I hardly ever want to paste with formatting when copying into Word 2016 or Excel 2016 (seriously, who wants fonts when copying into a spreadsheet?). Is there a way to set the default paste to paste text only when I hit Cmd+V?


In a roundabout fashion yes, mostly...

In MS Office their version of "Paste as plain text" is called "Paste and Match Style and uses the macOS system defaults (OptionCommandShiftV) for paste as plain text for that function.

Now if you don't want to have to do that four finger salute just to paste (essentially) plain text, you can change the menu shortcuts in any application via the Keyboard Preference pane.

  1. Click on System Preferences > Keyboard > Shortcuts > App Shortcuts
  2. Click the + button and from the Application menu select (for example) Microsoft Word.
  3. Enter the menu title that you want to change. noting that the menu that you want to assign or reassign it's keyboard shortcut much match exactly what the menu says down to the capitalization.
  4. Click in the Keyboard Shortcut field and tap the keyboard shortcut you want to assign to that menu option, then click Add
  5. Repeat for any other keyboard shortcuts you want to add/change in any other applications you want to change them for.

In this example I reassigned "Paste" to OptionCommandShift V. And "Paste and match Formatting" to CommandV.

Keyboard Shortcuts Preferences

I didn't do this for all applications as I don't want to chance messing up the behavior of other applications that you can copy/paste with.

NOTE that this is not really "paste plain text" but will give you at least some of that functionality with very little pain.

To really get paste plain text in an MS Office application you would likely need something that could capture a regular paste command and then select the plain text icon from the formatting menu that pops up at the insertion point after you paste. There may be a macro program out there that can do that but I am unaware of any specific ones with that functionality.

  • 1
    Note that there is no solution for (at least) PowerPoint 2016, as the only menu options are "Paste" and "Paste Special...". – jvriesem Oct 9 '17 at 19:06
  • The standard MacOS keyboard shortcut to paste unformatted text is shift-option-command-v. I therefore used Steve_Chambers' solution and added a Microsoft Word.app shortcut as follows: Unformatted Text assigned to shift-option-command-v. For the moment it works for me. – pdeli Jan 21 '18 at 16:57
  • Funny that "Paste and Match Formatting" works, but "Paste and Keep Text Only" doesn't. – Andrew Fox May 7 at 22:19

Steve Chambers solution works for Word, but not for Excel, because there simply is no "Paste and Match Formatting" command in Excel. Only Paste or Paste Special. Thus for Excel, I believe the answer is no, unfortunately. But I'd love to proven otherwise.

  • Sad, but true. Mac Excel has a Quick Access Toolbar button called "Paste and Match Destination Formatting", which is helpful as a button, but also does not work as a Mac Keyboard Shortcut. – Joe Fletcher Feb 16 '18 at 14:11

Here is the definite solution for all versions:

  • Select a cell and copy it.
  • Go to Tools > Macros > record new macro.
  • Specify a shortcut, for example option+command+b
  • Click enter
  • focus on any empty cell and click control+v, then select "paste and style formatting" in the options.
  • Go to Tools > Macros > Stop Macro.
  • Next, download and install BetterTouchTool.
  • Go to Preferences > keyboard.
  • Add new shortcut. Enter command+v in the shortcut field and enter option+command+b in the triggered shortcut field.
  • Done.

I used the above answer as a reference and added my own solution:

Macro1: Copy some formatted text.
Let the document cursor stay somewhere in the document.
Go to Tools > Macros > record new macro.
Specify a shortcut with option+command+shift+b (finish macro creation)
Press cmd+v
Select destination formatting
Go to Tools > Macros > Stop Macro.

Go to Tools > Macros > record new macro
Specify a shortcut with cmd+v (override the normal paste)
This time you press option+command+shift+b
Go to Tools > Macros > Stop Macro

Now each time you press cmd+v you will call a macro which calls another macro and your text will be formatted correctly. (This is a solution tested in word)

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .