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.

  • 1
    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, 2010 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, 2010 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. Mar 2, 2011 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, 2015 at 22:26

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

  • 3
    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, 2010 at 20:01
  • 5
    @Voyagerfan5761: It's an html tag. Just type whatever you want surrounded by <kbd> and </kbd>.
    – Senseful
    Aug 3, 2010 at 0:25
  • 2
    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, 2012 at 8:09
  • 4
    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, 2014 at 21:00
  • 1
    probably should work the PC shortcut for the Chrome OS (chromebooks) as well
    – serge
    Aug 23, 2018 at 9:12

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

  • any Mac version?
    – Pacerier
    Oct 23, 2017 at 15:55
  • For people like me who is tired pressing CMD + Shit + V each time, there is an app for macos called Get Plain Text. It has an option to remove formatting automatically after copying.
    – Leo
    Jun 2, 2019 at 21:40

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:


  • Presumably the Mac equivalent would be Command+Shift+V?
    – ale
    Oct 17, 2013 at 13:04
  • 1
    Command+Shift+V works for me on Firefox now. This didn't work when I originally posted the question. Oct 17, 2013 at 18:07
  • Yea, but having to press that shift is a bother. There should be a way to set that setting.
    – Pacerier
    Oct 23, 2017 at 15:56

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.

  • Do you have to do it once, or once per copy?
    – Pacerier
    Oct 23, 2017 at 15:57
  • @Pacerier - once per copy. I've also streamlined this so that it's accessible from the Command-Space spotlight search by making an Automator script for it. Oct 23, 2017 at 21:17

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).

  • 3
    I usually use Notepad instead.
    – Senseful
    Jul 13, 2010 at 19:57
  • I usually just use vi, notepad.exe or something. It's simpler. Mar 2, 2011 at 20:14
  • 1
    I usually use the address bar, it’s even simpler :P Dec 28, 2014 at 8:43

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
    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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