Word: Assign keyboard shortcut to paste unformatted text

August 11, 2016

I’ve previously written about using toolbar icons, macros, or other features of Word to paste copied text as unformatted text (see https://cybertext.wordpress.com/2009/07/02/word-keyboard-shortcut-to-paste-unformatted-text/ and https://cybertext.wordpress.com/2012/11/21/word-2010-keyboard-shortcut-to-paste-unformatted-text/).

However, if you have to do this a lot, there’s another, much easier, way — assign a keyboard shortcut to the ‘paste as unformatted text’ command.

Note: As far as I’m aware you can do this in all versions of Word from at least Word 2010 onwards.

  1. Open Word.
  2. On the File menu, click Options to open the Word Options dialog box.
  3. Click Customize ribbon in the left panel.
  4. Below the left panel of commands, click the Customize button (next to Keyboard shortcuts) to open the Customize Keyboard dialog box.
  5. Scroll down the list of Categories (top left box) to All commands and select it (number 1 in the screenshot below).
  6. In the Commands list (top right box), type p to get to the commands starting with ‘p’.
  7. Scroll down to PasteTextOnly and select it (2 in the screenshot).
  8. In the Press new shortcut key field, PRESS the keys you want to use for this shortcut. Do NOT type them. For example, if you want the keyboard shortcut to be Alt+p+t (‘p’ for paste, ‘t’ for text), then press those keys as though you were using them in the document. They will display in the field similar to this: Alt+P,T (3 in the screenshot).
  9. Checked that Currently assigned to has [unassigned] next to it. If it doesn’t, then the key combination you chose is already used for something else and you’ll have to assign a new combination in the Press new shortcut key field.
  10. Click Assign (4 in the screenshot). The new keyboard shortcut will shift into the Current keys box.
  11. Click Close.
  12. Click OK to close the Word Options dialog box.
  13. Test your keyboard shortcut by copying some formatted text from another source (web page, another document, etc.), then use the keyboard shortcut you just assigned to paste it into your Word document as unformatted text.

[Links last checked August 2016]


  1. Brilliant, thanks for posting this, have always wanted to set a keyboard shortcut for that, I waste so much time resetting the formatting when pasting in from a web page or fiddling around with the mouse to get to the paste as text option.

    I tried to do the same with Excel, but it does not seem to have the option, which is a shame.

  2. I know I’m a year late, but this was an excellent tutorial. Thank you so much! This will save me tons of time every day.

  3. Perfect! Thanks. I assigned alt+v

  4. There is no “Options” choice under the File menu in Word 2017. Suggestions?

  5. Hi Margaret

    There’s no Word 2017 — do you mean Word 2016? Or are you on a Mac?

    If Word 2016 for Windows, you should see Options near the bottom of the list when you click on File. If you’re on a Mac, then I think it’s under the Word menu, under Preferences.


  6. Super helpful, man. Thanks so much!

  7. Very helpful, thank you.

  8. Hi. Thanks for taking the time to write this. Do you happen to know how to do it for a link rather than text?

  9. Hi Iain

    You do it the same way, but of course, as soon as you press another key (e.g. space, or period then space) the hyperlink returns. The trick to breaking it again is to backspace one character immediately.

    Another alternative is to break the link (i.e. turn it into plain text, without or without using a keyboard command such as that above) by one of these methods:
    * place your cursor anywhere inside the link and press Ctrl+Shift+F9 (this is in Word for Windows – I don’t know what the command would be for Word for Mac)
    * right-click anywhere inside the link and then select Remove Hyperlink.


  10. To undo the automatic formatting of text to hyperlink use the Undo (ctrl-z) command. So easy, but also so annoying that Microsoft Office has a mind of its own and doesn’t learn from my personal behavior (i.e., if I wanted a hyperlink, I’d have created a hyperlink).

  11. thanks mate

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