Paste Like a Pro in Microsoft Word

It happens all the time.  You have content in one document that you want to copy into another document.  But when you paste it into the target document, the formatting is out of sync.
Copying and pasting can’t be avoided but understanding your options can make it a whole lot easier and less messy.   You’ve probably pasted most of your content by clicking the Paste icon on your toolbar, or by pressing the Ctrl+V keys.  However, there are more options that might better suite your needs.

The Normal Paste Option

Before getting into the “special” paste options, let’s first take a look at how the “normal” paste option works.  The normal paste option – which is accessed by the Paste button or Ctrl+V – takes on (or “inherits”) the style characteristics of the document into which it was pasted.  This style inheritance happens assuming that the default style formatting from the source document was not “overruled”, such as when the text font for a paragraph is changed from the document’s default font, which is defined via Word’s “Normal” style.

What is a Word Style?

You can see Word’s styles within the Styles group of Word’s Home tab.  Styles are a powerful formatting feature of Word.  For example, to change the font within a document, instead of highlighting the text and changing the font for that selected text, the MUCH BETTER approach is to right-click and modify the Normal style for the document.  Styles allow you to centrally change the formatting for headings, titles, normal text and all kinds of other Word components.

Ideally, all text in a Word document should ONLY be formatted per the defined Word styles, not only making it super easy to change the formatting by modifying the style definitions, but also allowing you to cleanly paste content using the “normal” paste option from one document into another document that might have different style formatting definitions.

Other Paste Options

Several other paste options are available when you right-click where you want to insert copied content:
  • Keep Source Formatting:  Keeps the formatting of the content from the source document
  • Merge Formatting:  Takes on the formatting of the INSERTION POINT where it is pasted (which is different than the normal paste option that inherits the formatting of the DOCUMENT)
  • Picture:  Converts text into an image
  • Keep Text Only:  Takes on the formatting of the INSERTION POINT where it is pasted and also eliminates pictures and turns tables into text

Tip!:  If you hover your mouse over the paste options, Microsoft Word will give you an image of what the inserted text will look like.

Which Paste Option is Best?

If the source document is “cleanly” formatted using Word Styles, then the normal paste option usually fits the bill.  But if the source document is a bit of a formatting mess – or the source content was pulled from a website – then the Merge Formatting option might be the best option.   If the source content is really messed up, you may need to resort to the Keep Text Only option, then reformat the pasted text from scratch.

A Better Way to Do This...

If you want to take styles and document formatting to another level, consider an automated RFP and sales document response tool that’s integrated with Microsoft Word, like RFP Response Builder.  With RFP Response Builder, you can set up document templates with different style definitions.  And, when adding content to the Builder Content Library, RFP Response Builder “cleans” the formatting so that you’re only left with pure Word style formatting, ensuring that content from the library is cleanly inserted into all target documents, regardless of their style definitions.  Reduce the time and bottlenecks associated with complex projects like RFP responses and sales proposals.  See RFP Response Builder in action.

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