Paste text without the formatting into a Word document

Power User Corner

By Frank C. Rice

Learn how to create and use a simple macro that will let you paste text into a document in Microsoft Word 2000 or 2002, without the text's original formatting.

Applies to
Microsoft Word 2002

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When you copy and paste formatted text into a Microsoft Word 2002 document, the Paste Options smart tag appears, which provides an option to paste the text without the formatting. This is handy if, for example, you don't want to mix formatting styles in your document.

However, there are a couple of reasons why you might not want to use the Paste Options smart tag. First, if you're like me, you frequently use the keyboard to copy (CTRL+C) and paste (CTRL+V) text. This means that to use the Paste Options smart tag you must remove your hand from the keyboard, use the mouse to click the Paste Options smart tag and select an option, and then return your hand to the keyboard to continue working. If, like me, you do this operation a couple of dozen times a day, it can represent a substantial interruption in your work flow. Second, the Paste Options smart tag isn't available in earlier versions of Word. You could use the Paste Special option on the Edit menu to paste unformatted text, but then you are back to using extra mouse clicks.

In this article, I'll show you how to create a simple macro that replaces the default behavior of the CTRL+V keyboard shortcut so that it pastes the text without the formatting.

Create and run the macro

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.

  1. Directly above the End Sub statement in the PasteUnformattedText subroutine, type the following line of code:
Selection.PasteSpecial DataType:=wdPasteText
  1. 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.

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About the author

Frank C. Rice works for the Office Developer Center team. In addition to contributing to the Office Power User Corner column, Frank writes developer articles for the Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN).

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