The quick and simple way to paste plain text

The free PureText utility lets you paste text from the Web and applications without the formatting, images, and other nontext elements.

"If you want something done right, do it yourself."

"Why reinvent the wheel?"

That sums up a conversation I had with a coworker after I told him about the macro I created in Microsoft Word that converts my Ctrl-V keyboard shortcut into one that pastes text from a Web site, some other app, or elsewhere, minus the formatting, images, and any other nontext stuff. The fact is, I rarely want to paste anything but the text, and I want it in the format of the file it's being added to, not the format of the source.

I thought this handy-dandy trick was a first-rate time-saver, especially when you consider that for those rare instances when I want to preserve the formatting of the source, or to include elements other than text, I simply press Shift-Insert.

My buddy said he could do me one better: He presses the Windows key and V to paste plain text he has copied from just about anywhere, into just about any application, not just Word. And he didn't have to go through a multistep process to create a Word macro. All he did was download Steve Miller's free PureText utility.

The PureText plain-paste utility
The PureText freebie from Steve Miller makes pasting plain text a breeze.

After you download the program, it puts an icon in your system tray. Then you just copy the text you want, click the icon before you press Windows-V to paste it without the formatting, or anything else except the text. You can choose another key combination as long as one of the keys is either the Shift, Ctrl, or the Windows key, but I stick with the default keys because they avoid conflicts with other shortcuts. Speaking of which....

Tomorrow: I'll give you a list of the most useful keyboard shortcuts you probably don't know about.

About the author

    Dennis O'Reilly began writing about workplace technology as an editor for Ziff-Davis' Computer Select, back when CDs were new-fangled, and IBM's PC XT was wowing the crowds at Comdex. He spent more than seven years running PC World's award-winning Here's How section, beginning in 2000. O'Reilly has written about everything from web search to PC security to Microsoft Excel customizations. Along with designing, building, and managing several different web sites, Dennis created the Travel Reference Library, a database of travel guidebook reviews that was converted to the web in 1996 and operated through 2000.

     

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