#316 Cutting & Pasting Without Screwy Things Happening

Have you ever tried to do a simple cut and paste when suddenly all your formatting goes wonky? For no apparent reason? It’s probably happened to all of us at some point or another.  This week I’ll show you how you can take control of the situation and get exactly the result you want.

For starters, you should know that there are multiple ways of pasting stuff into your documents, presentations and spreadsheets. Most people just never get past the default, which is where the challenges begin. To help you master this, I’d like to introduce you to a new friend – the Paste Options button. You may or may not have noticed this before. It’s only there briefly after you paste something. It’s easy to master, IF you know to look for it and how it works.


How It Works

By clicking this button, you’ll see a set of paste options that will let you control what you want to happen with your pasted text. Simply hover your mouse over each icon to see what it does.


The options available to you will vary based on what you are pasting and where you are copying from/to. The four most common options are:

  •     Keep Source Formatting: Keeps the formatting of the text you copied
  •     Use Destination Styles:  Matches the formatting where you pasted your text
  •     Kept Text Only:  Discards both the text formatting AND the non-text elements you copied, such as pictures or table, and then matches the formatting where you pasted the text (Good for copying/pasting stuff from web pages)
  •     Merge Formatting: Keeps the formatting of the text you copied without changing the formatting of the destination document, e.g., if you cut and paste a sentence from another document that had a different font type or size

In Office 2010, you can also control what happens by default when you paste in several different scenarios by clicking the Set Default Paste… option.
(To  access these setting directly go to the File tab, click Options and then look under the Advanced tab.)


These settings also allow you to control how to handle bulleted/numbered lists and pictures as well.

And Don’t Forget Paste Special….

Paste Special… is another good way to control what and how things get pasted. It’s great for when you are copying between different applications (i.e spreadsheet data into a PowerPoint or Word document).

In Office 2010 you’ll find Paste Special.. under the Paste drop-down in the Clipboard area of the Home tab. For older versions it’s an item listed under the Edit menu.


The keyboard shortcut is the same for all versions. ALT + E » S

Read more from Microsoft about controlling the formatting when you paste text.


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