Pasting text without formatting – revisited (yet again)

26 February 2016, 03:15

It seems I’m constantly striving to find methods and apps that let me paste in text I copy from a web page, minus its formatting – so no fancy fonts, no colored text, no links, and so on. Just the words, ma’am.

My tool of choice until a few years ago was FormatMatch but that’s now been withdrawn by its creator. Since then I’ve developed other techniques but for a better solution that works in all apps I now suggest Get Plain Text. It’s free of charge from the Mac App Store.

It’s a nice little app that keeps out the way.

Like FormatMatch, the app lives in the menu bar but before use you’ll need to activate always-on format stripping. To do so, click the menu bar icon and select Automatically Clear Formatting. Alternatively, you can assign the app a keyboard shortcut so that it strips formatting on demand, but otherwise leaves the contents of the clipboard untouched. Just click Setup Keyboard Shortcut on the app’s menu, click in the box, then press the shortcut that you’d like to use. Note that this shortcut only strips formatting from the clipboard contents, and you’ll still subsequently need to tap Cmd+V to paste it in.

I haven’t yet found a way of pasting without formatting on the iPhone or iPad, other than the hacky trick of tapping within the Search field of Spotlight (drag down on the main apps listing), then pasting in the text, and then immediately cutting it back to the clipboard for pasting in elsewhere. This strips out the formatting because the search field has no comprehension of things like bold and italics, but it also removes any line breaks.

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