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Fix the Word copy-and-paste format annoyance

Don’t you hate it when you copy-and-paste text into MS Word, and the copied item brings with it it’s old formatting thus screwing up your document? Here’s a fix.

First let’s create the macro, which will allow us to paste unformatted text from the Clipboard into your documents. If you’ve never created a macro before, this one provides both a good learning experience and a useful function.

To create the macro to cut and paste without formatting

1. Start Word.
2. On the Tools menu, point to Macro, and then click Macros to display the Macros dialog box.
3. In the Macro name box, type PasteUnformattedText.
4. Make sure that All active templates and documents is displayed in the Macros in list, and then click Create. The Microsoft Visual Basic® Editor is displayed.

Note If you need to learn about the Visual Basic Editor, see the Power User Corner column Managing Macros with the Visual Basic Editor.
5. Directly above the End Sub statement in the PasteUnformattedText subroutine, type the following line of code:

Selection.PasteSpecial DataType:=wdPasteText

6. On the File menu, click Close and Return to Microsoft Word.

Now you need to instruct Word to run the PasteUnformattedText macro each time you press the CTRL+V keyboard shortcut.
To run the macro each time you press CTRL+V

1. On the Tools menu, click Customize.
2. Click the Keyboard button.
3. Make sure the Save changes in box displays Normal.dot.
4. In the Categories list, click Macros.
5. In the Macros list, click PasteUnformattedText.
6. Click in the Press new shortcut key box, press and hold the CTRL key, and then press and hold the V key at the same time. The Press new shortcut key box displays Ctrl+V.
7. Click Assign. Click Close and then click Close again.

That’s it! Now, every time you press CTRL+V, Word pastes text from the Clipboard without the formatting.

If you ever want to return the CTRL+V keyboard shortcut to its default behavior, it’s very easy to do.

To return the CTRL+V shortcut to its default behavior

1. On the Tools menu, click Customize.
2. Click the Keyboard button.
3. Make sure the Save changes in box displays Normal.dot.
4. In the Categories list, click Macros.
5. In the Macros list, click PasteUnformattedText.
6. In the Current keys box, click Ctrl+V and then click Remove.
7. Click Close, and then click Close again.

The CTRL+V keyboard shortcut now pastes text and any formatting from the Clipboard by default. However, the PasteUnformattedText macro is still available if you ever want to use it again. (via MS)

{ 9 comments… add one }
  • Jane K September 14, 2008, 5:50 pm

    Just wanted to thank you.
    I’m finishing up my PhD thesis and have been having this particular word problem (amongst others – don’t get me started on Endnote) with 90,000 words of text for over a month now and no one – not even IT support at my uni – has come through with a good answer. So finding your post is a huge coup and I’m off to try your solution right now.

  • Michael October 2, 2008, 11:45 am

    THANK YOU! worked a charm.

    I assigned CTRL B so I could use CTRL V for those moments when I want formatting and CTRL B when i dont!

    Thanks again. Your great!

    Michael

  • Anonymous October 27, 2008, 8:36 am

    Thanks. Finally a decent explanation.

  • Doctor Flange November 10, 2008, 7:51 am

    Thanks. That’s been annoying me for YEARS.

  • Gordon December 4, 2008, 10:11 am

    I programmed Alt V
    works well, easy keystroke, logical to remember (alternative to the Control V)

    Gordon Schiff

  • LoRezSky April 20, 2009, 4:12 pm

    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU 🙂 this article will probably still be relevant for Office 2025 (sigh)

  • Anonymous September 18, 2009, 2:06 am

    Why has,nt anybody complained of this before is beyond me.. I,ve been looking for some sort of info about the copy/paste/unformatted subject for years and NOTHING – IT friends, search engines etc..no luck.
    I take my hat off to you.Thank you!

  • edgar March 30, 2010, 5:27 pm

    hey! it worked. just as an FYI though u didnt instruct to hit the keyboard button when assigning CTRL+V. so i got lost for a little bit. thanks it worked awesome.

  • edgar March 30, 2010, 5:30 pm

    and on more thing. when you do CTRL+V after you follow the steps it works as it indicates just fine. but u can still print the copied text if u right click and select "paste" and it will copy everything including the formatting.

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