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I use Word 365 on macos Ventura and Windows 11 on the same machine (Win11 is running on parallels which lets windows and mac share the file system and clipboard).

I want to copy the visible text that is on a Word 365 document that is actively being reviewed, and paste the plain text into various places (such as rich editors, Safari, Keynote, Illustrator or into similar non-Microsoft authoring programs on Windows).

Track Changes is ON and multiple people are editing the document. Comments and changes are being made to the document and these changes are not yet ready to be marked as accepted. I want to copy the text that is in the document as it appears, but not have the comments and changes also get copied. Word and many other programs have options for clearing formatting on Paste - but not all programs. Some programs have options for pasting as plain text but not all support it and it doesn't always work anyway.

For example, when I select the text I want and copy it:

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Then in another program which support rich formatting I press Paste and get the text and its change history.

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When I switch to Windows and paste into a editor in a program that only supports plain text in its text box entry area, I get the full value as well:

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If I paste the same into Notepad, it just shows the text.

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So paste works differently depending on the program I am using, which means the source isn't just the text I thought I was copying, it might contain hidden extra characters.

What is worse is that Word did not show that the text I copied from had a history of edits applied to it, so it only becomes apparent that this data is there when it is copied and pasted. In this small example it's easy enough to pick up, but when there's bigger blocks of text (multiple paragraphs or pages) it means having to go back and check, or add extra steps to the workflow for the simple act of copy text. Having to double-copy everything (Word to Notepad to whatever) is such a stupid thing to have to do. Other suggestions I've seen are to make a copy of the document and accept all changes and then copy the text, then throw that document away and (as more changes happen) dupe, accept and copy again - what a time waster, it really adds up.

Word has a setting "Include formatted text on clipboard" which you would think would be what I am looking for. But it still copies the historical changes to text (just not the style), so this is not at all an answer.

Is there a way to just copy the actual visible value and not the history / metadata in a way that works in every single program, not just the ones that support a custom paste function, AND [importantly] not one where I have to use Accept Changes first.

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You can do this by switching the view to "no markup" and copying the text in that mode. You can also create a simple macro in VBA to do the same thing:

Sub copyText()
    Dim oldView As Integer
    
    oldView = ActiveWindow.View.RevisionsFilter.Markup
    ActiveWindow.View.RevisionsFilter.Markup = wdRevisionsMarkupNone
    Selection.Copy
    ActiveWindow.View.RevisionsFilter.Markup = oldView
End Sub
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  • Hadn't considered the macro route - seems like it will make my process faster.
    – frumbert
    Aug 23, 2023 at 9:26

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