Matthew Lindfield Seager

Matthew Lindfield Seager

Easily Paste Unstyled Text on the Mac

Most people know the basic keyboard shortcuts ⌘X, ⌘C and ⌘V for cut, copy and paste but, if you like to keep your hands on the keyboard as much as possible, an important related Mac keyboard shortcut to know is ⌘⌥⇧V (command-option-shift-v) for “Paste and Match Style” (or “Paste as Text” which is how I think of it).

Under the hood, Paste and Match Style simply pastes in the text only version of whatever is on your clipboard, thereby stripping out fonts, colours, sizes and other rich text formatting.

This can be useful when pasting styled text into Pages or Mail (for example), when you just want the raw text, not all the styles.

Another time it comes in handy is when copying and pasting links. If you right click on the “Timeline” link above and choose “Copy Link” you’ll get a rich text link on your clipboard. If you try and paste it into the body of an email message you’ll get the word “Timeline” linked to the url. If you just want the URL you can use ⌘⌥⇧V to “Paste and Match Style”, pasting just the unformatted URL.


  • This article is very Mac centric. Microsoft has probably copied implemented a similar feature on Windows
  • I tend to favour native Mac apps. If you use any cross-platform apps (such as Chrome, Atom or Slack) you’ll often find the equivalent shortcut in them is ⌘⇧V (no option key)
  • In my limited testing the Universal clipboard behaves a bit differently. It seems to favour sharing the unstyled text between devices (macOS to iOS or iOS to iOS). Your mileage may vary
  • For more information on how this all works under the covers, Apple’s developer documentation is very good… UIPasteboard for iOS and NSPasteboard for macOS
  • While looking for ways to view the raw pasteboard data on my Mac I stumbled across a fantastic TidBITS article which goes into a bit more detail and taught me about an additional pasteboard-like feature from the unix underpinnings called a kill-ring.