Pasting Plain Text

When I copy text on a computer, most often I want to paste it without the accompanying formatting. On both MacOS X and Windows, there is no built-in way to do this that works in all applications. After trying several approaches, I found freeware solutions that provide a hotkey for that missing function.

Mac (tested on 10.6 Snow Leopard):

  1. Download Spark and the Plain Clip Plug for Spark (I couldn’t get the regular Plain Clip application to do the paste part, so I had to use the special Spark plugin version).
  2. Open the Spark disk image and drag Spark to your Applications folder.
  3. Create the folder ~/Library/Application Support/Spark/PlugIns
  4. Open the Plain Clip Plug disk image and drag Plain Clip Plug.spact to the ~/Library/Application Support/Spark/PlugIns folder.
  5. Double-click Applications/Spark to run it.
  6. The first time Spark runs, it shows a screen including two checkboxes, to activate Spark at login and immediately. Leave them checked.
  7. File>New HotKey>Plain Clip
  8. Type a name for the hotkey (such as “Paste Plain Text”), check the Send Command-V keystroke box, and click on the Shortcut box and press Command-Option-v (or whatever key you want to be the shortcut).
  9. Click Create
  10. Now Command-Option-v pastes the clipboard as plain text.

Mac (tested on 10.13 High Sierra):

  1. Plain Clip doesn’t work on High Sierra.
  2. Use the free “Get Plain Text” app from the App Store.

Windows (tested on Windows XP and 7 RC):

  1. Download PureText
  2. Unzip PureText by right-clicking on the Zip file and selecting Extract All
  3. Create the folder C:\Program Files\PureText
  4. Copy PureText.exe to C:\Program Files\PureText
  5. Double-click C:\Program Files\PureText\PureText.exe to run it. It opens as an icon in the system tray.
  6. Right-click the PT icon in the system tray and select Options.
  7. Check the box Automatically run PureText each time I log on to Windows, uncheck Play a sound, and click OK.
  8. Now Windows-v pastes the clipboard as plain text.

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