One of my all-time Microsoft Word annoyances is Word’s assumption that when you paste text into your document, the text should carry with it all the formatting from where you copied it. The problem shows up most frequently when I copy text from a web page or from an email message that isn’t written in plain text. This annoyance makes writing technical documents with Word much more annoying.

If you don’t know what I mean, open a new Word document, go to a web page of your choice, copy some text from the web and paste it in your document. Word is pretty good about picking up everything you copied, including hyperlinks and the various HTML formatting.

But most of the time, I’m copying the text into an existing document with existing formats and fonts. I don’t want the formatting from the web page (or email message, or whatever), I just want the text. How I formerly told Word to paste the text without the formatting was a little convoluted:

Edit / Paste Special... / As Unformatted Text / OK

Of course, since I prefer keyboard shortcuts, I’d actually do an:

Alt-E / S / U / U / Enter

because it’s faster for me. Unfortunately, that was about as short as I could get this “shortcut.” Word provides no keyboard shortcut, such as Shift-Ctrl-V, to paste just the text from the clipboard. I know because I pretty much went through all of Word’s help documents, figuring there MUST be a way.

After living with this annoyance for too long, I finally looked beyond Microsoft for a solution and found this tutorial by Herb Tyson that explains how to create a macro to reproduce my several-step process into one keyboard shortcut. Now, when I press Shift-Ctrl-V, Word obediently pastes the clipboard text as text, just like I wanted. Finally, one Word annoyance down.