Microsoft Word’s default paste setting retains the original formatting of copied text. This causes issues when you paste content into a document with different formatting. For example, if you copy text from a website and paste it into your report, it may carry over font colors, sizes, and styles that don’t match.
Fortunately, you can change Word’s default paste behavior to better suit your workflow. This article covers multiple methods to customize paste settings so you can save time and avoid formatting inconsistencies.
Why Change the Default Paste Setting
The default paste setting keeps source formatting, which often creates inconsistencies. When you copy text from another document or website, it carries over fonts, sizes, colors, and other formatting. This imported formatting frequently clashes with the destination document’s style.
Manually clearing formatting after each paste takes too much effort. Instead, change the default behavior to paste as plain text or merge formatting.
Custom paste settings give you:
- Consistency: Pasted text will blend into your document.
- Efficiency: Skip tedious formatting work after each paste.
- Control: Choose the exact paste style you need.
Access Paste Options in Microsoft Word
To get started customizing default paste settings, you need to access the right menu in Word Options:
- Click the File tab.
- Select Options on the left.
- Click Advanced options on the left.
- Scroll down to find the Cut, copy and paste section.
Cut copy and paste options in Word Advanced settings
This menu controls how Word handles cutting, copying, and pasting text.
Use the settings here to change default behavior when pasting from:
- Other documents
- Microsoft Office programs
- Text editors like Notepad
- And more
Now let’s explore your paste formatting options.
Choose a New Default Paste Setting
You have a few options when customizing paste preferences in Word:
Keep Source Formatting
This leaves copied text with the original fonts, sizes, colors, and overall appearance. Use when you want pasted content to stand out from the surrounding document.
For example, pull quotes keep their unique style to draw the reader’s eye.
This blends the pasted text with the document’s style. For example, text adopts the destination paragraph’s font and size. But unique formatting like bold or italics remains.
Merge Formatting reduces inconsistencies without completely stripping style.
Keep Text Only
This pastes content as plain text without carrying over any formatting like fonts, sizes, styles, colors, etc.
Choose Keep Text Only to paste into documents with strict and consistent formatting rules. For example, academic papers often mandate specific style guidelines.
Recommended Default Paste Settings
Consider selecting Keep Text Only for your default paste options. This gives you the most control to deliberately format pasted text.
However, you may prefer more automatic formatting when pasting between documents with similar styles.
Here are the recommended settings for each paste option:
When pasting from other programs:
- Keep Text Only
This eliminates unexpected formatting when copying text into Word from websites, PDFs, Google Docs, etc.
When pasting between documents:
- Merge Formatting
Blends text with the Word document’s styles. Use this when repurposing content from other Word files.
When pasting within this document:
- Keep Source Formatting
For moving text around within the same document, keep styles consistent.
When pasting from Microsoft Excel:
- Merge Formatting
Removes Excel-specific colors and formatting but keeps paragraph styles.
Feel free to customize based on your unique needs. For example, Always Keep Text Only for research papers requiring strict formatting rules.
Save New Default Paste Settings
Once you choose your preferred paste options, save them as the new defaults:
- Click OK at the bottom of the Word Options menu.
- The new settings apply automatically from now on when using keyboard shortcuts or buttons to paste content.
Your changes impact all documents. To revert back to the original defaults:
- Return to the Cut, copy and paste settings.
- Choose the Restore Default Settings option.
- Confirm by clicking OK.
Tips for Managing Paste Options
Beyond setting global defaults, you have additional options to handle paste formatting:
Use keyboard shortcuts to paste with specific formatting:
- Ctrl+Shift+V: Paste with Keep Text Only
- Ctrl+Alt+V: Show Paste Options button
Enable the Paste Options button for quick access:
- Go to File > Options > Advanced
- Check “Show Paste Options buttons” under Cut, copy, and paste
- Click OK to enable
This displays paste buttons whenever you insert content, allowing you to dynamically choose Keep Source Formatting, Merge Formatting, or Keep Text Only.
Take Control of Paste Formatting in Word
Microsoft Word’s paste behavior often introduces formatting inconsistencies and extra work. Skip the frustration by taking just a minute to update default settings under Advanced Options.
Choose the paste style that matches your preferences and document needs. Keep Text Only provides the most control for deliberately styling pasted text during edits.
Custom paste options boost your efficiency, allowing you to skip tedious formatting work after inserting content. Text seamlessly blends into Word documents for cleaner and more professional results.
Give your new paste defaults a try now. And play around with the different options – whether Keep Source Formatting, Merge Formatting, or Keep Text Only – to see what works best for your workflow.