Paste Options in detail

paste Paste is officially the most used command in Microsoft Office (based on data from the Customer Experience program from all customers using Word 2003).

It's certainly a feature I use regularly, for tasks such as combining different bits of existing documents, copying excerpts of a spreadsheet into an email, and gathering together information from websites and emails.

I've always loved the "paste special" feature in Excel which recognises that you might want to retain different amounts of information at different times when copying and pasting information. Now Office 2007 extends that principle to other products, in particular Word, Outlook and OneNote.

In these products, you can choose what formatting your pasted information is going to adopt - and, better still, it lets you set default settings for different situations.

pasteoptions The three main situations covered are:

  1. within the same document
  2. between documents
  3. from another program

So within the same document, I have my default paste set to "keep source formatting" -- chances are that I'm restructuring something I've written so I almost always want to keep the existing formats.

When I paste between documents I use "match destination formatting" -- this is great for when I'm pulling a new document or email together and want all the information I paste to adopt the new style.

Finally -- my favourite -- pasting from another program. For this one, I always use "keep text only". This saves me endless amounts of time removing unwanted formatting (for example, from websites or emails). I'm sure I'm not the only person who would open up Notepad and paste information into it, just to get rid of the formatting!

If you want to read the detailed instructions, as well as information about pasting into lists, then check out the Office Online article.

For Outlook, you need to open a new mail message, click the Office button and choose Editor options -- then follow the instructions for Word. In OneNote, the "paste options" button (which appears whenever you paste content) lets you select "Set as Default Paste" after you've specified how you want your information to be formatted -- although sadly this doesn't differentiate between the different situations.

My only grumble is that Excel, previously the product that set the paste "standard", is now lagging behind a bit. I frequently want to past plain text into a spreadsheet and the current process is just a bit laborious when compared with the new default settings of Word.