Quick Tip: Ctrl-Shift-V and Ctrl-Alt-V to Paste Plainly

We like keyboard shortcuts here as using the keyboard is nearly always faster than using the mouse. We’ve featured Microsoft Teams keyboard shortcuts, Microsoft Word keyboard shortcuts, Windows Key shortcuts, handy run commands, Outlook shortcuts, Excel keyboard shortcuts and even Foreign Character shortcuts that will help you speed up your productivity.

But probably the most common keyboard shortcuts you are already using is Ctrl-C (for Copy) and Ctrl-V (for paste). While pasting is a huge time saver, what’s not always useful is the formatting that comes along with it. By default, when you copy and paste with those shortcuts, you are copying and pasting not only the text you’ve selected, but the formatting and styling that goes along with it. That can make for some squirrely layouts and issues when you’re just wanting to get the text from one place to another.

This is where another keyboard shortcut comes in handy: Ctrl-Shift-V. This will paste just the text you’ve copied, no formatting or style at all, wherever you need it.

The problem? Microsoft doesn’t support that shortcut in its Office programs. So to paste just your data without formatting in Excel, Word, etc…, there are two ways to go about it (These screenshots are from Word, but the options are similar in Excel, Outlook, OneNote, etc…):

  • Since we’re thinking about keyboard shortcuts here, click Ctrl-Alt-V and select “Unformatted Text”:
  • The other option is to right-click in your Office document and select the “Paste as Plain Text” option on the right-click menu:

If you’d rather always default to plane text all the time in Word, when you paste information, you can change the default settings so that the normal Ctrl-V shortcut defaults to plain text. Here’s an article from Microsoft on how to do it. The instructions for Excel are a bit more complicated as it depends on the data being thrown around, but the Ctrl-Alt-V shortcut will still get you the pop-up dialog in either program to paste it a certain way.

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