Remember the first time you realized you didn’t have to click on the Edit dropdown on your computer and select Copy or Cut and then go back to the Edit dropdown again and then scroll down to Paste just to put some text from one place into another spot?
Okay, you probably don’t, and I’d be lying if I said I did. But I’d venture to say that keyboard shortcuts are life changing—and all that mouse work is really unnecessary.
Hitting Command + C has become such an ingrained habit that now when I notice anyone (yes, like my mother) doing otherwise it really throws me off. And makes me want to swoop in like Captain Keyboard with this amazing timesaving tidbit: “Did you know you don’t have to click anything? Let me show you!”
Well if you’ve already mastered the basics, the next step on that road to laziness, I mean efficiency, is pasting text to match the formatting of its destination. That way, it integrates seamlessly into whatever it is you’re working on. Read: You won’t have to then change the font, size, color, spacing, or anything else you’ve already set for the rest of the text.
How it Works
Let’s start with Macs, because it’s easier. Instead of Command + V, hit Command + Option + Shift + V. It’s a lot of keys at once, but it’ll quickly become second nature. Technically, you can also go to Edit and scroll down to Paste and Match Formatting or Paste and Match Style, but who wants to go back to that much mouse clicking?
On a PC, there’s not a catch-all shortcut that’ll work across every application. But, for example, in Chrome and Firefox, you can use Control + Shift + V. And in Office, you can click on the little Paste Options button that appears next to the pasted text and hit Match Destination Formatting (which will still keep bold and italics) or Keep Text Only—and you can set one of those as the default way to paste.
Other applications might have their own solutions or allow you to use some sort of outside program or extension to achieve similar results. So while it might take a little more time to figure out the best shortcuts in your favorite applications, you can still put in some work upfront to avoid adjusting the formatting every time you paste.
Whether you spend your day writing articles, creating presentation decks, or even just keeping up with your inbox, this quick trick will save you a few seconds here and there. Which translates into minutes and hours in the long run. So go on, try it. You’ll never have to waste time reformatting text that could reformat itself again.
Photo of person typing and using the mouse pad on a laptop courtesy of Hero Images/Getty Images.
A longtime word nerd and bookworm, Stav studied history and dance at Stanford and later journalism at Columbia. Before joining The Muse, Stav was a staff writer at Newsweek, where she wrote about everything from Nazi hunters to Chinese adoptees to Good Girls Revolt, the real story and fictionalized TV show about a 1970 gender discrimination case at the magazine. She prefers sunshine and tolerates winters grudgingly.More from this Author