If you’ve ever copied something from a web page and pasted it into another program like Word or Excel, you’ve probably experienced the pleasure of seeing your text show up with all it’s fancy formatting still intact. Yep, that title you just copied from that website pops into Excel as Bold 24pt Times New Roman, when all you wanted was plain simple text. So what do you do if you want to paste your text as unformatted text?
There used to be basically two ways to paste your text into an application like Excel without any text formatting.
- You could click on “Paste Special” and choose Paste Values.
- You could paste the text into Notepad, select it again, re-copy it, then paste it into Excel.
Both methods worked, but some applications don’t have a “Paste Special” option so I adopted the second method. It also didn’t hurt that I was already one of those keyboard shortcut geeks. Here is the whole process from start to finish…
I would select the text I wanted to copy, press Control+C to copy it, open Notepad, press Control+V to paste it into Notepad, then select it all again by pressing Control+A, copy it again with another Control+C and finally use Control+V to paste it into the application I was using.
Talk about taking the long way around!
The Pain of Pasting Stuff
A little while back, I had a particularly large amount of text to copy and paste like this and after an hour I had enough. There had to be a better way. I eagerly searched for a solution and eventually came across a small gold nugget that ended up changing my life.
I no longer have to suffer the pain of pasting stuff into Notepad just to remove the formatting. Best of all, it’s just as simple as using Control+V when pasting. So what did I find?
It turns out that a guy called Steve Miller had developed a tiny program that stripped out all the formatting from any copied text, so that you could paste it into an application as plain simple text. Woohoo!
Steve calls his program PureText. Just put it in your Windows Startup folder and you can forget about pasting anything into Notepad (just to remove the formatting) ever again. There’s no fancy installation program, no bells or whistles. Just a little program that sits in your system tray. PureText only takes 30K of hard drive space and a negligable amount of memory. Best of all, it’s completely free – Thanks Steve!
So how does PureText work?