Web Applications Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for power users of web applications. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

When I use Gmail and Google Docs (With Firefox 3.6.6), I often cut text from another HTML or PDF document.

When I paste this text into the document body, Gmail and Google doc will paste the text and the formatting. I almost never want to copy the formatting from another document, and I instead need to clean up the formatting afterwards.

Is there a magic key combination so that I can just paste the text, and not the formatting? (RANT: That's a dumb default behavior, and is becoming more common ever since Word switched to this behavior many years ago. How often do people want to copy the formatting?) Can I make this the default behavior for my Gmail or Google Doc editor?

I assume this behavior is mostly within the Google Application. I am also assuming that this behavior is common across most Google Apps. If this is actually a web-browser bug feature, let me know.

share|improve this question
This is a web-browser feature. For example in Chrome, paste and match style, matches the current formatting in your gmail message or google doc. – phwd Jul 13 '10 at 19:54
I used to only ever use plain-text email, and I still do between domains, but within an organisation it's incredibly useful to be able to cut&paste a table of data and paste it in as a table. Ctrl+Shift+V as described below, in Chrome/Linux, works fine. – Phil P Jul 14 '10 at 1:41
@Philippe Harewood had the correct answer, but it is in a comment. Phil, go ahead an answer and I'll mark your answer as correct. I misunderstood what was happening here. This is not a feature of the Web Application. It is actually a feature of your web browser. Some web browsers (like Chrome) support this plain text paste by default. Firefox can do this through a browser extension. – Stefan Lasiewski Mar 2 '11 at 20:43
I will remove the google-apps tag as it refers to the suite of services for organizations and business, not to the whole set of apps from Google. – Rubén Jul 21 '15 at 22:26
up vote 78 down vote accepted

It seems that the browser must enable this feature.

Chrome, PC: Ctrl + Shift + V

Chrome, Mac: Command ⌘ + Shift ⇧ + V

Firefox, PC: Ctrl + Shift + V

Firefox, Mac: Command ⌘ + Shift ⇧ + V

Safari, Mac: Command ⌘ + Shift ⇧ + Option ⌥ + V

share|improve this answer
The other options will be in Gmail to just click remove formatting (last menu item to the right before <<plain text) and in Google Documents it is one extra step Format -> Clear formatting – phwd Jul 13 '10 at 20:01
Sorry if this is off-topic, but I'm curious how you created the "key" look. – dgw Aug 3 '10 at 0:08
@Voyagerfan5761: It's an html tag. Just type whatever you want surrounded by <kbd> and </kbd>. – Senseful Aug 3 '10 at 0:25
This works in Firefox since version 4, but the Mac shortcut is Cmd+Shift+Opt+V (see bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=410986 ). – Nickolay Apr 7 '12 at 8:09
If you have AdBlock Plus installed, it will steal the Ctrl+Shift+V shortcut. Luckily you can change that: adblockplus.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=11217 or adblockplus.org/en/preferences – Cheetah Feb 5 '14 at 21:00

It's not a webapp answer, but I use a program called PureText. It just sits in your system tray and provides a hotkey (configurable) that will paste the current clipboard contents as plain text. I absolutely love this feature. I have it set to WINDOWS+v

share|improve this answer

Alas the add-on "Copy Plain Text" by Jeremy Gillick (https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/copy-plain-text/) does not do the trick. As the name says, it "Copies text without formatting...". The question here is about pasting. Yes, this is different if your source is not a browser.

I did not find a firefox extension to help here. But PureText does it. Thanks to EndangeredMassa for pointing out.

share|improve this answer

In the new version of Gmail/Google Docs there is a keyboard shortcut for pasting without source formatting:


share|improve this answer
Presumably the Mac equivalent would be Command+Shift+V? – Al E. Oct 17 '13 at 13:04
Command+Shift+V works for me on Firefox now. This didn't work when I originally posted the question. – Stefan Lasiewski Oct 17 '13 at 18:07

As @eagle mentioned, Ctrl+Shift+V will work in Chrome. There is an addon for Firefox that claims it will solve your problem: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/134/

share|improve this answer

If you're the sort of person who always has a terminal window open, and you're on OSX or another OS with shell commands that give you pipe-access to the system clipboard, you can set up something like this:

alias stripstyle='pbpaste | pbcopy'

Then whenever you want to paste without formatting, just go into your terminal and type stripstyle and voila, whatever's in the clipboard is deformatted.

share|improve this answer

What I do is to open a tab of Google Translate, paste it there, and cut from there, and then paste to where I need (Gmail, Docs, whatever).

share|improve this answer
I usually use Notepad instead. – Senseful Jul 13 '10 at 19:57
I usually just use vi, notepad.exe or something. It's simpler. – Stefan Lasiewski Mar 2 '11 at 20:14
I usually use the address bar, it’s even simpler :P – törzsmókus Dec 28 '14 at 8:43

protected by Community Apr 25 at 18:21

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site.

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.