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.

  • I'm shocked that I haven't found others asking my nuanced version of this question, which I still haven't found the answer to. I might create a new question for it. How can I paste from somewhere (such as Reddit in dark mode) to Gmail and preserve bullet lists and linebreaks but abandon font, font size, font color, and background color?
    – Ryan
    Commented Jun 2 at 13:07

8 Answers 8


It seems that the browser must enable this feature.

Chrome/Firefox, PC: Ctrl + Shift + V

Chrome/Firefox, Mac: Command ⌘ + Shift ⇧ + V

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


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


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.


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



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.


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).


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/

  • The link is broken.
    – Flimm
    Commented Jul 2, 2020 at 13:50

If you are using Firefox with the Adblock Plus extension installed, you need to do a little configuration first.

  1. Type in about:config to the address bar and press enter.
  2. Accept a warning about being careful, if it appears.
  3. Search for extensions.adblockplus.sidebar_key.
  4. Change the value to just Accel Shift U instead of Accel Shift V, Accel Shift U.

If you also use the Resurrect Pages extension, you may want to pick something other than U.

AdblockPlus decided years ago they would leave this conflict in place.

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