Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, and 2013. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Plain Text Pasting as the Default.

Plain Text Pasting as the Default

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 28, 2014)


When you paste information in a document, from the Clipboard, there are generally several different ways that Word can paste it. If you do a Ctrl+C or a Ctrl+X to place information on the Clipboard, you can see the different ways that Word could paste the data by displaying the Paste Special dialog box. (Click the down-arrow under the Paste tool in the Clipboard group of the ribbon, then choose Paste Special.) (See Figure 1.)

Figure 1. The Paste Special dialog box.

Of course, when you press Ctrl+V to paste, Word must choose one of the available pasting methods to use in the actual paste operation. The method chosen by Word depends on the type of data you are pasting.

If you do a lot of pasting of text from other programs, you may want to make the default pasting method Unformatted Text, which means that the text is placed in the document with no formatting whatsoever. (The same as choosing Unformatted Text from the Paste Special dialog box.) There is no way to configure this in Word, but you can use a very, very simple macro to do the pasting for you:

Sub InsertAsPlainText()
    On Error GoTo F
    Selection.PasteSpecial Link:=False, DataType:=wdPasteText, _
      Placement:=wdInLine, DisplayAsIcon:=False
    Exit Sub
F: Beep
End Sub

You can assign this macro to a tool on the Quick Access Toolbar or you can assign it to a keyboard shortcut. In fact, you can assign it to the Ctrl+V shortcut, which means that it replaces the normal pasting behavior of Ctrl+V.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (13144) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Plain Text Pasting as the Default.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...


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What is 1 + 8?

2014-07-01 07:56:01

Martin Shingler

Fantastic. I repeatedly have had to use paste special (2003) and now select the paste type (2010) to simply paste text into my formatted document without bringing in additional formatting from the source. This macro and comment together will fix the problem. Thanks

2014-06-30 09:59:28

Michael Virostko

Hell, I am left handed and for the past 24 have been using CTRL+INS for copying, SHIFT+INS for pasting.

2014-06-30 09:34:18


What's the difference between the macro and the "Keep Text Only" option found in File > Options > Advanced > Cut, copy, and paste options (Word 2010)?

2014-06-28 11:51:52


If you are going to make paste as plain text the default for Ctrl + V then I would suggest that you tell Word to use the INS key as the old way of pasting. You can set this in your Word Options, That way you have pretty much single key access to either method. I've been doing this for several years.

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