Mac Productivity

How to Always Copy & Paste Text Without Formatting in Mac

Saikat Basu 21-09-2017

If you take an everyday chore and shave a few seconds off, you’ll earn a lifetime of extra productivity. This rule also holds true for something we do every day on the computer: copying and pasting text snippets from one apps to another.


If you are anything like me, I am sure you also hate copy-pasting text “with formatting.” You would always prefer to remove any traces of the original format and follow the format of the target document.

So, let’s see how we can remove some of our frustration by eliminating the original format when we copy-paste in macOS How to Copy and Paste on a Mac Our look at how to copy and paste on Mac gives you everything you need to manage your clipboard like a pro. Read More . The answer is a keyboard shortcut.

How to Paste Everything as Plain Text

Try to copy something from a web page into your email, and you’ll find that the result is distorted by HTML and other unnecessary bits. Here’s how you can prevent that using a simple workaround that does not rely on the use of a third-party app.

  1. Open System Preferences from the Apple menu and select Keyboard.
  2. On the Keyboard panel, select the tab for Shortcuts.
  3. Scroll down the list on the left and select App Shortcuts.
  4. Click the “+” below the boxes to add a shortcut.
  5. Select All Applications for Application input box. This (theoretically) will apply the shortcut across the board.
  6. Type Paste and Match Style into the Menu Title input box. This takes the copied text and pastes it in using the current document’s formatting.

How to Always Copy & Paste Text Without Formatting in Mac Copy Paste Plain Text

  1. In the Keyboard Shortcut input box, type Command + V. This adds the Command sign followed by a “V” in this box.
  2. Click Add.

Here, what we are actually doing is re-mapping the more complicated Option + Shift + Command + V keyboard shortcut for “Paste and Match Style” to the simpler Command + V keyboard shortcut. This easy tweak will save you some finger gymnastics.


It Works Everywhere Except…

This keyword hack doesn’t work in Microsoft Word. Instead, you can use the Command + Control + V shortcut to display the Paste Special dialog box and then choose Unformatted Text from there. For most other needs, the tweak will work (and reduce your frustration).

For more on this procedure, check out how to copy and paste on iPhone How to Copy and Paste on Your iPhone How do you copy and paste on your iPhone? You will be surprised at the tiny tips that lie behind this simple task. Read More .

Explore more about: Keyboard Shortcuts, Mac Tricks.

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  1. jeff
    April 29, 2020 at 5:24 pm

    Thank you! Brilliant! As I read the instructions and follow them, I am thinking this doesn't sound right. It sounds like the opposite of what I want to do, but it works! I have no idea why but I'm grateful. My approach would have been to map command - V to paste as plain text, but clearly that would not work. I make the comment to say, as an independent Apple consultant, I wish I understood better the reason this works.

  2. Ashley
    April 22, 2020 at 12:07 pm

    This doesn't work for me :( But i'm also on Catalina which is buggy. Any other help?

  3. Lana
    July 12, 2019 at 3:55 am

    THANKYOU! Works so well!

  4. Boaty Mcboatface
    May 9, 2019 at 7:36 pm

    Thank you, this is great

  5. Kevin Bartlett
    May 6, 2019 at 5:41 pm

    This has been annoying me for years, and it only just occurred to me today that it might be a setting that can be modified, rather than being something I just have to put up with. This article showed me the way!

  6. Randy Cain
    March 23, 2019 at 5:50 pm

    Doesn't seem to work in Evernote, but still happy to have it set up on my Mac if it works for other stuff. :)

  7. Cyberpaws
    December 1, 2018 at 6:05 pm

    Excellent! For years I've been copying & pasting text into plain-text TextEdit documents, and then recopying it to strip out style elements (very inefficient). This will save me a lot of time and inconvenience. Also can't believe I didn't know about custom keyboard shortcuts like this in general!

  8. APT
    October 16, 2018 at 3:44 pm

    Big help. Thank you.
    I can't imagine why this is not the default setting for paste.

  9. Florian
    August 25, 2018 at 8:29 am

    This is awesome.
    I played around with it and found an even more sophisticated solution with which you can use it also for word and every other programme.
    In some programmes the entires are called differently. You will have to put them in as well.
    Also the normal Paste command has to be remapped. Because when you only change "paste and match" to cmd+v you will end up with two entries of cmd+v in the menu. Which will result in the programme envoking the first which is usually just "Paste". So change "Paste" as well and you'll be fine.
    Also note: if you change the normal paste command it can be that you encounter programmes where the pasting does not work. Go up to the menu and take a look at it. It uses yet another string for "paste and match" so put it in as well and it works.
    Word, chrome and Accordance use 3 different entry names for the same thing. Kind of a pain :D But a small one to endure given the fast fix

  10. Art101
    March 29, 2018 at 4:33 pm

    Brilliant! This has been making me bonkers for years. I never thought to look in Keyboard prefs. Thank you so much for this tip!

  11. Christian Saborío
    January 3, 2018 at 3:59 am

    Works great, thank you! :-)

  12. Manoj pal
    September 30, 2017 at 7:16 pm

    Something achieve in a life do hard and then do smart you are combo no one stop ? U

  13. Onenote
    September 22, 2017 at 5:08 am

    Dude, Office Lens.

  14. Keith
    September 21, 2017 at 2:46 pm

    Great tip, thanks! I hardly ever want to paste with formatting, so it's good that now CMD-V will paste without the formatting.