key.