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Show HN: A simple app to make Ctrl+V paste unformatted text by default (Windows) (github.com/postprintum)
33 points by noseratio 3 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 42 comments

An old habit that I still give into when needing to quickly de-format in browser: paste into the URL bar and copy that.

Works across browsers/OS so I don't need to think about it.

Just a heads up, chrome will phone home the contents of the URL bar. So make sure you only do this in firefox/ungoogled chromium/etc

this is... very good to know. yikes.

Yeah, a bad habit. Does the content get sent if 'auto completion' predictive search is turned off?

Win+E, then Alt+D could be an alternative, that will take you to the Windows Explorer address bar.

In my app, Alt+Ins pops up a text editor (a-la Notepad) with the clipboard content already pasted.

How do you deal with multi-line text, Notepad? :)

I’ve used Notepad for decades for exactly this. Usually to cope with MS Office’s issues around formatting pasted text.

Me too, plus PureText. The latter didn't always work for me, especially with the frequent Windows 10 updates lately.

I know many people happily use Ditto Clipboard Manager, but I just wanted a simple app which I could quickly tweak as needed.

It only strips the formatting if the Clipboard content is TextDataFormat.Rtf or TextDataFormat.Html, so far that has worked very well for me.

I always have a notepad open on the side, whenever I copy something from website, I simply paste in notepad and cut it again. My muscle memory make it much smooth and flawless. But I am glad to see such tiny solution, its worth trying.

I was using Notepad too for decades, and now I'm surprised of how quickly I got used to Ctrl+V simply working the way I always wanted it :)

yes, ironically there are times when we actually want to preserve the formatting. I tried and jumped vice-versa. For me, at least 2-3 days are needed to get used to something new.

I have an option in the app's tray menu to temporarily disable clipboard formatting stripping (with a timeout), for those rare cases when I actually need to paste rich text.

Shift-control-v on windows pastes unformatted text. Not sure why you need an app.

Personally I wish there was an option to swap the behavior, make it default to unformatted text using Ctrl+V, and Ctrl+Shift+V for formatted text.

There is an option in my app to disable the formatting stripping by default. Then Ctrl+V is back to do whatever it does by default, and Win+Shift+Ins can be used to paste unformatted text.

Good point, indeed. I totally agree with this

This typically only works in Chrome and Chromium-based apps, like MSEdge or Electron-based apps.

Even then, it is not consistent. E.g., in VSCode, Ctrl+Shift+V is a shortcut for markdown preview.

Noting here that it worked in Firefox 82 (Gmail).

I didn't know that. I've only used shift-ins.

See my above comments. Ctrl+Shift+V is not a standard Windows feature. Sometimes it works, but often it doesn't, even in Chromium-based apps.

I'd love to use such. At the same time, I am uncomfortable with sharing clipboard access.

The app is open-source and you'd actually need to compile it on your own to run it. The repo has simple instructions on how to do that. Thus, you could assess the risk.

asking unironically (but yeah maybe a little bitchingly) who ever thought it was a good idea to "format" clipboard content? i have never wanted it and can't imagine ever wanting it. clearly i am not weird because, here we are with a bunch of other people who clearly hate this. why are things like this not made configurable by Microsoft?

There are definitely some cases where I like it:

- Copying links.

- Copying a whole webpage and keeping headings.

- Sometimes keeping bold and italics are nice.

However when you paste something and it just preserves the font (typeface, color and size) of the entire copy it is just annoying.

Overall I think I like it most of the time. Also cook with things like GNOME Terminal's copy-as-html you can copy/past a command log with highlighting which is a killer feature. I also have a browser extension which lets my copy a bunch of Tabs as HTML links (<a href={url}>{title}</a>) which is great for pasting places that support it.

I think the real problem is that there is no universal way to drop back to plain text. Ctrl-Shift-V usually works, but it isn't universal.

This goes back to my idea that we should have Universal Semantic Shortcuts. For example instead of sending Ctrl-v to the app. My desktop environment should handle that and send a Paste event. And Ctrl-Shift-V should universally send a Paste even with just the plain text content.

I think there are a lot of common actions that could be handled like this, and it means that you can remap Paste across all your applications.

Maybe we should take inspiration from Apple and map Super-v to the Paste event and slowly transition. Since few if any Linux apps bind to the Super key (is that even possible?) it would be a good place to add these new Semantic Shortcuts.

I agree with you. I first tried to come up with a universal solution using SendInput API. This shortcut is still there: Win+Shift+Ins, and it works generally well but a tad slow. So eventually I opted to stripping formatting in-place in clipboard. As a compromise, I've added a tray menu item to disable it, when a rich text paste is desired: https://raw.githubusercontent.com/postprintum/devcomrade/mai...

Might be one of those legacy poor usability decisions. Still not easy for modern Microsoft to undo, hindered by compatibility concerns and internal bureaucracy.

Same as the infamous "Terminate batch job (Y/N)?" prompt, upon hitting Ctrl+C. Who would every want to continue a .BAT script after trying to stop it? To make it worse, hitting Ctrl+C again cancel that prompt and continues the script. Some lost data because of that.

I would quite like to have highlight text automatically copy, as it does when I use puttlly with Linux.

Is that a potential enhancement.

This is an interesting idea (if controlled by a setting). I'm afraid though there is no universal approach to implementing it, which would work across all apps.

It's long been maddening to me that the only place that doesn't have an option to paste plain text is the only place I need it - Gmail.

    crtl + shift + v
Usually works when pasting in text to most sites on Chrome and Firefox

I've been using PureText to do this for several years. It's a tiny app that let's you configure keys to paste the contents of the clipboard as unformatted text - I use WIN-V.

PureText works perfectly for me, so I'm curious to know how this differs, and if it has any benefits over PureText?

I was a PureText user for over a decade and I lately (with frequent Win10 updates) I was experiencing problems with some apps, like often I heard the beep but nothing was getting pasted. If it still works great for you, naturally there is no need to switch.

There is one useful feature unique to my app (AFAIK), it's Win+Ins for pasting into a command line. It replaces all line breaks with spaces, so nothing gets automatically executed upon pasting.

On a side note, there is a related feature request for PowerToys, and my app is mentioned there:


CTRL+Shift-V removes formatting when pasting to a browser or electron apps.

Can anyone recommend a macOS equivalent. I almost never want to paste with style and the shortcut to do that is some ridiculous four key combination that I can never remember.

I only know of Unformat Clipboard. Not free.


For me, CMD + Shift + V usually works

I’m surprised Windows does not already have a native paste without formatting shortcut a la cmd + option + shift + v on macOS.

Even if it does, there are people who think that keeping style information is historical inertia, and that, if it were invented today, the default would be to strip style info from the text, moving “paste, keeping text style” to the more complex key combination. I think I agree with them, but fear a bit that some users might never discover that style can be pasted.

(some links showing those people exist: https://havecamerawilltravel.com/photographer/set-paste-matc..., https://ux.stackexchange.com/questions/30821/why-doesnt-past..., https://www.houkconsulting.com/2020/01/paste-text-without-fo...)

I have an option in the app's tray menu to temporarily disable the format stripping (with a timeout).

I thought Ctrl-Shift-V did indeed do that?

Might be app-specific.

Yep this usually works in browsers and Electron-based apps. Not a standard Windows hotkey.

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