Sanitize Your Clipboard Text

I'm guessing this is mostly a geek problem, but I frequently find myself starting up NOTEPAD, pasting in some formatted text, selecting all of the now-unformatted text, copying it again, and pasting it into some other application. Does this sound familiar? I don't know how many times I've wished for a special paste command that would automatically remove all of the text formatting for me. I seem to need it most when pasting to .Text, FrontPage, or Word.

To alleviate this frustration, I figured it was finally time to write a small utility, so I fired up Visual Studio 2005 and wrote a simple proof-of-concept. Right after I had something functional, I decided to search the internet to see if someone else might have written a similar tool. I don't know why I didn't do this first. Turns out that there are a few solutions, and after trying them, I've decided that I like the simplicity and functionality of Steve Miller's PureText. It's a single EXE that you can put anywhere you'd like, it lives in the system tray, and a simple click of the icon automatically sanitizes your clipboard text. Or, if you don't want to click the icon, you can simply press Windows+V (customizable) to sanitize and paste in a single step. Simple and beautiful.

I wish I had seen Duncan Mackenzie's post back in August...or quite frankly, about 10 years ago.

Comments (10)
  1. "I seem to need it most when pasting to .Text, FrontPage, or Word."

    Have a look at the smart tag that appears when you past formatted text into Word (and I think FrontPage). It has several options, one of which is "Keep text only". This will do want you want quicker than another application.

    Unfortunately I don’t think the FreeTextBox editor in .Text will ever have this.

  2. Hi,

    This is indeed a nice utility. I myself use Clipomatic for similar functionality. It also clears the formatting from clipboard data and doubles as a clipboard history. The last few items I put on the clipboard will be remembered as plain text, and can be pasted back with the press of a (configurable) keystroke.


  3. Raymond Chen says:

    On many programs there is a "Paste Special" menu option that lets you pick whether you want to paste formatted or unformatted.

  4. Thanks, Raymond. Yes, I’m aware of the "Paste Special" commands, but unfortunately, implementation isn’t consistent, so I can’t depend on it everywhere I need to paste. After using PureText for only two days, I’m hooked. The power of Windows+V is awesome.

  5. PureText – copy text without formatting

  6. David Pierson says:

    Michael – thank you for the link to PureText. I found your page while googling for exactly the same thing, having got tired of the Notepad – Paste – SelectAll – Copy roundabout. I’d already discovered there’s no easy way to do it in vbscript or javascript.

    But I hadn’t found PureText – so thanks again for that!

  7. Rick says:


    Many thanks.  I’m another of the ones who has been looking for just this to avoid the notepad shuffle.

    Bliss! – well, not quite, but certainly very useful.


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