Home > Uncategorized > What’s so special about “Paste Special”

What’s so special about “Paste Special”

If you’re like me and deal with moving text around from one document to the next, you’re intimately familiar with the Copy and Paste functionality of most applications. If you’re extra savvy, you might even know all of the keyboard command shortcuts:

  • Copy – Ctrl-C (Win) or Command-C (Mac)
  • Paste – Ctrl-V (Win) or Command-V (Mac)

Well, since I’m consistenly moving text from one application to another, it’s quite frustrating when an application thinks that it knows what I want. For example, when I copy text out of a PDF file, and then paste it into a Word document, by default I automatically get all of the formatting that was in the source document (font, size, color, etc.) More often than not, these selections do not match the target document. Thus creating many more formatting clicks just to have the pasted text match the rest of the doc.

Lo and behold, Microsoft must have gotten enough complaints about this that they instituted the “Paste Special” command where you can past a copied bit of text into your document without all of that extra baggage. Hey, wonderful, I like that.

Oh, no, but wait, it’s actually not all that easy to use. You are required to select the item from the menu – there are no keyboard shortcuts for this sucker. And, every time you choose “Paste Special” you get an annoying dialog box that never has the right default selected. So that means more annoying, time wasting clicks. Speed is definitely not what this is built for.

This could be easily fixed in a couple of ways.

  1. Allow me to choose a default paste style. If I always want to paste as unformatted text, by golly you should allow me to do so. Don’t muck up the works with extra baggage.
  2. Give me a keyboard shortcut. Ctrl-Shift-V or Command-Shift-V would work well.

OK, that’s my rant. Over and out.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. April 21, 2008 at 8:21 pm

    Hear, hear!

    Preach it, baby.

    Your words resonate with tech writers the world over.

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