04 Oktober, 2007

Copy and Paste Without the Baggage

Have you ever tried to copy something simple from a web page into Outlook or MS Word only to see it mess up your formatting? The Windows clipboard helps you by copying the formatting information from the website. Sometimes thats exactly what you want, but more often its incompatible with the formatting of the document or e-mail you are pasting it into. So how do you stop that helpfulness? You cant turn off the rich format feature, but there are ways around it. Here are two simple workarounds:

The First Way
Copy your text as you normally would. Then in your document select Edit | Paste Special You will get the following dialog box:

Select Unformatted Text and then press OK. Not exactly as easy as Ctrl+C/Ctrl+V, but it keeps from messing up your document or e-mail. These steps work exactly the same in Outlook, if you are using MS Word as the engine for writing e-mail.

The Second Way
Copy your text as you normally would. Then open NotePad (not WordPad) or an equivalent text-only editor. (We prefer TextPad, but that is going to be an article in and of itself.) You are going to use NotePad as a staging area to strip off the extra formatting that tags along in the clipboard. So, paste your clipping into NotePad and then copy it again and then paste that into the MS Word or Outlook. Although this method is cumbersome, for some software you may have to resort to this if it doesnt have a Paste Special feature.