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?

8 Answers 8


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 its keyboard shortcut must 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.

  • 2
    Note that there is no solution for (at least) PowerPoint 2016, as the only menu options are "Paste" and "Paste Special...".
    – jvriesem
    Commented Oct 9, 2017 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
    Commented Jan 21, 2018 at 16:57
  • 2
    Funny that "Paste and Match Formatting" works, but "Paste and Keep Text Only" doesn't.
    – Andrew Fox
    Commented May 7, 2019 at 22:19
  • 2
    This doesn't work for me in MS Word 16.34 on macOS 10.15.3. I am using the "Display the Paste Special dialog" shortcut (see here) and the arrow keys on the dialog to select "Unformatted text" quickly.
    – gabe
    Commented Mar 11, 2020 at 20:29
  • 1
    This has no effect in Microsoft Excel for Mac 16.66.1.
    – 2540625
    Commented Oct 21, 2022 at 14:20

For some versions of Word, I have v16.16.7 (whatever edition that is), I was able to use a version of the Tools > Customize Keyboard solution. Once there, select Edit on the left and PasteTextOnly on the right. Then, add whatever keyboard shortcut you want, e.g., command+V. I have not extensively road tested this but it seems to work. No idea if this can be extended elsewhere in Office.

  • this was super easy, upvoted!
    – mac_33
    Commented Nov 16, 2019 at 22:57
  • Worked like a charm! Word 16.50.X
    – Eyad
    Commented Jul 5, 2021 at 7:11
  • Thanks! This works pretty well on macos.
    – James H.
    Commented Dec 15, 2021 at 12:32
  • Simplest solution and works in Word 16.57 on macOS Monterey
    – AlienKevin
    Commented Feb 1, 2022 at 19:39
  • This is not an option in Excel for Mac Version 16.66.1.
    – 2540625
    Commented Oct 21, 2022 at 14:21

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. Commented Feb 16, 2018 at 14:11

I found that every option on here didn't work for me, but you guys have helped me find a way.

I am using a Mac Pro with macOS 11.6 and Excel for Mac 16.54 with MS Office 365.

I managed to get plain text on CmdV in Excel by going to Tools > Customise Keyboard, then in the Categories:, select Commands Not in the Ribbon**. Then in the search box under Commands:, I typed in "Paste". I then selected Paste Values and then clicked in the box below "Press new keyboard shortcut" and pressed the CmdV keys. Then clicked Add and OK.

I can now paste just the values.

Screenshot of the Customise Keyboard window in Microsoft Excel

  • This only raises the Paste Special dialog when triggered, in Excel for Mac Version 16.66.1.
    – 2540625
    Commented Oct 21, 2022 at 14:15
  • Looked promising. Sadly it doesn't work on Mac (Ventura)
    – Otheus
    Commented Dec 31, 2023 at 8:58
  • Confirming: above does not work (Monterey) Commented Feb 12 at 22:17

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.
  • Wonderful. Now we must pay someone else to clean up Apple's and Microsoft's stupidity.
    – Otheus
    Commented Dec 31, 2023 at 8:50

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)

  • This works, but when it’s triggered, the command-z to undo function no longer works.
    – 2540625
    Commented Oct 21, 2022 at 14:29

Here is a solution that works on Excel for Mac 16.42!

  1. Go to the Tools > Customize Keyboard... menu.
  2. Under Categories choose Commands not in the Ribbon
  3. In the Search bar under Commands type "Match" and select the command named Match Destination Formatting . (I bet you would have searched for "Paste" instead and never found this command!)
  4. Click in the input box that says Press new keyboard shortcut:
  5. Type the shortcut you want, in my case that is Command+V and make sure to click Add. Note: that it tells you this command is already assigned to "Paste". That's fine, we will overwrite it.
  6. You should see your keyboard command in the list of Current keys: now.
  7. Click OK.

Note that the "Paste Values" command doesn't work for values copied from outside of Excel for some reason. But "Match Destination Formatting" seems to do what I want.

  • This should be the accepted answer! No macro, no add-on and no extra software required. It is the most straightforward solution, and this answer gives clear instructions. There should be a website made just for this! How about paste-and-match-style-in-excel.info for example?
    – Daze
    Commented Aug 3, 2021 at 5:04
  • Unfortunately, I've since discovered that this answer has unintended consequences when overwriting the default Command+V combination. But it is still useful if you make a new shortcut. Commented Aug 3, 2021 at 18:20
  • Yes, I've also noticed some problems. How about using Command+Shift+V instead? That's what I'm doing now.
    – Daze
    Commented Aug 5, 2021 at 21:04
  • 1
    This has no effect in Excel for Mac Version 16.66.1.
    – 2540625
    Commented Oct 21, 2022 at 14:15

On Word for Mac (version 16.55) on Big Sur:

Tools > Customise keyboard > All Commands > PasteTextOnly

Add shortcut. Done!

enter image description here

  • This might be helpful in another context but does not answer the actual question.
    – Alper
    Commented Dec 13, 2021 at 5:40
  • This is not an option in Excel for Mac Version 16.66.1.
    – 2540625
    Commented Oct 21, 2022 at 14:16
  • All Commands does not appear in Version 16.82 Commented Feb 12 at 22:19

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