Setting the default format when you paste in MS Word

When you paste text into a Word document you have options for how the text is formatted.

The choices are:

  • Keep Source Formatting – preserves the look of the original text
  • Merge Formatting – preserve the look of the original text when styles are different
  • Keep Text Only – change the formatting to match the look of surrounding text

As I am sure you will have discovered, you can access these options by clicking on the Paste Options button that appears to the bottom right of the text you have pasted.  I generally only use Keep Source Formatting or Keep Text Only.

What you may not have discovered is that you can specify the default paste option for a number of situations.  For instance, the default option is Keep Source Formatting and yet if I am pasting a mailing address from a website into a document I always use Keep Text Only so the text takes on the formatting of the surrounding text in the Word document.  Rather then choosing Keep Text Only each time I paste text from a website into a document I’ve set the Pasting from other programs option to Keep Text Only.

You can specify the formatting option you want for four scenarios:

  • Pasting within the same document
  • Pasting between documents
  • Pasting between documents when style definitions conflict
  • Pasting from other programs

To set the default paste options:

  1. On the File tab, select Options
  2. In the Options dialog box, select Advanced in the navigation pane on the left
  3. In the Cut, Copy and Paste section, change options as needed
  4. Click on OK

Unfortunately Excel and Outlook don’t seem to have this feature.