How to Copy and Paste Text While Stripping It of Its Formatting

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Lots of times people need to copy a piece of text from a website or from a document to an email message or to another text editor. However, texts are often formatted and getting rid of the formatting can be an annoyance. So how does one copy text while stripping it of its format?

Notepad as the Middleman

One way is to use good old Notepad that is part of all Windows installations by default. You can find it in Start > All Programs > Accessories.

Simply copy any text from any source using Ctrl+C, open Notepad, and paste the text into Notepad using Ctrl+V. Notepad is a super simple text editor and it uses no formatting whatsoever. So, all formatting of your text will be instantly gone.

Now, you can use Ctrl+A to select all text in Notepad, again copy it again with Ctrl+C and paste it wherever you want. Once you pasted the selected text into another text editor or some other program, you can format your text as you wish or leave it without formatting.

Mozilla Thunderbird Formatting

If you use Mozilla Thunderbird as your email client, you can cut out the above-mentioned middleman. The creators of Thunderbird were obviously aware of this formatting nuisance, because they included a solution in their email client. Mozilla Thunderbird is free to download and use.

You can copy any text from any source, open Thunderbird, create a new email message and in the body of the message right-click with your mouse and in the drop-down menu select Paste Without Formatting. The result is the same as with the Notepad solution but it is much simpler.

Open Office

Another useful program that has solved the formatting issue is Open Office. Open Office is an excellent, yet completely free, set of office applications.

Within all parts of Open Office, you can simply paste text using the Ctrl+Shift+V keyboard shortcut. This way a Paste Special window pops up, asking you to select whether you wish to apply the existing format or you wish to paste your text as unformatted.

Final Thoughts

I use the above three solutions to get rid of formatting all the time. If you know about other simple methods to unformat texts, please, let me know in the comments below.

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