How do I make documents in Google Docs with plain text format?

Sometimes I make changes to text pages on my site and upload them to the website. The files are PHP and I prepare the pages in TextWrangler. I don't type documents in TextWrangler but use TextEdit instead. I ensure they are in plain text format, so that there's no formatting or extraneous stuff, and then I copy-paste into TextWrangler.

I'd like to try using Google Docs instead of TextEdit and copy-paste text from Google Docs directly into TextWrangler.

There's a menu item 'Clear formatting' in Google Docs, and this clears things like font choices and font sizes. But links remain links, and I'm not sure that it's as basic a format as 'Plain' text created in TextEdit.

Is it possible to make text "Plain" in Google Docs?

  • 1
    at least you can download google docs as .txt files
    – user174058
    Oct 9, 2019 at 18:00

5 Answers 5


It sounds much faster to just copy to notepad, then paste back in.

  • 1
    Or use GitHub instead. Or a text editor on a synchronised client.
    – mckenzm
    Nov 18, 2017 at 23:30

If you are using Chrome, you can use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + Shift + V to paste the unformatted version of the copied text into Google Docs (or any other web page).


One way to do it is to keep and edit documents as plain text files without leaving Google Drive.

While Google doesn't support by default plain .txt files you can integrate a Google Drive 3rd party app (Ex: Drive Notepad or StackEdit).

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  • 4
    With Drive Notepad I got a Authorization Required, Check developer Console for details which is also reported in the Community Page so I went with StackEdit
    – TT--
    Feb 25, 2018 at 20:55

Presuming you're on Windows, there's a program called Puretext that clears formatting from whatever you have cached in the clipboard.


Life Hacker has an article about Google Drive extensions that mentions Drive Notepad, which claims to do plain text editing in Google Drive. I found your question because I'm looking for the same kind of tool, though for different reasons.

I haven't tried Drive Notepad yet, but I'm heading over now to give it a shot.

I also just discovered that WriteBox has a chrome extension. I've used WriteBox to save and edit text files to my Dropbox account. I've recently discovered that it can also use Google Drive. I like it because it has a web-app that doesn't require any install, so I can use it anywhere with online access.

Since I have some experience (limited, though it is) with WriteBox, I'll be using that for my text editing, most likely.

Lifehacker Article: http://lifehacker.com/8-extensions-that-make-google-drive-better-than-dropbox-498740515

WriteBox Web App: http://write-box.appspot.com

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