Tech Tip: Word’s Paste Options

Have you ever wondered what each of the options in the Paste button on the ribbon in Word does?


The paste button has an upper part and a lower part. Clicking on the upper part of the button does a simple past from the clipboard to wherever your cursor is in the document.

Clicking on the lower part of the button, expands the options to what you see here.


This is the Keep Text Only option which discards both the text formatting and the non-text elements you copied and then matches the formatting where you pasted the text.

The second icon is the Merge Formatting option which will keep the formatting of the text copied without changing the formatting of the destination document.

Floating your cursor over this icon tells you that this will “Keep source formatting.” This is the default for pasting within the same document, pasting between documents, and pasting from other programs. It will keep the formatting of the text you copied.

There are two additional options on this button.

  • Paste Special—Opens a menu that allows you to insert the copied text or link it into the new document as Rich Text, Unformatted Text, HTML, or Unformatted Unicode Text.
  • Set Default Paste—Takes you into the back stage option of Word and into the options section where defaults can be set for many features in Word including pasting.