PureText – paste anywhere without formatting

Let’s say you are writing and you want to quote some text from a webpage in your message or document. So you select the text and copy it, but then when you paste it after your text you find that it is in a different font, font size and color.  Worse than that, when you try to keep typing after the quoted text, you see that your font style has been hijacked by the new text you pasted. Here is an example — notice how the font changes because the text came formatted from somewhere else:

Do you remember Otter Pops? They consist of, and I quote, ” a plastic tube filled with flavored sugary liquid; after being frozen the top is cut off. The frozen juice is eaten out of the top of the tube, like a popsicle without a stick.” [ACK! What happened to my font! Why doesn’t my computer realize I don’t want to change the font here?].

Does that situation look familiar?

 If so, here is a great (free!) little Windows utility I have used for several years to come to your rescue: PureText. Running PureText puts an icon down in your system tray (lower right screen corner) and it adds a keyboard shortcut that works everywhere. Once it is running you press [WindowsKey] + [v] to tell the computer to “paste the text, but please ignore any font formatting that the text had before.” It works like a charm — the text you paste adopts whatever style you were already using, eliminating the chore of trying to reformat the text after it is pasted in.

Every time I am put on a new version of Windows, PureText is one of the first items I install. To me it is indispensable!

Now for you Mac users (I’m one at home), I have heard (but not tried it yet) that PlainClip does the same thing for the Mac OS, but you will probably also want to first  install a Mac hotkey tool like Spark to make it easier to use (otherwise you will have to double-click the PlainClip app everytime you want to use it).


10 responses to “PureText – paste anywhere without formatting

  1. I used to have this problem but then I just go on notepad (or now on my laptop it’s wordedit but with plain text) and i copy and paste it there then copy it again

  2. that is another way to do it for sure, and when I don’t have PureText installed that is what I do too.

  3. Pingback: Useful Utility: PureText « Get Real! Science EDU 486 Class Blog

  4. How to paste pure text on you MAC – A three-step guide for dummies

    Intro: I am taking 10 minutes of my time to write this to express my gratitude to the original poster. Bravo!

    1. Download PlainClip from the link above. Mount the DMG and copy the .app file (there’s only one) in your Applications folder in the Finder. PlainClip has no interface, so if you nothing appears to happen after you launch it, that’s perfectly normal (in fact if you launch it, it does convert your clipboard contents to plain text, but you won’t find out until you paste them)
    2. Do the same (download, mount and copy to applications) with Spark
    3. Open Spark, double click on the AppleScript tab on the left, click on the Shortcut button to select a keyboard shortcut (command + B is my pick) then paste in the box below it the following command line:

    do shell script "'/Applications/Plain Clip.app/pc' -v"

    Now, whenever you press command + B, spark will execute PlainClip so that plain text will come out.

    Microsoft mouse users can even associate key combination “command + B” to one of their mouse buttons. Works like a charm.

    It really takes no more than 5 minutes, so give it a try.



  5. Amedeo, wonderful instructions! Thanks so much for posting this! I tested the instructions and they work like a charm. This is great stuff and I have it up and running on my Mac at home now. Thanks again for the excellent comment.

    Ironically (because it involves text formatting), WordPress does something to the instructions that does require some tweaking — it turned the quotes into curly quotes in this line:

    do shell script “‘/Applications/Plain Clip.app/pc’ -v”

    I made a minor edit to fix this in your comment (by putting the statement between ‘code’ tags).

  6. It seems PlainClip got a taste of its own medicine ;-D

  7. Thanks for fixing it up, dude!

  8. Hi the PlainClip and Spark combo did not work for me at all and I’m not a newbie to computers.

    What did work was downloading PlainClip plugin at the Spark website and following the directions… (not obvious to a new person will be that ~ means your home directory and that you need to actually create the PlugIns directory.

  9. The instructions left by Amedeo worked fine for me, but I’m still left wanting. I mapped the key combination Shift+Option+V and when I invoke it, it does convert the text, but I then have to Option+V to paste it. PlainText not only converts, but also pastes it all in one step. Is there a way to setup Spark to convert, then paste all from the Shift+Option+V command?

  10. @spagettichef: I mapped it just now to cmd+p and when I use that, it pastes and converts it, in one step… Perhaps it makes a difference which keys you chose… 🙂

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