Adjusting your default paste options in Office

If you spend a lot of time removing the formatting from text that you copy into Office documents (say, text from emails or web pages into Microsoft Word), you should adjust your default paste options.

The quickest way to do this in Office 2007 or Office 2010 is just to paste some text into your document and look for the smart tag icon:

Smart tag

Click the smart tag to open your Paste Options (note that smart tags in Office 2007 do not use the icons):

Paste Options smart tag

You could click the Keep Text Only icon (on the far right) but if you want to adjust your defaults, select Set Default Paste to open the Office application's options:

Word Options

Set the defaults you want (I chose Keep Text Only for all) and click OK. Repeat for all of the Office applications you use regularly (Excel, PowerPoint and Word).

If you decide that you want to maintain the original formatting for a specific paste, you can easily override it on a paste-by-paste basis.


Comments (16)

  1. lee says:

    This seems to work for word and outlook, however, it does not work for excel…

  2. nope says:

    it does not work

    there is no default paste as nothing related in advanced options for that matter

    shitty microsoft as usual

  3. Anonymous says:


    There is not such option to "Set Default Paste…" in Excel 2010. There are no "Cut, copy and paste" options as pictured in Excel 2010. So please state clearly that the options you wish were in your software are not. And I am going to spend another extra 2 hours on my workbook now by clicking "Paste special"->"Unformatted text" if I want to achieve something with this Office 2010 nonsense…

    I wish my company would not sit in your pocket (or vice versa!) and would go for LibreOffice instead… :'(


  4. Chris says:

    No such default option in Excel 2010

  5. mike says:

    Those options aren't there for Excel 2010. That's what I was really hoping to change this in. The default Ctrl+V action pastes and keeps the source formatting. You can change it afterwards, but that doesn't really work well when pasting from a source that has advanced formatting such as from certain websites with links. Excel has to "think" for a while before pasting. Wish I could just change the default to Paste Text Only

  6. edward says:

    I discovered by accident, that if you double click when selecting the destination cell, then Paste/CTRL-V gives you text only. Excel doesn't "think" for a while either.

  7. nick says:


    "I discovered by accident, that if you double click when selecting the destination cell, then Paste/CTRL-V gives you text only. Excel doesn't "think" for a while either."

    that is his comment

    it helps

  8. mike says:

    doesn't work in PowerPoint, I need to create hundreds of Walk-in slides for a meeting, and I would like it to default to how the text box was set up for the master.

  9. Shelly says:

    That double click really helps in Excel. Thanks Edward.

  10. Ken says:

    Edward rocks!  The double click trick helps a lot!!

  11. Hunter DG says:

    alternatively, check out the utility called PureText

  12. Asdruble says:

    Edward rocks, thanks!

    It really helps to default paste as text in Excel 2013 on a single cell!

    But i still miss something really default!

    Paste source formatting in Excel is stupid most of the times, IMHO.

  13. ekkis says:

    Powerpoint has been owned by M$ for nearly 30 years now and something as simple as pasting plain text, for which there is obviously (any google search will demonstrate) overwhelming demand, they fail/refuse to implement.

    instead, with every paste I have to click on the stupid "smart" tag to open it, click to select "Keep text only".  my thumb hurts from all the clicking.

    I so hate proprietary software run by giant imbecile corporations.

  14. dlewis says:

    edward I owe you like something like 2000 hours of labor because of that, thanks man

  15. alan says:

    I tried this, but Excel does not treat the pasted content as text.  It deletes all leading zeros, and converts all bank account details into "date", some very long codes (all numbers) get changed.

    How do you make Excel paste the text as text? (Excel 2010)

  16. KG says:

    Thanks, Edward – it helps some. I would really have liked a keyboard shortcut for it, though. The closest I came, which is 4 keyboard hits/strokes/whatever, is Ctrl+Alt+V, which gives you the paste-special pop-up, then down arrow twice, then enter. Still better than doing it the default way.

Skip to main content