How to Copy and Paste Like a Pro

When you use Microsoft Word as much as we do, you’re bound to pick up a few useful tricks and shortcuts. Take the trusty ol’ copy-and-paste feature, for example. While it seems like the most basic of keyboard commands, there are actually a couple of different ways to enhance its functionality to help speed up your work:

Pasting text using destination formatting
If you copy and paste text with any regularity, you know that, by default, pasted text keeps its original font, colour and size. This is a nuisance more often than not because then you have to manually adjust the transplanted text to match the rest of your document.

There’s an easy way to avoid this if you use a Mac. Simply copy your text using the standard Command + C combo, then paste using Command + Option + Shift + V.

A neat thing about this keyboard command is that it works in any application on your Mac, not just Word. This is especially helpful in Mail, where sometimes pasted text can look like it’s formatted correctly — until you hit Send and the recipient gets a mess of fonts and text sizes on their screen. Using this hotkey combination makes sure your pasted text fits right in.

There doesn’t seem to be an equivalent function built into Windows, although certain applications (such as Word) will let you choose whether you want pasted text to retain its original formatting or match the rest of the document. There’s also a free application called PureText that lets you assign this functionality to a custom combination of keys for the same effect.

Copying tracked changes between documents
Track Changes is one of Microsoft Word’s most useful features, simplifying document reviews and creating a version-by-version record of edits. Things can get tricky, though, when multiple reviewers work on different copies of the same file or changes from separate documents need to be integrated into one consolidated file.

How do you import all of the edits without losing the tracking? Simply cutting and pasting text between files will wipe out the tracked changes in the pasted text (or worse, make everything you paste appear as an insertion/deletion). Fortunately, there is a way to preserve your tracked changes:

  1. In the first document, select the text you want to copy. Next, press Command + FN + F3 (Mac) or Control + F3 (PC). This will cut (not just copy) the text and all its tracked changes.
  2. In the second document, turn off Track Changes. Then, press Command + FN + Shift + F3 (Mac) or Control + Shift + F3 (PC) to paste your selected text along with its markups.