Note: This is on MacOS. I don't know if it is repeatable on Windows.

When I copy a cell to a text editor and back, formatting (and links) are preserved. Even links, while don't appear in the text editor, reappear in Google Spreadsheet.

Try this:

1. Open a Google Spreadsheet.
2. Choose an empty cell and paste a hyperlink formula, i.e.: =HYPERLINK("http://www.google.com/","Google")
3. Copy cell content (Mark cell, then CMD+C).
4. Open TextEdit.
5. Switch to plain text (CMD+Shift+T).
6. Paste cell content (CMD+V).
7. Copy content from text (Mark text, then CMD+C).
8. Go back to Google Spreadsheets and choose and empty cell.
9. Paste text (CMD+V).

BTW, I have tried pasting to Google Docs and it doesn't preserve formatting/link.

What makes this work?

Is it configurable?


EDIT: Performing "Paste and Match Style" (⌥+⇧+⌘+V) in step 6, with or without skipping step 5, didn't make any difference.

  • Didn't make a difference. Thank! I added a note.
    – yurmix
    Sep 30, 2022 at 21:11

1 Answer 1


What you are seeing is most likely a Google Sheets optimization side effect. Google Sheets has its own web clipboard that kicks in when you copy one or more cells in a spreadsheet.

To avoid that, use Edit > Paste special > Paste values only (⌘+Shift+V on a Mac, or Control+Shift+V on Windows).

Alternatively, as Blind Spots suggests, use the web browser's Edit > Paste and Match Style command (in most browsers, ⌘+⌥+Shift+V).

  • that is interesting thanks!
    – Blindspots
    Sep 30, 2022 at 21:16
  • Your suggestion worked! Also, I opened a different spreadsheet in a separate tab and it didn't reserve style. In that case, it only preserved style when I copied through a rich-text-format editor.
    – yurmix
    Sep 30, 2022 at 21:18
  • @yurmix are you saying that each tab maintained its own clipboard session?
    – Blindspots
    Sep 30, 2022 at 21:21

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