Paste with bold, italics, links in Word, but without font formatting etc

17 August 2015, 04:27

As a professional writer I often need to copy text from a webpage but without also copying the ridiculous choice of fonts, font sizes, or colours.

Until recently I was using FormatMatch but this has now officially blinked out of existence. When I botched an installation of El Cap and had to reinstall everything from scratch, I couldn’t find it anywhere.

What I really need, and which FormatMatch didn’t provide, was the ability to copy and paste text but stripping out all formatting except bold, italics and hyperlinks.

To cut a long story short(er), my solution listed below. I use Word 2011, by the way, because the latest Word 2016 is still a little too buggy and slow for my tastes (Update: I’ve now switched to Word 2016 and it does indeed work fine, although steps below are slightly different — I haven’t rewritten because the changes are extremely obvious):

  1. Open Word’s preferences dialog box, click the Edit icon and ensure Use Smart Cut and Paste is checked.
  2. Go back to the main Word preferences dialog and click the General icon. Ensure the entry headed Include Formatted Text in Clipboard IS NOT checked.
  3. Open System Preferences and click Keyboard, then select the Shortcuts tab. Click the App Shortcuts heading at the bottom left.
  4. Click the Plus button and then select Microsoft Word in the Application dropdown list. You’ll need to click Other at the bottom of this listing and specifically select Word from your Applications listing.
  5. In the Menu Title field, type Paste. Click in the Keyboard Shortcut field below, and tap Shift+Option(Alt)+Cmd+V. I know, I know. This sounds wrong but bear with me.
  6. Click OK, and then repeat the step above but this time in the Menu Title field type Paste and Match Formatting. In the Keyboard Shortcut field, tap Cmd+V. Then click OK.

Within Word, and only in Word, you should now find that copied text is pasted in sans font and colour formatting details, but INCLUDING bold, italics and in-line URLs. If you ever wish to paste in the traditional way, including all formatting, tap Shift+Option(Alt)+Cmd+V. The nice thing about this tip, and which is again something FormatMatch failed at, is that the text in the clipboard remains just as it was copied so you can use it elsewhere if needed. It’s only stripped when pasted.

There’s only one drawback, and that’s that any pictures you happen to include in your copied text will also be pasted into Word. These can be deleted easily, but I suspect the only way to get a better solution than the above would be to write a macro. Let me know if you can do this and I’ll share it here!

Know better?